Should you join The Booking.com Genius Programme?
My goal with this blog is to show you how to navigate through Booking.com and their Genius programme.
Before you start, if you want to get a free guide on how to increase your direct bookings and not have to rely on Booking.com, Expedia or the other online travel agents to get you “heads in beds”, then click here!
As of the 1st of August 2017, Booking.com has revamped their genius programme. You now have to offer all “genius” bookers a 10% discount to qualify for their service.
I have found the genius programme to be a great feature on their website as you get preferential treatment in search results and email blasts to their mailing list. However, this new mandatory discount rule has made me rethink using it for my family business (The Grainary) and my clients.
To help you decide, I have listed all the pros and cons of the genius program.
Hospitality properties usually resort to the Genius program when:
✅ They are looking for more sales on low-demand dates.
✅ They consider that Booking.com has “high-quality” clients under control (a.k.a., frequent travellers), which they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
✅ They want immediacy.
✅ They don’t see a problem in giving an exclusive discount to these Genius clients for low-demand dates because “what does it matter, the hotel won’t fill up anyway”.
✅ They think they have the situation under control and that they will “leave Genius” when everything goes back to normal.
✅ They follow recommendations from their Booking.com account manager and try it out.
Are you getting fed up with Booking.com their genius programme and want to cut down on your commission costs? CLICK HERE!
Why you should leave the Booking Genius programme
❌ Once you add in the commission and the additional 10% discount for the guest, you are going to be at least 25% down on your room rate before the guest walks in the door.
❌ Do the new sales compensate for the ones you are missing out on? During your high season with the applied discount, the income you miss out on is significant. These bookings would have been made anyway at a normal price, meaning that the alleged new income made during low-season is cancelled out.
❌ You are building customer loyalty for Booking.com and not for your property. On top of that, you are footing the bill.
❌ Selling at a discount has no merit. Speak to any OTA. Give them an exclusive 10% discount and wait for the clients to arrive. Or, instead, look at what incentives you can offer the guest, for example, an earlier check-in time.
❌ Exclusive discounts on OTAs are something of the past…Or perhaps not? If another OTA channel asks for an exclusive 10% discount, do you accept it?
❌ The programme is not as clear as you would need. From a self-interested point of view, the sale that comes from Genius clients is a new sale, when truly that is never the case.
❌ It’s a rigid programme in which you cannot set the limits that you would like. In order to be able to choose single days on the calendar (not a range of dates, which is limiting), you have to go through your Booking.com account manager.
❌ Genius openly competes with your loyal and direct clients and even with your rewards programme.
❌ Your dependency on Booking.com increases.
❌ The more it sells for you, the more fearful you will be to leave.
❌ They chose to focus on their own rewards programme.
❌ With its exclusive price advantages, Booking.com eats up the rest of your channels, including your web and phone sales.
❌ If you offer wedding or group bookings, the genius programme can interfere with this.
I hope this has helped you in your forming your own opinions about the Genius programme and helped with your decision process. If you are looking to get the most out of Booking.com and make it work for you, not the other way round, this article will help.