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Hotel booking sites may hinder Malta’s tourism – study

A recent study comparing different online tourist accommodation booking platforms indicates that people planning a trip to Malta may get a better deal when booking directly with local hotels or other accommodation establishments rather than using international booking websites.

As part of their studies, a group of students reading for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Enterprise at the Malta College of Arts Science and Technology’s Institute of Business and Commerce compared the prices of collective accommodation establishments in Malta for a seven-night stay between June 13 and 20.

The study showed that direct prices offered by establishments in Malta are cheaper than those quoted by booking engines.

Commenting on these findings, the students noted that this situation may be problematic due to tourists’ preference in using booking engines.

“Malta’s competitiveness is being undermined, either be­cause tourists might be unaware that the establishments offer a better price if booked directly, or, even if they are aware, they might still opt for a more expensive price due to security concerns.”

The students, Christabelle Attard, Simon Camilleri, Melanie Cauchi, Annalise Gatt, John Gauci, and Sue Micallef commented that first-time visitors to Malta would most probably be unaware of the hotels available locally and would therefore seek accommodation through a booking engine, which is perceived to offer greater security. This, they said, continues to undermine Malta’s price competitiveness in this sector.

“Establishments should make more effort to promote their own websites with customers to encourage repeat tourists to book future accommodation directly through their websites.

“It would also be beneficial if they offer better deals to the booking engines so that these can in turn offer better prices to their users.”

The study also compared local accommodation prices with those in Corfu and Cyprus.

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