Panic The Punters

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Highlands John's picture
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It started with bdc, when you're viewing a hotel page little messages come up saying someone has booked this hotel in the last x minutes. Then eb ay started, I'm just looking at car hire for our October vacation and that site is doing it too.

It's obviously designed to make people think the product/service they are looking at is likely to sell out and panic them into making a purchase, but do you think this is a device you would employ on your website?

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Como Depot's picture
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I could have booked out several times last Saturday and it was by no means an obvious weekend.

We can not do multiple night stays, there are only a few other options nearby and seems everybody has a smart phone.

I have a small restaurant so get more questions about food than accommodation. There used to be a greasy spoon I could send the odd askers to, now closed however.

What I like is how they stare at the information I clearly post by the door and still wander in expecting a different answer.

 

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Madeleine's picture
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It's interesting. Because on bdc it is also combined with a show of limited quantity. '4 people are looking at this property' and you see there are only 2 rooms.

It's going to get overused pretty quickly I think.

But, yes, it does cause panic.

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Silverspoon's picture
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Well, you all know that as a B&B we do not use on-line booking.  We have been a successful small B&B for a quarter of a century and have managed fine without it.  But, since we are the exception, and since third party booking is rampant for hotels, we have recently personall had the displeasure of experiencing bdc and ex ped ia first hand as we scrambled to find last minute lodging in London.

It was not a pleasant experience.  It seems that rates change minute to minute.  Rooms are available...and then they are not.  We finally ended up over paying for a room only to find upon arrival at 11pm that the hotel was sold out.   It was NOT a pleasant experience.  The very idea of using some of these pressure tactics to sell a room goes against all that we stand for. I would rather go door to door selling vacuum cleaners than to pressure a weary traveler into booking under false pretense.

By theway, we survived the ordeal...but just barely. At the moment we are watching our first snow fall as we sip morning coffee that someone else made! Cancelled flights, late nights in unplanned hotels and bad airport food are hopefully in our past!

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Generic's picture
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There are certain dates around here where finding a room within 60 miles is almost impossible. Booking ahead of time is required. But there are still those who don't book ahead and I had DAYS of the phone calls looking for a room, any room. And what was available on BDC and XPDA was either there only early in the morning for a few minutes (as cancellations came in) or so overpriced! There are just places where last minute is never a good idea.

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Silverspoon's picture
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Oh, it was not last minute by choice...heavens no!  We made reservations months in advance but because of a cancelled flight we lost our original booking and arrived in London 24 hours later than expected.....too late to catch a train to our next destination.  

We did have a CONFIRMED last minute reservation, made on ex ped ia, but it was not honored at the hotel.  That was the point of my last post.  Normally I would call the hotel directly but I did feel pressured into making this reservation ....and it was not a pleasant experience.

Generic's picture
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Did you call Expedia? The contract that all hotels have with Expedia is that if they don't honour a booking, for whatever reason, they are legally obliged to find you like accommodations. It's actually clearly spelled out in the contract. Expedia would have called the hotel and asked them to honour the contract or would have found you other accommodations and at the same time known that this hotel is violating the contract.

Silverspoon's picture
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Of coarse we called ex ped ia, in fact the hotel was very gracious in letting us use their phone. Apparently the booking had bounced back to Expe dia but they neglected to notify us.  We were on the phone, being  transferred and disconnected for over an hour trying to sort it out.  Finally, I went back on line to their site, found another hotel in the general area that showed a vacancy, and asked them to please call the hotel to verify the vacancy......after the first fiasco I thought I had better double check. They said they called and that we wold be all set.

We paid for another taxi to get to the second hotel only to be told that they had a boiler problem and could not give us a room.  I wanted to cry.  It was almost midnight.

Long story made shorter, the staff at the second hotel was sympathetic and put us up in a "sister" hotel, paying for the additional taxi ride.  They upgraded us as well.

Still, 2 misses by ex ped ia is inexcusable, don't you think?  I squeezed a $25 refund out of them for one of the taxi rides but that's all the compensation they gave for their screw ups.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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That's horrible! I hope you're back on track and relaxed. Definitely not a good way to start your much needed vacation.

Put it all behind you and have a great time!

Highlands John's picture
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If its a bdc booking either the hotel is supposed to find you alternative accommodation of the same star rating or above and if there's a price difference refund the guest the difference.  

I know, I've been there (not as a guest).

would be surprised if expd doesn't have a similar rule to stop large hotels routinely overbooking. 

Generic's picture
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Expedia does have exactly the same rule. When we had a no-show and we wanted to resell the extra days we were warned that if the guest showed up for any of the days that we would have to pay to re-accommodate.

Highlands John's picture
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Sugar Bear wrote:

Expedia does have exactly the same rule. When we had a no-show and we wanted to resell the extra days we were warned that if the guest showed up for any of the days that we would have to pay to re-accommodate.

Really??? That's not fair, unless the guest is expected to pay the full booking.

Generic's picture
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The guest did and we collected every last cent for the full four day stay (minus commission). But we couldn't resell without having to re-accommodate if they showed up even for the last day, because of the contract.

Joey Camb's picture
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we have this the same - this weekend was a good example 34,000 people come for the autumn flower show + same dates 2,000 people come for the Pets and Aquatics show the saturday night is obviously a premium and most places have a 3 night minimum - we managed to get a few people sorted with last minute cancellations but its been a zoo

However what drives me mad is I will say - there is a room at X I would ring right now and book it - Guest "oh no we will keep on looking" and  head off up the road where I have just told them every place up their is full

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Generic's picture
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Yup. You just have to let it go. Give them the info and let them do the rest. They are looking for the elusive Golden Goose and you aren't offering it. 

Makes you want to give them the address to the worst place in town, just so they can learn the lesson.

Joey Camb's picture
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It was the worst place that they had been told didn't have their reservation ha ha ha! the owner of the worst place rang me on Monday and told me she was about 4 rooms over booked and her wifi had gone bezerk and could I close out her online booking, tried (she has 4 properties) got 2 closed and not the other 2 so there was still rooms showing and selling even at that point! ruddy disaster zone!

Madeleine's picture
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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

However what drives me mad is I will say - there is a room at X I would ring right now and book it - Guest "oh no we will keep on looking" and  head off up the road where I have just told them every place up their is full

I do the same thing here. No rooms at most places and I will say, 'Here, let me call some other places so you don't have to wander around looking.'

Nope. They want to wander on their own.

 

Joey Camb's picture
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You need to get the email ring set up girlfriend - I send out an email first thing (who has rooms tonight?) for busy periods to I have the list to hand to send people - saves a lot of bother and makes everyone in the group decent money as it fills late cancellations etc without having to pay any commission

Madeleine's picture
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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

You need to get the email ring set up girlfriend - I send out an email first thing (who has rooms tonight?) for busy periods to I have the list to hand to send people - saves a lot of bother and makes everyone in the group decent money as it fills late cancellations etc without having to pay any commission

We have a group website. Easier than emails which no one looks at! I just check the website and then call ahead to be sure someone is there.

Joey Camb's picture
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but does the web site show availability?

Generic's picture
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You know what I'm going to say, don't you? Stop doing that! You have enough to do and it's their problem. Let them sort it out. Give them the phone numbers if they are handy, tell them they can book you online. And then let it go! You aren't responsible for the world. You really aren't.

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Sugar Bear wrote:

There are certain dates around here where finding a room within 60 miles is almost impossible. Booking ahead of time is required. But there are still those who don't book ahead and I had DAYS of the phone calls looking for a room, any room. And what was available on BDC and XPDA was either there only early in the morning for a few minutes (as cancellations came in) or so overpriced! There are just places where last minute is never a good idea.

Same here. We have dates book up way in advance (up to a year in some cases). We get tons of last minute calls too. On those dates if we had 20 rooms we could fill them easily!

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Madeleine's picture
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Glad you made it! Now, get off the computer and enjoy your precious time off!

Silverspoon's picture
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smiley     Done!

Joey Camb's picture
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that's London for you - demand is so high right now things literally change by the minute - for most normal places its a lot slower and more stable than that.

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