TA/Booking Connection

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Maybe this is not new, but I've just noticed it. I've never had it set where people can make reservations from my TA page, but I've just noticed that since I signed up with Bookingdotcom, my TA page now lets people make reservations. It's all handled through Booking.

And the "management photos" I used to have posted on my TA page seem to be gone. When you click the "professional photos" on TA now, it takes you to my page on Booking and you see the photos I put there.

I'll bet TA has worked a deal to refer people to Booking and the two big agencies split the Booking commission.

I guess this is OK with me. Might be a good thing. I suspect as many or more people find me on TA than through my own website and FB and all. It's kind of nice to have these big agencies out there working to promote my place, as long as it just costs me what I was willing to pay Booking anyway.

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3rd party bookings are UP big time this year compared to last.  I think the change on TA is making a huge impact. 

I have just looked at my 3rd party booking stats, comparing this year to last.  My Jan-March '14 bookings/nights are even with the entire year of 2013. 

So then I took a look at my ResKey nights reserved Jan-March '13 vs Jan-March '14, up 23% this year which includes all bookings. 

To this I summarize that these 3rd parties are making the difference.  Would I have these bookings without them?  Maybe a few.  Some people are just hooked on using one of these.  I posted on another thread several reasons why, most stem to EASE of USE. 

It is not for everyone, some are getting all the bookings they need/want.  For me, right here, right now I am content with using them.  I do swallow hard at times at the amount of commission, but I do have some that book again and book direct.  I also try to educate them as to why it is best to book direct, this is when I usually get the reason(s) why they use the .com they do. 

 

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10/07/2008

They call about once a week from TA to get me onboard with the biz listing, and then with tripconnect and so on.

They have no history and act like I have never heard of TA before.  I used to have a biz listing I tell them. They continue on, and I tell them it is too expensive, we won't have one again. They tell me they NOW have a payment plan...I said, I am not sure about your math skills, but breaking it down into 12 months is still the same total. It is still too expensive. 

They try to convince me that once I pay them, for the listing then our rooms will overfloweth and we will be able to afford it.

Meanwhile, as you know I still don't have my images back up there, I will work on this.

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Yes, you have to buy a TA business listing, then pay the PPC rate. 

It's just like with the credit cards, where you have to do some calculating to see what's better for you, regular CC processors that charge a lower per-sale rate, but have monthly fees, or something like Square where there's no monthly fee but higher per-sale rate. Depending on your sales volume, one or the other is better for you.

I guess the math could also show where you'd be money ahead to be a TA member and pay the PPC, vs. the 15% Booking commission. But the way it's working right now, if you're with Booking you reach their own customers plus all the TA customers.

This stuff is getting as complicated as the gluten/vegan/special diet subject!

Madeleine's picture
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I've been thinking about all the different twists to this and how our listing will probably drop down the list even more as TA becomes a booking engine instead of a review site. We struggle to maintain a high enough rating to be up near the top of the page but we just cannot keep up with the few places who get hundreds of reviews.

Ha! I say this and we just moved up a slot.

Anyway, dropping down to the bottom of the list for non-payment isn't a deal breaker here because we've been pretty low on the list before. (7/11)

Probably the calendar to reserve rooms will be what kills us in the TA market.

Last I was told it is $700 to list on TA in this town, but I'm guessing it's gone up since then as the person I spoke with said they are getting in the millions for hits. If I then have to pay to play the booking game, where does it end? I would be paying higher rates than the hotels for the same town.

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Arks's picture
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Is TA publicly held? I may want to buy some stock! If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

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Arks wrote:

Is TA publicly held? I may want to buy some stock! If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

I was thinking about that, better the devil you know and all that good stuff.

Tripadvisor Inc
NASDAQ: TRIP - Mar 7 4:00 PM ET
108.06-0.32 (-0.30%)

Arks's picture
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I guess people who have plenty of business have the additional benefit of allowing bookings only from their website, and those who need more business have the additional burden of having to give up 15% to increase the likelihood of getting heads in beds.

I think a lot of us who find Booking attractive after a long slow winter will see some drawbacks to Booking during the busy vacation season. 

How hard it is to turn Booking off and on? Use them when you need them and turn them off when you don't.

As was mentioned above, when you turn Booking off, TA offers to search places nearby that do have online prices posted. But I think it's that way for EVERYONE now. Any lodging page I go to now on TA either has a way to book, or it says 

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in [the town you're searching]

I think they've got us, folks. Either let them book your place, and they take a cut, or they will do everything they can to send people to places that do give them a cut.

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11/27/2010

Arks wrote:
I think a lot of us who find Booking attractive after a long slow winter will see some drawbacks to Booking during the busy vacation season. 

How hard it is to turn Booking off and on? Use them when you need them and turn them off when you don't.

As was mentioned above, when you turn Booking off, TA offers to search places nearby that do have online prices posted. But I think it's that way for EVERYONE now. Any lodging page I go to now on TA either has a way to book, or it says 

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in [the town you're searching]

I think they've got us, folks. Either let them book your place, and they take a cut, or they will do everything they can to send people to places that do give them a cut.

My solution, though not perfect, is to sell breakfast included on my website, breakfast excluded on Booking with extra 15% on prices, full open all year on Booking. No commission on breakfasts, benefiting of the billboard effect at most as visible all year on Booking/TA, ... with better offer direct to nail the customers. I suppose this is better than just closing the rooms (which is easy to do).

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Unfortunately, most b&bs here in the U.S. can not charge for breakfast. If we charged, we would be considered a restaurant and have to have a commercial kitchen and a restaurant license.

Sounds like you don't have the same regulations we do, so I think you have a good idea for yourself!

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Arks wrote:

I guess people who have plenty of business have the additional benefit of allowing bookings only from their website, and those who need more business have the additional burden of having to give up 15% to increase the likelihood of getting heads in beds.

I think a lot of us who find Booking attractive after a long slow winter will see some drawbacks to Booking during the busy vacation season. 

How hard it is to turn Booking off and on? Use them when you need them and turn them off when you don't.

As was mentioned above, when you turn Booking off, TA offers to search places nearby that do have online prices posted. But I think it's that way for EVERYONE now. Any lodging page I go to now on TA either has a way to book, or it says 

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in [the town you're searching]

I think they've got us, folks. Either let them book your place, and they take a cut, or they will do everything they can to send people to places that do give them a cut.

There is an alternative, which is to use TAs TripConnect. When a guest does a search with the dates box on your listing, it goes directly to your own reservation system. No commission when they book, but there is a pay per click charge from TA. Which is more expensive? I don't have a clue...it will depend on how big of a city you're in and the PPC rate.

I'm trying to get hooked up with TripConnect, but there's a glitch between my ResKey and TripConnect with my available dates.

Madeleine's picture
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Breakfast Diva wrote:

I'm trying to get hooked up with TripConnect, but there's a glitch between my ResKey and TripConnect with my available dates.

Do you need to buy a TA listing to get the trip connect portion?

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Madeleine wrote:

Breakfast Diva wrote:

I'm trying to get hooked up with TripConnect, but there's a glitch between my ResKey and TripConnect with my available dates.

Do you need to buy a TA listing to get the trip connect portion?

yes

gillumhouse's picture
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So in essence you are paying TA twice to allow you to operate your business - to actually get the customers YOU work so hard to get via your web site, social media, etc. Hmmmm. When does it reach a financial point where we step back and say, "Wait a minute. This is supposed to be MY business to support ME!"  By the time I would pay TA their double dip, bandb their basic level that is going to show MY web site for a direct booking (and if we get smart and say OK we all get the same listing bandb comes up with a more expensive Diamond to how we are better than you are), my insurance, the web hosting, the real estate taxes, the amenities, the food and utilities..... there is NOTHING left for me but I have worked my butt off (OK I wish it would work off).

We keep telling ourselves we have to do this or we have to do that to stay in business. WHY? Because someone tells us we have to? OK, I DO live in a different world - but it is a world where I have to set traps on the Interstate to get them, not merely put out a hook on the street. 

Please realize that although my real estate cost less and my real estate taxes are less - these costs are reflective of the income level of the area - but the rest of my costs are the same as yours. And as far as ROI, my expenses would actually be more since the ONLY thing I pay less for due to only 3 rooms is RezKey. I decided several years ago to play my own game. So far, my revenues stayed about the same without bandb, bb online, TA biz, etc. My revenues went up when I took some long-term when the situation presented itself and I hope will blossom with the Elopements that you all have started doing since I was going to do it last year (sometimes it takes longer for things to happen here). I am not going to allow someone else to tell ME how I am going to set my rates and tell me I have to pay them if I want business.

Sorry, I have my blankie and am returning to my corner.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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I fought TA for a long time. Over the last couple of years I've dropped numerous b&b directories for lack of performance. A few months ago I started a TA biz listing. To my surprise, it paid for itself in the first month. I know this because of using Intell-a-keeper which is connected to my ResKey. I'm in a rural location and no one searches for lodging in my 'town', so I was surprised it performed for me so quickly.

I'm going to treat TA the same way I do all other directories. If it doesn't perform, out it goes. Yes, I resent the hell out of these companies, but I'll play along if it works and I think it won't harm me in the long term. My biggest bang for the buck is still google. Organic listings are still where it's at...that's where most of my reservations come from.

I long for the old days too. Much simpler and cheaper and way less time consuming. Everyone is different, but I'm going to keep trying for my tiny slice of the big pie.

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Investing in TA (business listing + TripConnect) must be valuable for some (good marks) depending on location & type/origin of visitors.

This is not a simple business anymore. It is becoming a fight if you want to stay at the top. I doubt it will get better/easier. Seems like a few (companies) have found their way to many's wallets, trying to take much of our profits on the way.

Innkeep's picture
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souslechene wrote:

Seems like a few (companies) have found their way to many's wallets, trying to take much of our profits on the way.

On this we can all agree cool

 

Madeleine's picture
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Just block the rooms during the season you don't want them to show up. Your listing doesn't show if you don't have rooms. (At least that's what I've noticed.) However, the honking big ad that covers the whole top of your TA listing doesn't go away.

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Tis a quandary.

 

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So the chicken and egg scenario is at play:

Are you NOT getting reservations because it is not showing an availability and price, or

Are you losing MORE $, because booking.com is taking them at ease, and paying 15% on every room.

?

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

So the chicken and egg scenario is at play:

Are you NOT getting reservations because it is not showing an availability and price, or

Are you losing MORE $, because booking.com is taking them at ease, and paying 15% on every room.

?

Should you pay the commission every year or should you invest the same money to the marketing of your own website ?

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souslechene wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

So the chicken and egg scenario is at play:

Are you NOT getting reservations because it is not showing an availability and price, or

Are you losing MORE $, because booking.com is taking them at ease, and paying 15% on every room.

?

Should you pay the commission every year or should you invest the same money to the marketing of your own website ?

I am doing the latter. But I also do not have any guests tonight. ugh

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

souslechene wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

So the chicken and egg scenario is at play:

Are you NOT getting reservations because it is not showing an availability and price, or

Are you losing MORE $, because booking.com is taking them at ease, and paying 15% on every room.

?

Should you pay the commission every year or should you invest the same money to the marketing of your own website ?

I am doing the latter. But I also do not have any guests tonight. ugh

My meaning was would I get better result using the 2000€ of commission yearly to pay for a professional search engine optimisation company...

Silverspoon's picture
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Arks, this is another change that happened when they included a listing of inns based on availability instead of rank.  Those who subscribe to a booking engine are listed first and visitors are whisked away to the booking engine.  TA must have made a deal.

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Arks's picture
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Silverspoon wrote:

TA must have made a deal.

Yep. Makes you wonder what they'll come up with next week. It seems like things change about that often now.

I also noticed yesterday that on TA if I click the "B&Bs and Inns" link at the top of their page for my town's lodging, it still shows all the hotels and motels at the top, and the B&Bs and Inns at the bottom.

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For me that was the killer on booking. We're fairly top rated on ta and get lots of bookings from it. Having all those people who used to find us on ta getting sent to booking meant no extra bookings but 15% less income.

What annoyed me most about this situation is that I'm paying ta £400+ a year for a business listing and yet I get a tiny link at the top of the page but booking takes up almost a quarter of my ta page.

After we left booking the box remained on our ta page but when you put in dates it took you to our competitors which angry  me off even more. I wrote and complained to TA and they said there was nothing they could do about it.

 

Anyone who tells you that their website does something over which they have no control is lying, in my book.

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If you wanted hotel facilities you should have booked a hotel and paid hotel prices!!!

 

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Highlands John wrote:
After we left booking the box remained on our ta page but when you put in dates it took you to our competitors which angry  me off even more. I wrote and complained to TA and they said there was nothing they could do about it.

Anyone who tells you that their website does something over which they have no control is lying, in my book.

Total crap. They are illegally stealing your customers. Do not let them do it. Fight it publicly until they stop abusing you. Had the same with Expedia which took 4 month to remove my property page on their website. TA is great at lying. Fought more than a year with them to have them stop using our name in Adwords. Repeatedly they said that I should see this with Google. Solved the question after finding a top officer on Twitter and dealing with him. Try to have some of his followers follow you first (!).

Arks's picture
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Anecdotal Evidence Warning

My sister has a store across the street from my guesthouse. Gifts, souvenirs of our area, etc. Today she said two tourists came in, who are in town for a seminar this weekend at the local college.

She asked them where they were staying and got around to mentioning my place across the street. They said, oh, we wanted to stay there, but there were no prices listed on TA so we couldn't book there.

There's no way of knowing how often that happens, but I'm sure it's more than we ever know about. I guess a TA business listing would get my rates listed, but this new connection to Booking can serve the same purpose.

We drive people to our websites in every way we can think of, but if we want the most occupancy we can get, we've probably also got to play the game of the companies most people go to for their bookings.

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Arks wrote:

Anecdotal Evidence Warning

My sister has a store across the street from my guesthouse. Gifts, souvenirs of our area, etc. Today she said two tourists came in, who are in town for a seminar this weekend at the local college.

She asked them where they were staying and got around to mentioning my place across the street. They said, oh, we wanted to stay there, but there were no prices listed on TA so we couldn't book there.

There's no way of knowing how often that happens, but I'm sure it's more than we ever know about. I guess a TA business listing would get my rates listed, but this new connection to Booking can serve the same purpose.

We drive people to our websites in every way we can think of, but if we want the most occupancy we can get, we've probably also got to play the game of the companies most people go to for their bookings.

Yes, this happens often. It also happens often that visitors book at other propreties because they could not find your own website.

A business listing do not show your prices. Just an invisible link to your own website.

If you want to show prices, you will need a business listing, an approved channel manager plus a payment per clic.

Yes, if you need the most occupancy, you may need to do it. Handle with care, though. I need to be on Booking but I do not want to pay TA as it is not relevant to our location. Their search engine is bad and we do not come out. I try, elegantly, to answer comments and tell people better book direct.

Madeleine's picture
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More  anecdotal evidence...

Booking. Com reservation last week. Why? It said, 'only one room left!' She booked. Looked no further. I had 5 rooms open but only 1 on booking.

Apologized to me when she got here and said she panicked but should have looked more closely and booked direct.

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Booking.com belongs to Priceline which is owned by pension funds. Their interest is to get as much profit from you and your guests. Though it may seem pleasant to be taken care nicely by such big company, you should ensure not to become dependant from them. They are very efficient companies. Do not let them take the keys of your business. You are the manager, not them.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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great advice souslechene.

 

Madeleine's picture
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Yes. Your photos are now their photos. It's annoying.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Yes, the jury's out, but they're probably better at filling beds than I am, so if they send me enough business to offset their commission, I'll be happy, and might even bump my rates up a little.

I know how much business I had without them, so we'll see how things change over time with them. I can always cut them off if I decide it's not working for me. So far, no problems.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Sorry, but I just think it's more evidence of book.com trying to monopolize all of your reservations.

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