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How many travelers book for a worse rate knowingly, and why? Customer retention analysis.

Despite knowing they're not getting the best deal, travelers continue to book on Booking.com, lured by the promise of Genius-level perks. An analysis of 15,000 bookings shows a mere 38% get the best price, while a deeper dive reveals the often illusory nature of these so-called benefits. This behavior highlights the power of loyalty programs, even when they don't always deliver on their promises.

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By Augustinas

Published: Feb 20, 20242 min read

How many travelers book for a worse rate knowingly, and why? Customer retention analysis.

Travelers knowingly book hotels for a worse rate than it is presented to them. It's a fact.

We analyzed around 15,000 bookings made on booking.com and looked into how many often didn't have the best deal at the time of booking while using RatePunk (meaning the user was aware of the possibility of booking at a lower rate but chose not to).

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The results are quite interesting.

Only 38% of the time travelers were getting the best deal when booking through booking.com.

That means that 62% of travelers knowingly booked the worse deal on their booking.



So one might ask - why? They know they're getting the short end of the stick, right?

Booking.com is well known for its shady business practices(you can read more about that here), poor customer support, and constant controversies. Now we find out we're not even getting the best deal when booking through booking.com, so why do people stay loyal to this particular OTA?

One hypothesis is that the genius-level perks are a big motivator when making these decisions. "You book more through us - you get better deals", and so on.

To look into this further, we decided to look at our data on what genius levels these users have.

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Here, we can see that only around 40% of our users don't have genius level 2 or 3, which means that 60% of these travelers have made at least five bookings on booking.com during the past two years (that's policy for leveling up to Genius level 2).

The fact is - the majority of these users believe in Genius discounts and their benefits.

"Loyalty goes a long way, and sadly, travelers trust Bookingcom even with the constant controversies." - RatePunk CEO, Justin Albertynas on LinkedIn


Further Genius analysis - inconsistent discounts

The bad part about all of this is that Booking.com makes its users believe the long-term benefits of booking through booking.com when, in reality, the truth is a lot different.

From analyzing this phenomenon since early 2023, we saw that a huge number of hotels on Booking.com are not affected by Genius discounts. And even a smaller part of hotels have a lower price when you're not logged in with your Genius account.

You can read our more in-depth article on Genius discounts here.

Feb 20, 2024

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