boo king dot com

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Highlands John's picture
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04/16/2010

We've recently joined boo king dot com, just to give them a try and see how it goes.

We're managing our availability with them judiciously because I don't want their bookings (and commission charges) when I can fill the rooms myself. The aim is to increase our occupancy in the shoulder months and winter.

Unfortunately I made a mistake on the availability when I set us up which meant I got a booking for a room which was already booked. They are very uncooperative in this situation and their response was in my opinion overly biased towards the guest. Their rule is that the guest has to be offered alternative accommodation of at least the same star rating and you have to compensate the guest for the difference between your quoted price and the price of their alternative booking. you also still have to pay the commission on the booking.

I can understand this in a situation were the guest arrives and there is no room for them, however in our instance I noticed the error as soon as I picked up the booking (within 2.5 hours, 3 days before check-in) and contact the guest. The guest decided to milk it for all it was worth and complained about how his holiday and all his plans for tours were ruined. That aside,  my biggest grievance is that if someone books a 4* B&B you can't then claim that a 4* hotel is an equivalent (not in the UK anyway, it's a great deal more expensive)  Anyway, I paid for my error and I'll be doing all I can to ensure it doesn't happen again.

That left a bad taste in the mouth, of the 3 bookings who've been through the door, one couple booked a double room for 2 adults and then turned up with a toddler in their arms (even though our b.c policy clearly states no babies and young children) and I've had two reviews, one gave us 10 / 10 for everything except for staff which was 7.5 / 10 (don't know what we did there).

Some other local businesses rave about b.c and how it saved their business, I think this speaks volumes on their own marketing prowess. Others have complained of people turning up with children not on the booking, trying to put two people in single rooms and general problem guests from them.

All in all, I'm getting the feeling that b.c is really not worth the hassle when we can achieve 65% occupancy on our own, especially at 15% commission.   

I wonder what experience others have had???

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Kay Nein's picture
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02/13/2012

I'm curious about this scenario (since we are actively considering signing up) - 

If you only list certain rooms on bc because you expect to fill your best rooms on your own, have you ever had the bc guest show up and ask about the other rooms they didn't see on bc?  Did they want to move, were they upset that they didn't get that option?  

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06/24/2008

As Maddie mentioned she has had many issues of this nature.  I have not had the same experience and can not explain why I would have a different result than Maddie.  

I did my set up differently than other GDS listings in the past as I did not want to have to be ready 24/7 to jump online to block a certain room just booked by 1 system or the other. So, I did not list a certain room aka Blue Room, I set it up as Standard room with rate/Jr Suite with rate.  Each has a detailed description for the type of room, no individual details.  So far (knocking on wood) have I had anyone give me grief over the room they were in or asking for a more expensive room for the lessor price. 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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copperhead wrote:

As Maddie mentioned she has had many issues of this nature.  I have not had the same experience and can not explain why I would have a different result than Maddie.  

That's because we all know Maddie is special wink

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Breakfast Diva wrote:

copperhead wrote:

As Maddie mentioned she has had many issues of this nature.  I have not had the same experience and can not explain why I would have a different result than Maddie.  

That's because we all know Maddie is special wink

ha ha

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

copperhead wrote:

As Maddie mentioned she has had many issues of this nature.  I have not had the same experience and can not explain why I would have a different result than Maddie.  

That's because we all know Maddie is special wink

I think she just gets 'special' guests. 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Holy cow. Do a search on booking on here and read some of the stuff I've heard from guests. Who call me both before and after they make their rez thru booking and ask me for a specific room. No. You want that room, you call me directly. They always want a more expensive room for the booking price.

And what they say? I matched up the pix on booking with your website photos and  want this room.

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I have been using it for about a year now and have mixed feelings as well.  Have not had the issues Maddie has in cancellations or calls wanting a certain room but many non B&B people.  Most have been very gracious and say they they are converted.

You may consider doing as Maddie and I have and limit your availability online.  I have a standard room available online not the 'Green' room, etc.  This allows me a little flexibility when it comes to booking.  these boo king systems do not like overbooking, which hotels do all the time, so they have a strict policy to combat that.  

I have had a few people call me when they are on another site, it could be due to the ppc marketing done by this company but it is also being done by most of the better directories and TA - everyone is battling to get a piece of your action for themselves. 

Highlands John's picture
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04/16/2010

copperhead wrote:

I have been using it for about a year now and have mixed feelings as well.  Have not had the issues Maddie has in cancellations or calls wanting a certain room but many non B&B people.  Most have been very gracious and say they they are converted.

You may consider doing as Maddie and I have and limit your availability online.  I have a standard room available online not the 'Green' room, etc.  This allows me a little flexibility when it comes to booking.  these boo king systems do not like overbooking, which hotels do all the time, so they have a strict policy to combat that.  

I have had a few people call me when they are on another site, it could be due to the ppc marketing done by this company but it is also being done by most of the better directories and TA - everyone is battling to get a piece of your action for themselves. 

At the moment I've only got two out of three rooms listed with them, there's no point listing my best room as that is always the first to go, I also blocked the whole of July/August on booking some weeks ago as again I can fill those weeks myself. Hopefully more competition will drive down the commission rates. 

Highlands John's picture
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Mmmmm. Interesting.

If it does end up with people booking through them rather than booking with us then I'll ditch them.

I've also heard businesses round here complain that they get lots of cancellations. We're imposing the same rule as direct bookings, i.e. 25% non-refundable deposit is taken at booking, which reminds that the first ever booking I had through them the card was declined and in the end b . d cancelled the booking. I've also heard people complain that people that booking with them are not b&b people.

We joined at the end of June, I've noticed that the number of visitors to our own website is dramatically down for July compared to last year, nearly 50%. Don't know if b.c is causing this, not looked very deeply into it yet. On the other hand we are far more booked up for July/August and have been for some weeks, than we would normally be by that time in the year. They're not b.c bookings, they are our own, so business is up this summer, in fact I only need 1 more booking this month to make it our busiest month ever outside of August.

The other thing that concerns me is we are high up on ta, but now guests have the option of putting in their visit dates on our ta page using b.c are they more likely to go that route than click on our link to our own site.

As far blocking availability friends told me they've had somewhat stroppy calls from b.c sales staff about their lack of availability.

 

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Yes, I did not realize they were going to put an AD right ON my TA page. Sigh. And, of course, I have all the weekends blocked so anyone looking at TA and using booking sees I have no availability, which they will also see if I only use them for off season dates. So, it's not a good thing if guests really use TA to MAKE their rez.

They have not mentioned lack of availability to me.

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

If you have an announcement (ie paid TA) then put up something like "Weekends only available DIRECT!"

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Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

We use them and get a lot of business - however do try and make as many aware as possible they are not getting the best price as they have a 15% commission.

Yes 9 times out of 10 they do side with the guest ie forgetting it is us paying the bills - however just lately they have sided with me (1) if a guest tries to check in after the last check in time you are fully entitled to charge in full and go to bed (2) guest said he had cancelled but hadn't they fully backed be in charging him in full which I was actually surprised about.

They are also very strict about everything being included in the price ie no charging extra for amex -which caught out my neighbour, she was having a fit as she has always charged extra - wouldn't have it that it is in the terms and conditions you have signed to work with them! its your choice.

people can use book in g .com to find the place they want and then book directly.

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Highlands John's picture
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That's the annoying thing about booking, it works, they get you business, which is why they can charge 15%.

To my mind they make it very easy to put in dates and get a list of all properties that have rooms, it makes it very much easier to book somewhere which is why I think people are using it. I think the rest of the holiday web sites need to cotton on to this, in fact I'm going to raise this with our local tourism group, although the big issue then is how many availability calendars are you willling/able to keep in sync! 

They also advertise all over the place with banner ads and goo gle adwords.

Joey Camb's picture
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the trouble is as well is most people have no clue how they have booked, where they have booked or what they have booked - they book through boo ki ng com and are thoroughly startled to find they havn't actually booked directly with us after all.  

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

We had one that booked thru Priceline and we didn't know Priceline and booking were the same thing. So when Priceline called and then emailed we had no idea what to do.

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

I hate PLine reservations, no phone numbers. Had a guest do a no show. We wanted to call but even CS at PLine couldn't access the guest's phone number, you need the CC number to open the file. Annoying as all heck.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

The reason I chose to list with booking is it is the lowest commission of anything out there. At least for us it is.

Madeleine's picture
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Experience thus far has been mixed. LOTS of cancellations from this site. I finally had them put that there is a $25 cancellation fee.

Most of the guests who have shown up have been nice. Oddly, a lot of them are from the local area. I would think they could figure this out on their own.

Did get one this week who booked in already for next year, with me, not online.

I am always worried I've forgotten to block rooms on there. I've gone from 2 rooms to 1 room during the summer. No weekends at all.

I might do it again next year but only off season.

Have not had anyone show up with extra people but there's always a first time.

My biggest peeves? They call me FIRST and then book online. They don't get it. They think that's my website and they're just being helpful. Or, they call after they make the rez and ask for a particular room that is not on the plan. 'Oh, we want the room with the fireplace!' Yeah, fat chance. Pay for it and you can have it.

Or, 'I looked at all the photos on your site and I want the room with the blue quilt.' If you were on my frickin' site so deeply that you know what color the quilts are, then book on my site!

Or, 'I matched the pictures up and I want x room.'

Again, book directly and you can have that room!

The guests who think, 'Oh, the price on their website is $x and the price on booking is $x-10, so I'll book there.' And then call me to tell me they want the room that's $10 more. NO, people. That's not how it works. You pay $x, you get a room that costs $x!

I have been able to offer a choice at the door on a couple of occasions. That seemed to make them happy.

Otherwise, I assume the worst and put them in a first floor room. When I've had them upstairs I've regretted it. Complaints about how we didn't carry their bags. (I now ask EVERYONE if they need help with the bags.)

Would I have filled those rooms without booking? In the summer, yes. Off season, probably not. I am not seeing the big crowds of Europeans I expected given what I've heard locally. Just lots of people who looked for 'my town hotel' and found us.

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I have only heard bad stories as well. Plenty of them. The guests are never B&B type guests.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

I won't do b.com because they do pay per click on your own property's name. What that means is that when a guest does a search for your property name because they are repeats or got your info from somewhere else, the first thing they're going to see at the top of the page is b.com's listing for you. Guests don't know the difference, and will book on b.com instead of your own website and you end up paying a 15% commission on a reservation you would have gotten payed full price for!

 

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