Finally Cut The Cord With TA

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PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

Well, either congratulate me or scold me.

After being a TA Business Listing customer since we bought the place in 2013, I emailed off my cancellation notice today to TA. 

Had a nice presentation from them yesterday about how they have upgraded and renamed their program. The metrics they've added are pretty good. Then attached to their followup email was the new contract with a 28% increase in my rate. Buh-bye. 

I used to work in a media job, so I know the value of advertising - if you're a business it should be the last thing you cut. That said, my reasons for cutting the cord include:

  • Small size of link to my website relative to the OTA links makes it no longer a good value
  • Wife and I have had long talks about trying to cut expenses to get ourselves more profitable, and this seems like a non-critical cut
  • Traffic metrics, while helpful, are suspect, especially since TA doesn't let Google have access to their site, thus making Google Analytics data useless
  • With 800 reviews, 96% of them 5-star, our place on TA seems safe. We only have 1 other competitor in town. We've been #1 of 2 since they opened. If we suddenly drop to #2, it's proof TA lies and $$ is part of their algorithm. 
  • We'll continue to use TripConnect. If they bring us a guest, I can justify paying for them.

We'll see if our traffic numbers change. A huge number of our guests say they found us through TA. We'll see if that drops. Crossing fingers. 

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PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

Final offer was for me to continue at my past rate. Decided to pass for a year. Will let you know how it goes. 

Arks's picture
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As a traveler, I'd be lost without TA. I never book lodging without checking them out on TA, and I rarely select a restaurant without a TA search. I love their interactive maps so I can pull up the neighborhood I'm in and see all the restaurants around me and their ratings. Even when I get a recommendation from my B&B host, I double check on TA.

I'm not paying them a penny, but I'm saying that those reviews are important. Very important.

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Silverspoon's picture
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I agree. In fact we use TA reviews as one of our main sources for advertising on the internet.  We don't pay them a penny but you better believe we take every review very seriously!  

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PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

Well with my cancellation date only weeks away, my rep has "talked to her boss and negotiated a lower, cheaper rate" that's only $8 a month more than my current monthly rate. Wow, the old "talked to my manager" used car lot bit? Really?

Still think in going to bail. Gonna try to put that money toward my bottom line and see if business declines at all.  

Never liked 

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Be prepared for more and more phone calls. As I said, we finally put them on call block.

They have absolutely NO respect for you or your time. Next time they call, tell them that your time is $60 an hour and if they want to explain how their deal is so great, they better fork over a CC number to pay for your time, because you aren't listening for free.

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10/26/2015

Just like Yelp, OMG they call and call and cant take No for an answer. I just started hanging up on them but they still call Smiling

Generic's picture
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Call block on cell phone is miraculous. Hiya! identifies them every time.

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05/22/2008

Hey Generic or anyone else using iCal on ResKey can someone shoot me a screenshot of how you have it set up ? I have never used it and if it works this could solve a double booking problem current clients have

thanks

Generic's picture
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I use mine via MyAllocator. But the info is at https://v2.reservationkey.com/properties/?v=roomtypes&s=21

Breakfast Diva's picture
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EmptyNest wrote:

Hey Generic or anyone else using iCal on ResKey can someone shoot me a screenshot of how you have it set up ? I have never used it and if it works this could solve a double booking problem current clients have

thanks

Here's a thread where Harborfield described how to do the ical link with air. It's a pretty old thread so air may have located the link somewhere else on the site, but you'll get the jist of of.

OnTheShore's picture
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Here's a direct link to the relevant post in that thread:

http://www.innspiring.com/node/16381?page=1#comment-177906

The iCal links are still in the same place in ResKey: Properties tab -> Rooms/Units page (upper right).

It's still working for me.

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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A special just for you and it's STILL more than last year.   Yeah.  No.

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TBH

 

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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I hate TA. You know what struck me as interesting today? When you look at your destination's main 'city' page, how come "Vacation Rentals" get their own icon along with "Hotels", but "B&Bs" don't get their own clickable icon? No, we are a sub-set of the 'Hotels' icon! That's disgusting!

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Because TA owns Flipkey. They care nothing about us. I've stopped asking guests to review on TA. I haven't had one since last August. No problems what-so-ever. 

The last time a TA rep called me I told him that I would never pay for a listing for a stupid small link until the restaurants have to pay. Restaurants get all their information listed for FREE! This rep was so clueless he didn't see why that should matter.

Lee2014's picture
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Time to Celebrate! Never had a paid account... People find us.

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Highlands John's picture
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We did it two years ago, had zero impact on our bottom line. I've always objected to the fact that to link to my site is a little one line on the page, whereas they have a big dates box leading to my competitors.

Also when I compared the cost per clock from TA and Adwords, google came out cheaper so better to spend the same each month with them.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Other option is to set up all your rooms in Bk and map them. Some reservation systems that integrate with your OTAs let you adjust the rate it feeds them. By contract, you're not supposed to do it.

2cat_lady's picture
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Not a techie. But I use my allocator. Do you mean set my prices in that system and then feed them to the OTAs?

happykeeper's picture
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12/11/2008

Using only Tripconnect so that we appear when someone does a date search for availability. Let go of the BUS LIST several years ago.

That said, I am trying to figure out how to use Bookin for exposure without getting reservations through them. They have a new means to add a fee on the reservation. Would like to find something that is enough of a poison pill to get people to go to us direct. Of course, there was a thread a while back talking about how it has become harder to work with them. Do you still get the guests infor in advance? 

When the new business stuff came out, it seemed like repackaged same old. You'll be fine without the scant benefit it provides.

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Morticia's picture
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We price our rooms on booking at $30+ more than our own site. We still get reservations, but the commission is paid by the guest.

We get all the info except the guest's real email addy.

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happykeeper's picture
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Thanks Mort

We send out a pre-arrival email to all our guests. Wouldn't want to give that up. Any workarounds for that? Was it that way in the past?

Morticia's picture
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happykeeper wrote:

Thanks Mort

We send out a pre-arrival email to all our guests. Wouldn't want to give that up. Any workarounds for that? Was it that way in the past?

Some innkeepers use the phone number to contact the guests directly for their email address with the explanation that booking does not provide it, but the innkeeper wants to send helpful info.

I just use the fake email to send the confirmation and pre arrival welcome info. It all shows up in your extranet account. I don't particularly care if booking reads what I'm writing as it's all aboveboard.

2cat_lady's picture
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Question for you Mort:

How do you tack on the extra charge on B**ing.? Don't you have to have your price the same as theirs? I thought you couldn't have a cheaper price on your website?

Morticia's picture
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I just did it. I got tired of guests booking thru them and then calling me to tell me which room they wanted. This way I can give any room and not feel like I'm giving the house away.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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we did it too.  

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10/04/2015

you can still do that its just it goes through booking.com ie from you to booking.com to the guest to us its neither here nor there.

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06/24/2008

I tried a business listing with them when they 1st started them and before you had to agree to a year.   After 6 mths and no bump in my business I bid them good bye.  A few months later they tried to get me back at a $10 a month increase and must give a year's commitment.   No thank you! 
 

I get a lot of bookings where the guest marks TA as the referral.  Good reviews and being where they want to be is all you need.  They will find your website (or an OTA sad.) if they want to book.  

I do use TripConnect and it brings me some bookings but their choice of "Official Site" as the wording has some people wondering if it really is!!!  

 

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05/22/2008

Paying them anything is just wasting money any way you look at it. My friends quit about 3 years ago and no negative impact . They have like 900 reviews all top notch and that is the only thing people look at and that costs them nothing. I never paid them and if still in business I am like Gilium.

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06/26/2008

We parted our ways with them more than 2.5 years ago after they increased nearly 100%. They never called us back with an offer but it did not matter. We are still #1 in our city out of 100+ properties and each year our income went up. A lot of our guests still finds us there and I keep $3000+/year in my pocket. Take a deep breath - you will be just fine.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I have had guests tell me they found me on TA - or my TA reviews made them book. I have never (and never will) paid TA one penny. IF I pay them, it is no longer an objective site. At the point they take my money, they are supposed (note I said supposed) to be working for ME. They would actually be working for me when Pigs fly as we all well know.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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06/24/2013

Sounds like a good move for you!

I'd like to part ways with bilking dot com.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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We have hundreds of TA reviews.   3 Google reviews and maybe 6 or 8 Y elp reviews.

TA is the man.

Many of our guests find us that way.   Probably most of them.  

We do pay.   And I agree that it is not very easy to quantify whether paying makes the listing any better than not paying.

Generic's picture
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We gave up years ago. But expect call after call from TA begging you to rejoin. We finally just put them on call block.

JimBoone's picture
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Darren, just my opinion, but I doubt it will hurt you, but yes I still subscribe for now. When we first subscribed, we ranked highly on their list and my motivation was that it would make it convenient for our customers to reach us, but as you say each year it becomes more expensive.

When their algorithm changed to include the quantity of veviews along with quality we got lost in the lower reaches of the list, with 8 rooms there is no way I can compete on volume with  80 room properties.  I also don't use the online booking folks so our prices don't show up with those guys, but so far it seems folks take time to read the reviews and choose on that basis.

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Jim & Maxine

 

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