Online Booking Discount?

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white pine's picture
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Just wondering how many of you offer online booking discounts.  DH seems to think everyone books online now and does not expect a discount for that. Seems so many who book online call anyway, we are thinking of increasing our extended stay discount and doing away with online booking discount.  What do you do?

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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We had a guest show up yesterday saying she had a reservation when we didn't show one.  No issue, we had room.   Later, after she arrived, her reservation arrived from book ing dot com.   It just took longer to get to us than she did.   Smiling

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Madeleine's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

We had a guest show up yesterday saying she had a reservation when we didn't show one.  No issue, we had room.   Later, after she arrived, her reservation arrived from book ing dot com.   It just took longer to get to us than she did.   Smiling

Will agree with CH, don't take same day bookings! Especially in the summer when you may have the same situation except your booking guest shows up after you've given the last room to a walk in. Then, per your contract, you have to pay the booking com commission and find the guest other accommodations.

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Madeleine wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

We had a guest show up yesterday saying she had a reservation when we didn't show one.  No issue, we had room.   Later, after she arrived, her reservation arrived from book ing dot com.   It just took longer to get to us than she did.   Smiling

Will agree with CH, don't take same day bookings! Especially in the summer when you may have the same situation except your booking guest shows up after you've given the last room to a walk in. Then, per your contract, you have to pay the booking com commission and find the guest other accommodations.

 

In the summer, we won't use them at all.   With only 6 rooms, it's too big a risk to overlap reservtions.  In the meantime, I will tell my husband he has an option for same day bookings.   He likely knows.  We can use all the $ we can get right now, but once summer hits, we plan (hope?) to be full most of the time.

Madeleine's picture
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How far away are your booking guests coming from? I get annoyed with reservations that come in from 30 miles away from people who say they have been to this town many times.

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Madeleine wrote:

How far away are your booking guests coming from? I get annoyed with reservations that come in from 30 miles away from people who say they have been to this town many times.

 

Mostly Boston and New York State.   Getaways.

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

We had a guest show up yesterday saying she had a reservation when we didn't show one.  No issue, we had room.   Later, after she arrived, her reservation arrived from book ing dot com.   It just took longer to get to us than she did.   Smiling

Will agree with CH, don't take same day bookings! Especially in the summer when you may have the same situation except your booking guest shows up after you've given the last room to a walk in. Then, per your contract, you have to pay the booking com commission and find the guest other accommodations.

 

In the summer, we won't use them at all.   With only 6 rooms, it's too big a risk to overlap reservtions.  In the meantime, I will tell my husband he has an option for same day bookings.   He likely knows.  We can use all the $ we can get right now, but once summer hits, we plan (hope?) to be full most of the time.

Make sure he is aware they can book up til midnight.  If you want to keep the same day booking, my thoughts are to go out to the site at a certain time - say 6p and remove the inventory for the day at least then you won't have to worry about overnight surprises.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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thanks.  good advice.

Joey Camb's picture
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also people are very odd - before now we have had people book while sat in the layby opposite! they would never have considered ringing the bell!

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

also people are very odd - before now we have had people book while sat in the layby opposite! they would never have considered ringing the bell!

This just shows how powerful the OTA's marketing is.

"No booking fees •  Save money!  •  Best Price Guaranteed" is hammered into our visitor's head who still think Internet is free...

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Joey Camb's picture
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we don't take bookings after 8pm ever as they are always weirdo's - dead simple when I have had enough I just close out my online booking problem solved

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

We had a guest show up yesterday saying she had a reservation when we didn't show one.  No issue, we had room.   Later, after she arrived, her reservation arrived from book ing dot com.   It just took longer to get to us than she did.   Smiling

While this worked well for both parties, you may want to consider not allowing same day reservations on booking. 

If you allow same day reservations, they show it on their site until midnight.  Are you prepared to have someone available for check in 24hrs a day? 

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white pine wrote:

Checked on it, the https is in the code, but not showing secure...

I don't think the code is what's important. It's the server the page is hosted on. If you take reservations in a frame on your own website, that's not on a secure server. If you take guests to the reskey server to process the reservation, that's a secure server. John will get you fixed up.

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white pine's picture
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Yes, that was it.

Silverspoon's picture
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OK, let me open my big mouth and say what I think is going on when people call instead of making reservations online.

We market ourselves as "a better way to stay"...more personal, with more human touches and individual consideration.  So why are we surprised that the prospective B+B guest wants to talk to a real person, be reassured and feel a connection to the innkeeper before booking.  They are not staying at a hotel with an anonymous front desk clerk who just gives them their key.  They are choosing to stay in a home, run by the owner (usually), where they will be treated more like friends than like strangers.  That's why they choose to stay at a B+B....so why should it surprise anyone that many want to interact on a personal level with their hosts before laying down their hard-earned cash?  For many, especially the older generation, it is the first, important step in planning the B+B stay.  The younger crowd was raised with the computer, does not expect much personal interaction and is always in a rush.  For them, on-line booking is the ONLY way to go.  As a result, we should not be surprised if they arrive like strangers and leave like strangers.

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We can disagree.

Because you offer online reservations doesn't make you a hotel or less than better way to stay. That is pretty silly. 

Sure some people prefer to call a travel agent to book travel. Some still do, not many.

Young whippersnappers aye. cool It is our older folks who are online as well, heck that is how they found us in the first place!  This is not 5 or 10 years ago, people in the older generation are on "devices" as much or moreso than the younger who are working. haha

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Hillbilly's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

We can disagree.

Because you offer online reservations doesn't make you a hotel or less than better way to stay. That is pretty silly. 

Sure some people prefer to call a travel agent to book travel. Some still do, not many.

Young whippersnappers aye. cool It is our older folks who are online as well, heck that is how they found us in the first place!  This is not 5 or 10 years ago, people in the older generation are on "devices" as much or moreso than the younger who are working. haha

My mother in-law is turning 80 in a month.  She has been all over the internet with her new kindle and really enjoying it.  She said she wished she would of started years ago.  So she said she needs to make up for lost time... HaHa! "Go grandma! Go grandma!"

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Silverspoon's picture
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We do not disagree.  On-line reservations are a necessary part of any growing business these days...including B+B's.  All I am saying is that we should NOT be surprised that many people still prefer to call before making the reservation, even if they make it on-line.  We market ourselves as offering a personal service.  Answering the phone and chatting is part of that service, whether we like it or not.  Granted, not all our guests demand that personal touch up front.  Some understand that they will receive the kind attention we provide once they arrive.  But many, want to check us out, talk to us, get a feel for the innkeeper before they book.

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I do see your point. We have a lot of these questions as well.People calling and asking questions that are on our website. That said, its older people that are doing the calling for the most part. I do see the amount of phone calls going down in the years to come and less guest contact during the reservation process. More and more people are getting use to making their reservations online and its becoming the norm. So if you do not take online reservations you might be left in the dark. People are becoming less social in person and more social online. We only take online reservations now and I see no need to give a discount for doing so. Because its becoming the normal and expected thing to do in our lodging industry.

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Silverspoon wrote:

We do not disagree.  On-line reservations are a necessary part of any growing business these days...including B+B's.  All I am saying is that we should NOT be surprised that many people still prefer to call before making the reservation, even if they make it on-line.  We market ourselves as offering a personal service.  Answering the phone and chatting is part of that service, whether we like it or not.  Granted, not all our guests demand that personal touch up front.  Some understand that they will receive the kind attention we provide once they arrive.  But many, want to check us out, talk to us, get a feel for the innkeeper before they book.

I understand. I guess I don't get many of your guests, I get them who want to chat when they GET HERE!  "The Doctor is in" should be my innkeeper tshirt. Smiling Everyone has a story, and I usually get to head a few.

We are in the people business, that is the best part of owning a B&B. When we lose that we lose everything. Our whole perspective shifts. This is why I always think it is important for us to be a guest at another B&B. The little things that seem big are miniscule, and we see (what we hope) are innkeepers taking things in their stride. It gives us all hope!

So all that to say, I listen to what you say Silverspoon. Thank you for sharing your viewpoint.

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We've seen a lot of people call for more information.  Our room descriptions on the web site are pretty robust.  In fact, I've tired to shorten it for easier reading, but people really want to know  all - bed, view, shower or bath, attached or not, tv, fireplace....

We get most of our reservations on line, but we have fielded numerous calls for more information before booking.  

I agree that that is part of the service.  Since all our rooms ARE different and that's part of our charm, I can't blame people for wanting the right room for them. 

I wouldn't give up our on line reservation service, but at the same time, a human to talk to is priceless.

 

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I run on the principle that I am happy to take a booking however it comes - I give a selection of ways so that the guest can do what suits them

I appreciate the OTA's can translate into 30 languages which a lot of our international guests find very useful and some like to phone - whatever works

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yesWell said

Joey Camb's picture
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Me I have sort of the reverse problem which I have just solved or think I have - when you sign with OTA's you sign in the contract you will not do a cheaper price than them on your own web site = this made a problem as guests didn't have a direct incentive to book directly with me so just went on booking.com or whatever making me pay 15%

Now however was given an excellent tip by a fellow BB owner who uses the same software as us on how to set up a discount code or in my case various codes ie one for different levels of discount or so I can see if a particular add is generating bookings ie I have advertised in the Harrogate International Festival Brochure with a discount for booking direct with a discount code so I can see where that comes from.

I have also done fridge magnets with it on which are very popular and when we do our next batch of keyrings it will be on them as well.

ie Camb1 for keyrings, Camb2 for HIF add, Camb3 for brochure and so on which means I know where the reservations are coming from even if they book through my own web site ie what is working.

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Copps,

This is a reason, the page does not show it is secure:

http://v2.reservationkey.com/COPPERHEAD/ResPage/

You need to show this:

      Claiborne House https://v2.reservationkey.com/CHBB/291/

      Lesmeister https://v2.reservationkey.com/587/reserve

the "S" after http means SECURE, and the locked keypad icon in GREEN are paramount. I would not book on your online rez without seeing those either.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Copps,

This is a reason, the page does not show it is secure:

http://v2.reservationkey.com/COPPERHEAD/ResPage/

THANKS - being fixed as I type this! 

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Dear Guest "You do the work, you enter the info -which is spelled correctly, vs me trying to head your bad connection and accent afar off...and check the agree to policies button and you WILL SAVE $10!:

Incentive to book online. $10 is $10

Always, 100% of the time, book online, save $10. or more if the spirit moves me... enlightened

Madeleine's picture
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We did a book online discount a few years ago. It seemed to work during the time it was in place. 

I don't look for book online discounts.

And, just checked, the place I always complain about is still charging extra if you DO book online.

If you think an extended stay discount would help drive more longer stays that's an option.

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I'm be more likely to call it a penalty for NOT booking online. Online gets my best rate. If they call it's a little higher, as punishment for bothering me, and not clicking my online "I agree to the terms" box.

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I currently don't offer one but have been toying around with the idea once again after the last few weeks.  I currently am booking over 80% by phone.  Even when people are right on my site, they call. 

Every page has not one but 2 'call to action' buttons.  One for 'check availability' another 'book now'.  We made the 2nd as we thought maybe some may be afraid they would be roped into booking when they are just looking for prices, dates.

I am not currently being asked for discounts (1-2 here their) so that is not the reason for the call rather than booking on line. 

Scratching head.  Maybe they just like my voicewink

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copperhead wrote:

Scratching head.  Maybe they just like my voicewink

Well you are pretty cute. kiss

white pine's picture
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We are finding people know they can book online, but they call anyway.   I do wonder if they just want to hear a person.  I figure why give them the discount when they are calling?   DH thinks we should have an ask questions fee.

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white pine wrote:

We are finding people know they can book online, but they call anyway.   I do wonder if they just want to hear a person.  I figure why give them the discount when they are calling?   DH thinks we should have an ask questions fee.

Okay, so let me go to your website, I think I do follow your blog so will find it. 

Yikes!

No that is not a good yikes. Sad

how can I check availability it shows them all x-d put and immediately gives me a waiting list! I have not even put a date in yet! Get the layout changed WHITE PINE! Let me put in the date to see what you have...

okay AND you have it in a window so it is not showing SECURE. See the comments to Copperhead...same issue:

                http://www.WHITEPINE.com/reserve-online.htm

Don't give them 10%, five them $10, it sounds more real, and will give you more $ in the long run. I am sure they are more than one night, typically, aren't they?

white pine's picture
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DONE....much better.  Looks like yours now.  Marta took care of it for me.  Making a few other changes as well.

THANKS

 

white pine's picture
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Checked on it, the https is in the code, but not showing secure...  The two options to search for availability are calendar.....which show x's right now because we are seasonal and not open....or put in your dates....which pops up the waiting list inquiry because right now we are not open .  I don't see how to get to have them JUST put in their dates without showing  the notice.  Will ask John...Thanks

 

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white pine wrote:

Checked on it, the https is in the code, but not showing secure...  The two options to search for availability are calendar.....which show x's right now because we are seasonal and not open....or put in your dates....which pops up the waiting list inquiry because right now we are not open .  I don't see how to get to have them JUST put in their dates without showing  the notice.  Will ask John...Thanks

 

Put in the dates, and then show none available. Most are not searching for right now, of course, so they would put in dates in the spring or summer, etc.

Go to my page if you want, and see how it is listed, you can still have the rooms CLOSED off. But future dates are open. RIGHT? DO you have those dates open? I thought you did.

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Sigh...love how you have your page.  I am tech impaired and don't how to do it.  When I put the dates in the x's show on the calendar for the closed dates, and the waiting list info comes up.  In season it looks better.

.I do have the rooms open for the summer.  Sent an email to my webpage person to see if she can change it.

Again, many thanks

 

 

white pine's picture
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Thank You for checking.  Will work on getting it changed NOW.  I knew it was not showing secure but didn't know how to fix it.

Madeleine's picture
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I got a semi answer to this last week, 'I don't put my cc online anymore, the number has been stolen too many times.'

Breakfast Diva's picture
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We've never had an online booking discount. Most come in online and the ones that call I tell them I'm not in the office and it would be more secure and their room will be booked immediately if they do it online. I also ask if they want me to walk them through it on the phone. It sounds like I'm so helpful, but I really just want them to click for the policies.

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