Eden castle owners launch new hospitality booking website to counter 'dominant' online firms

FAIRTRADE CALL: Simon and Wendy Bennett of Augill Castle

FAIRTRADE CALL: Simon and Wendy Bennett of Augill Castle

First published in News

THE owners of an Eden castle have launched a new website to help British hospitality businesses ‘stand up’ to global online travel agents.

Simon and Wendy Bennett, who run Augill Castle as a guest house, set up bestroomsdirect.com to provide an alternative to global booking sites, which they claim monopolize the travel industry.

They point out that companies such as booking.com take up to 25 per cent commission from independent accommodation providers.

Instead, bestroomsdirect.com urges consumers to book directly with independent hotels, guest houses and B&Bs to receive the most competitive rates, the best available rooms and a personalised experience.

The website also makes the point that many online travel agents are based abroad, so the commission is lost to the British economy.

Mrs Bennett said: “To avoid a future choice limited to faceless, bland, corporate hotel chains, it is imperative that Britain’s independent hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s come together to raise awareness of the importance of direct booking and we are trying to harness this strength in numbers with bestroomsdirect.com

“Global booking sites are monopolizing the travel industry, taking a huge slice of our income and making it even harder for tourism businesses to stay afloat.

“Britain prides itself on its individuality, history and character and its wealth of brilliant independent businesses contributes hugely to that. We’re asking consumers and businesses across Britain to support our Fair Booking Movement and help to retain individual places to stay. Booking direct makes for a more personal experience for guests and a better chance of a future for independent businesses.”

Mr Bennett added: “This is not about going to war with online travel agents. We’re just saying there’s an alternative way for both travellers and hospitality businesses.

“Bestroomsdirect.com brings guests and accommodation providers together as opposed to being a booking site and already has an extensive database of unique places to stay across the country. And it doesn’t charge commission on bookings.”

For further information and to support the Fair Booking Movement, visit www.bestroomsdirect.com

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