Expedia vs Booking.com

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sonatainn's picture
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Howdy guys!

I have been using Booking.com for years now, and it's been a good relationship...hardly any kinks. I use a service called "myallocator," to sync my Reservation Key database with Booking.com. This service also synchronizes with a bunch of different channels, one of which includes Expedia.

My question is....Is Expedia worth it? I have never dealt with them before, but I have heard horror stories years and years ago. Do they basically operate the same way as Booking.com, or do they have different practices? Am I headed for a world of frustration?

Any thoughts?

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Joey Camb's picture
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we do a lot of business through Booking.com they are the main agent for UK and Europe - so If you are looking to crack that market its the way to go, they are working on the USA and frankly within 2 years I will expect they do so

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Arks's picture
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Yes the charges in Europe were by the hotels when I booked by b.com, but the prices at b.com were quite a bit less than the prices listed at the hotel websites. I can only guess that the difference is because the b.com bookings were 100% up front, non-refundable while the hotel sites didn't mention that. It's the same when I book a USA room at the hotel's website. To get the best price, it's up front and no refunds.

...we had ~20-25 reservations through B.com last year

That means I would have 1 or 2. But it doesn't matter. Since they take a commission rather than a yearly fee, that's great for me. I'm glad to get 1 or 2 bookings I otherwise might not make. The 15% commission is within the neighborhood of the discount I offer in ads and through Inn Rewards, so I'm fine with that. Thanks!

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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For me, the main problem is that b.com does ppc on your property's name. So what happens is that when a guest or return guest does a search for your property, the first thing on the page is the b.com listing. Most guests don't know the difference between your website and a directory. They then book on b.com and you pay a commission on a guest you would have gained through your own marketing efforts.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

For me, the main problem is that b.com does ppc on your property's name. So what happens is that when a guest or return guest does a search for your property, the first thing on the page is the b.com listing. Most guests don't know the difference between your website and a directory. They then book on b.com and you pay a commission on a guest you would have gained through your own marketing efforts.

Before signing with Booking, you may ask them (firmly) that they should agree not to do any ppc on your property name as it is disrespectful of the partnership both of you want to establish. Worked easy for me. I fought vigourously for all other companies to stop such practices and I succeed. I still need to double check regularly and stop "offenders".

I only failed with Expedia and ended up closing my contract mostly for this reason.

TripAdvisor was longest fight and only succeeded through contacting a big head on Twitter.

This is a shameful behavior from all of them.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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souslechene wrote:

Breakfast Diva wrote:

For me, the main problem is that b.com does ppc on your property's name. So what happens is that when a guest or return guest does a search for your property, the first thing on the page is the b.com listing. Most guests don't know the difference between your website and a directory. They then book on b.com and you pay a commission on a guest you would have gained through your own marketing efforts.

Before signing with Booking, you may ask them (firmly) that they should agree not to do any ppc on your property name as it is disrespectful of the partnership both of you want to establish. Worked easy for me. I fought vigourously for all other companies to stop such practices and I succeed. I still need to double check regularly and stop "offenders".

I only failed with Expedia and ended up closing my contract mostly for this reason.

TripAdvisor was longest fight and only succeeded through contacting a big head on Twitter.

This is a shameful behavior from all of them.

That's great info Souslechene! Did they put it in writing in your contract? Have they ever tried to place it back?

 

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

souslechene wrote:

Breakfast Diva wrote:

For me, the main problem is that b.com does ppc on your property's name. So what happens is that when a guest or return guest does a search for your property, the first thing on the page is the b.com listing. Most guests don't know the difference between your website and a directory. They then book on b.com and you pay a commission on a guest you would have gained through your own marketing efforts.

Before signing with Booking, you may ask them (firmly) that they should agree not to do any ppc on your property name as it is disrespectful of the partnership both of you want to establish. Worked easy for me. I fought vigourously for all other companies to stop such practices and I succeed. I still need to double check regularly and stop "offenders".

I only failed with Expedia and ended up closing my contract mostly for this reason.

TripAdvisor was longest fight and only succeeded through contacting a big head on Twitter.

This is a shameful behavior from all of them.

That's great info Souslechene! Did they put it in writing in your contract? Have they ever tried to place it back?

Yes, I have it in writing in a separate email, and yes, they tried several times to do it. Regular checking and reminding them is necessary but they try to keep their word. One of their affiliates even created a GoogleMaps listing taking over all our Maps traffic (8% of our bookings!). It is important to do it before signing as some other B&Bs here could not have it reversed. If you cannot have it accepted by Booking, all others will take this as an excuse to do it as they would say it is unfair if Booking can do it and not them. Law is on their side.

Overall, I am satisfied by Booking.com. They are professionnal and have very good service. Of course (!?), they try to take advantage of our innocence. But it is our duty to learn this new distribution channel that is Internet and find solutions to use Booking without letting them using us. Never trust their advices and always try to understant what they want and what is good for you. Some time ago, they advised us to upload more and bigger pictures. My answer was to remove full pictures of the rooms, leaving only details, so that their visitors would be enticed to find more pictures on our website where I try to change them in bookers.

I am more scared of Google than Booking...

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souslechene wrote:

Overall, I am satisfied by Booking.com. They are professionnal and have very good service. Of course (!?), they try to take advantage of our innocence. But it is our duty to learn this new distribution channel that is Internet and find solutions to use Booking without letting them using us. Never trust their advices and always try to understant what they want and what is good for you. Some time ago, they advised us to upload more and bigger pictures. My answer was to remove full pictures of the rooms, leaving only details, so that their visitors would be enticed to find more pictures on our website where I try to change them in bookers.

I am more scared of Google than Booking...

I'm glad you got this in writing! Of course, I did not even think of doing it.

I like your idea of removing photos. One of my big peeves is guests who look at those photos on booking, then go to my website, find the same room and tell me in the booking reservation what room they want. No can do. You want THAT room, you book with me. Otherwise you get whatever room is left. (Which, judging by the rooms I have gotten thru booking services is exactly what the hotels do.)

Many of them do this in the off season when they do not want to pay for a fireplace but they want one. They book thru booking for a standard room then tell me they want a fireplace room.

Do I care if my listing drops down? Not really. Just seeing the name in the list will help some guests decide

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Arks's picture
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souslechene wrote:

I am more scared of Google than Booking...

yes

With great power comes great responsibility. Google has great power, for example Google Drops The Hammer On Expedia

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Don't use them, but two suggestions...

Have different cancellation policies for them than direct. And have a special discount code that they can use when rebooking on your website, so if they don't see where they can put the code or it doesn't work... they know they may be in the wrong place. A business card with the code should do it. Smiling

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Sugar Bear wrote:

Don't use them, but two suggestions...

Have different cancellation policies for them than direct. And have a special discount code that they can use when rebooking on your website, so if they don't see where they can put the code or it doesn't work... they know they may be in the wrong place. A business card with the code should do it. Smiling

Most of my repeat guests get a discount already. And most of them just call me. If they don't get a discount, they get a gift. These folks thought this was my booking engine, they had no idea I was charged when they did that.

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Madeleine wrote:

Sugar Bear wrote:

Don't use them, but two suggestions...

Have different cancellation policies for them than direct. And have a special discount code that they can use when rebooking on your website, so if they don't see where they can put the code or it doesn't work... they know they may be in the wrong place. A business card with the code should do it. Smiling

Most of my repeat guests get a discount already. And most of them just call me. If they don't get a discount, they get a gift. These folks thought this was my booking engine, they had no idea I was charged when they did that.

The same thing happened to me when I signed up for bb.com's booking engine. The first reservation I got was a 5 night reservation from a return guest! Here's the crazy thing. This guest is a manager at a large hotel chain. Even he wasn't aware of the difference of booking directly on our website and the bb.com book it now. When I called him and told him the commission we would have to pay, he was stunned. He cancelled his bb.com reservation and booked directly with us. I gave them a really nice gift for doing so.

The next two bookings I got from bb.com were the same thing...repeat guests. At that point I refused to load any availability on their booking engine and cancelled after a year.

If b.com stopped doing ppc on my property name, I would join them in a heartbeat!

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

The same thing happened to me when I signed up for bb.com's booking engine. The first reservation I got was a 5 night reservation from a return guest! Here's the crazy thing. This guest is a manager at a large hotel chain. Even he wasn't aware of the difference of booking directly on our website and the bb.com book it now. When I called him and told him the commission we would have to pay, he was stunned. He cancelled his bb.com reservation and booked directly with us. I gave them a really nice gift for doing so.

The next two bookings I got from bb.com were the same thing...repeat guests. At that point I refused to load any availability on their booking engine and cancelled after a year.

If b.com stopped doing ppc on my property name, I would join them in a heartbeat!

One of the many reasons I did not sign up for this 'feature'. We get a lot of guests who say they found us on bb.com. Why should I then pay another $100 for the reservation?

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Madeleine wrote:

Breakfast Diva wrote:

The same thing happened to me when I signed up for bb.com's booking engine. The first reservation I got was a 5 night reservation from a return guest! Here's the crazy thing. This guest is a manager at a large hotel chain. Even he wasn't aware of the difference of booking directly on our website and the bb.com book it now. When I called him and told him the commission we would have to pay, he was stunned. He cancelled his bb.com reservation and booked directly with us. I gave them a really nice gift for doing so.

The next two bookings I got from bb.com were the same thing...repeat guests. At that point I refused to load any availability on their booking engine and cancelled after a year.

If b.com stopped doing ppc on my property name, I would join them in a heartbeat!

One of the many reasons I did not sign up for this 'feature'. We get a lot of guests who say they found us on bb.com. Why should I then pay another $100 for the reservation?

If you were with one of THEIR booking softwares it is free angry (at least it has been, not sure about today) to have your availability and booking link on their site.  Dangle the cheese to see if you bite, or pay the price!  One thing is for sure they know how to market. 

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bb.com wanted $100 to have a link (any link that is not owned by bb.com) to our reservation system. I'm not paying that! What I did was at the beginning of the description of our property, in caps, I wrote BE SURE TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO SEE CURRENT RATES AND TO MAKE RESERVATIONS ONLINE.

 

 

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

bb.com wanted $100 to have a link (any link that is not owned by bb.com) to our reservation system. I'm not paying that! What I did was at the beginning of the description of our property, in caps, I wrote BE SURE TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO SEE CURRENT RATES AND TO MAKE RESERVATIONS ONLINE.

 

 

THAT's why you are the DIVA of more than breakfast!wink

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copperhead wrote:

Breakfast Diva wrote:

bb.com wanted $100 to have a link (any link that is not owned by bb.com) to our reservation system. I'm not paying that! What I did was at the beginning of the description of our property, in caps, I wrote BE SURE TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO SEE CURRENT RATES AND TO MAKE RESERVATIONS ONLINE.

 

 

THAT's why you are the DIVA of more than breakfast!wink

Awww, gee, thanks! blush

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

For me, the main problem is that b.com does ppc on your property's name. So what happens is that when a guest or return guest does a search for your property, the first thing on the page is the b.com listing. Most guests don't know the difference between your website and a directory. They then book on b.com and you pay a commission on a guest you would have gained through your own marketing efforts.

We had long time guests look us up and there was b.com. They booked thru them! Thought it was our new website. I called them and asked them to cancel and I would rebook them myself. I see no reason at all to pay a commission for people who know us.

I'm kind of bummed with b.com altho DH wants to stick with them. We get a lot of book and cancel reservations. Almost all of the guests have called us first to whine about why they don't want to pay the cancellation fee so they don't want to call b.com to cancel, they want us to do it for them.. And, yes, they show up ahead of us when you do a search for either my town or me directly.

My other problem is the majority of bookings are coming in from people who live within 100 miles. I was kind of hoping to get the Euro crowd.

Joey Camb's picture
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I wouldn't be doing that too often as it affects your rankings if you get too many cancellations

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

I wouldn't be doing that too often as it affects your rankings if you get too many cancellations

I will only do it when it is a repeat guest. Not stated before but the guests who booked had NEVER used b.com before. They just mistook the b.com site as where they should book my place thinking it was how I did reservations.

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I get some of those calls, though I'm not on b.com but I am on other sites. I tell them that they have to talk to them because I don't own the reservation (I don't really) and they have to talk to them. I explain that I could help them if they had booked directly... so the next time, they book direct because now they know one of the advantages.

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Hi,

We are with both.  Personally I have found B.com much easier to deal with.  Here in the states E xped ia has a contract with B&B.com so B&B's can only be on the site if they go through the directory.  (At least that is the story I have been told by both parties.)

Differences:

  • E xped ia charges the entire reservation at the time of booking. 
  • You do not get much of the guest data, in fact at times we only get the guest name along with the booking info. and no contact info.  Other times we may get a phone number or email - never both.
  • You submit a request for payment once guest checks in.  (we go through B&B.com for this, it may be different in Canada)
  • Commission: b.com 15%  E xped ia 25-30% depending on how you sign up. 
  • As far as # of reservations, I think they are about even.
  • Both require you to have the same or lower price as you sell directly. 

This is my observation and how it works for me, personally.  As b.com becomes more popular here in the states I see myself dropping E xped ia unless they improve their policies/rates with the properties. 

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copperhead wrote:

Personally I have found B.com much easier to deal with. 

B.com left me a voice mail and sent an e-mail today. I don't know a thing about them, except I've booked LOTS of accommodations in Europe through them. In the USA I usually get the best room price through the hotel's own website, but for European bookings I usually scout the hotel through it's own website, but book through b.com because it's generally considerably cheaper, and they booking process much easier and "American-like" that the hotel websites. To get the cheaper price I pay the full stay at time of booking...the hotel websites don't offer this option.

So the European places must be giving up a lot of money for b.com to make a profit and still be quite a bit cheaper than the hotel's own website. Is it like that for USA places to list with them? Do you give up most of your profit?

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Hummm - unless B.com has different practices in Europe than in the US, you are not charged by b.com but by the property and is based on the property's policies.

B.com has different ways to 'sell' rooms, but you must agree to list your rooms for the same or less than you publish anywhere else.  (this is how they can state 'best price guarantee').  

B.com has a 15% commission fee payable the month after the guest stays.  FYI - Exp edia/ho tel s charge the guest at time of booking, you get paid once they check in via wire and minus their fee which varies depending on your contract - 15-30% from what I have seen. 
Hope this helps you to make a decision.  FYI we had ~20-25 reservations through B.com last year. 

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copperhead wrote:

  • Both require you to have the same or lower price as you sell directly.  

Only in certain conditions. Look in detail at contract terms which give you price freedom when changing such simple terms as cancellation terms.

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souslechene wrote:

copperhead wrote:

  • Both require you to have the same or lower price as you sell directly.  

Only in certain conditions. Look in detail at contract terms which give you price freedom when changing such simple terms as cancellation terms.

Ah, yes. I forgot that part.  Guess since I am not going to loosen my terms that far, I am bound to the same rate. 

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Just painfully closed my contract with Exp a few month ago (see my blog) . Extranet & website are much less polished. Very few bookings compared with Bdc. But American market may be different.

Joey Camb's picture
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we use ex pe dia as they are currently doing a scheme (through their Hotels.com site) where you book 10 nights get the 11th free ie one night with me, one night with Joe and one with sunshine and it all adds up - not entirely sure how the free night gets paid for mind! - we don't do a huge amount of business with them but we are on a similar system where it synchronises so figure we may as well - however we signed up with Veneer one of their channels which was a cheeper commission but still shows us on all the arms of exped ia

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