Hoteliers were warned against slashing rates through online travel agencies by a panel of experts at the Independent Hotel Show in London on October 30, 2013.
Speaking on the panel ‘Living the dream Vs that dirty word profit’, Congham Hall Hotel owner Nicholas Dickinson said: "As an independent hotelier, be very wary about how much you tangle yourselves with the OTAs.
"I’ve seen a lot of hotels fail because they’ve tried to fill their rooms at any price; doing cut-throat deals to fill their rooms with these ruthless online agencies only to find they have nothing for themselves."
Dickinson said that hotels should instead invest in their own booking channels: "Get yourself a really good website, optimised so you’re driving traffic to it and that will then ensure you rely on third parties as little as possible".
Fellow panellist, nightclub owner, restaurateur and Sanctum Soho Hotel’s Mark Fuller added: "A really good website is key. Everybody sits at home on their iPads, their Blackberries, they’re on their computers and they’re looking at Tripadvisor".
Dickinson said hoteliers must "learn to love" the reviews website, Tripadvisor: "Don’t worry if you get negative reports – it cuts me to shreds – but you’ve got to embrace it. If your TripAdvisor is crap you won’t get any business".