As LowCostTravelGroup announced last Friday that it ceased operations, a reported 140,000 customers ended up losing their hotel and/or flight booking (and their money).
A very sad situation indeed, especially since the Mallorca-based OTA had only a small bond to protect against such occurrence and it will be dashing out a disgraceful €9 in compensation to each of their distraught customers.
On the other side of the coin are the hotel operators who will most probably not be paid for bookings already checked out and against which the online reseller had muscled their payment terms.
The guests lost their money.
The hotels lost their money.
And the LowCostTravelGroup?
From this saga that will surely enough tamper customers’ trust, all hoteliers and accommodation providers need to learn a lesson. The more we depend on wholesalers, resellers, OTAs and distributors, the more likely that such a thing happens again, in proportions that may be destructive to our business.
Small accommodation providers in particular, need to ensure that only a miniscule part of their business depends on third parties. We need to work towards establishing direct relations with our potential guests, build our online visibility and trust and minimise the risk that any in-betweener runs away with the money!
Another lesson learnt.