Sunday, 17 June 2012

Online booking takes toll on small hotels in Manali

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: With 100 percent occupancy, this is indeed a good time for over 500 hotels in Manali, but over 150 hotels that do not have online booking facilities have occupancy rate of less than 50 percent. Having fewer bookings, small hoteliers in Manali rues the summer season is very lean this time.
Over 80 percent of the tourists opt for advance booking through internet or travel agents to avoid any problem during their tour. Remaining 20 percent tourists choose hotel only after their arrival. The growing web of internet is taking a toll on hotels without online booking facility.
Some hoteliers say this is a drastic season for them and they won’t be able to compensate their staff, electricity, water bill and other expenses. A hotelier in Model Town, Vinay Thakur, said, “The summer season is about to end but it seems like that it never started. Except for 2 or 3 days, my hotel didn’t see the full occupancy.”
Similarly, the summer season is very lean for most of the homestay units which do not promote their homes online. Tara Chand, owner of a unit, said tourism department has a small space to advertise the homestays and it does not help them much. “People who are advertising their property online and have vast marketing in big cities are having good flow of customers but I served less than 10 families and couples since April. Online promotion is must for good business,” he said.
According to sources, over 50 percent hotels in Manali are available online while most of the hotels depend on walking tourists who mostly book room only after if they like the room. Such hotels see tourists only after the quality hotels overflow during season time.
On the other side, hotels which have online booking facilities are doing brisk business here. “Control over online marketing, synergy with travel agents, good marketing in Delhi and other cities are must for hoteliers as a vast number of tourists believe booking their hotel in advance,” a hotelier Ankush Bhardwaj said who is wooing his customers online for last three years.

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