Free Stays... No Ways!

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Ugh, I got a call today for an "online magazine". How much traffic? My website has more traffic than them!

Looked at the website tonight, it's basically a who's who of B&Bs who have stupidly let them stay for free... like they don't have utility bills to pay, employees who need to be paid, and food bills? Wondering if I should offer a deal... pay for your stay and I'll pay you a 5% commission on all stays for 90 days after you publish, using the code XXX and 5% off for your clients. See if they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

I'm tired of this nonsense. Aren't we better than this? It's like that website that offer to sell you "exclusive words" a few years ago.

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gillumhouse's picture
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We could not even got them to sign on to InnRewards when it was FREE. I understand the frustration of Dumitru but I also understand the wariness of the business. There are so many pitches wanting money. And, I would guess the fear of signing up for the free is where is myu info going (and who is it going to be sold to).

There is now another attempt at the beat the OTA grip on our throats https://www.bookdirectrewards.com/ and it is slow going. They have a free basic and a better listing for $60 and a premium. I am willing to toss the $60 in the pot to try to get it going - and I am a cheapskate. I want to help others get asway from the stranglehold so I will pay. It is not going to give back immediately, but given time, I think it will. It is a better chance than doing nothing.

dumitru's picture
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Partially off topic:

I remember when I was launching a local travel website in my country, on a premium domain name (nothing can get better than it). 

I knew the kind of traffic that I will have. I knew the customers that I would provide to the people that list with me. But out of ~30 hotels that I offered listing with me, only 1 decided to trust me and do it. 

It really surprised me then how unwilling most hotel owners are to try out new channels of advertising, especially when they can get their investment back if I deliver a single booking per year. This unwillingness of people in the industry have forced me to change plans and reduce my investments and efforts on this project by 99%. Everybody lost because of this.

And considering that this website today (with minimal efforts) delivers about ~15 daily visitors to each hotel listing, it would be surprising if none of them ever convert into a sale.

What would have happened if hotel and B&B owners would have been a little more open? I'm sure my project would have gotten their investments back 10x at least.

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

dumitru wrote:

...especially when they can get their investment back if I deliver a single booking per year....

I'm not sure if you are talking at 10% or you are using the fallacy of the 100% of the booking is income thing. I've had a few companies call and suggest that I should hand over $500 of my hard earned money calling it the cost of a booking. No... there are also expenses. I pay over $10K a year in property taxes, 30% in income taxes, not to mention the housekeeper, food, utilities, maintenance, amenities, linens, etc. It's expenses that I need to cover.

I might have been willing to fork over money if you could have shown me the traffic. But most of the time there is no traffic to talk about and it's completely untested. So a deal to track and pay may have gotten more interest.

Remember, many of our are balking at what T/A asks us to pay (something like $2K for under 10 rooms) and even their traffic is suspect... they certainly audit it, but it never matched mine and when I turned them off, my traffic went down maybe 3%... the traffic just moved over to Google's searches.

dumitru's picture
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I'm referring to something that I did in my country many years ago... Taxation is a little different in that part of the world Smiling I was working in incoming for a top incoming (local) tour operator, so I knew very well who makes what on each reservation.
So when I pitched them the idea, I knew as an insider how things work... and got rejected Laughing out loud

Generic's picture
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You wouldn't believe the amount of calls we get and emails asking for free stays. It gets to be so much that you just shoot everyone down, all the time just to get some peace.

 

dumitru's picture
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10/07/2013

I completely get the reasoning, I'm not criticizing. I'm just saying that life became difficult even for legit people offering legit services. But back then I didn't think that people are THAT tired of everything they get pitched about. 

Generic's picture
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dumitru wrote:

I completely get the reasoning, I'm not criticizing. I'm just saying that life became difficult even for legit people offering legit services. But back then I didn't think that people are THAT tired of everything they get pitched about. 

This week I got a call from Thierry Adam who claimed that he worked for Google and that they wanted to come and add my B&B to streetview. My first action was to check his name on LinkedIn... not there. The next action was to tell him that NO ONE was going to enter my B&B without an ID directly from Google... not an "authorized by..." or a "service provider for...". But a REAL ID directly from Google and a name that I could verify by calling GooglePlex in California.

But honestly, most of the telephone pitches don't even get that far. I answer that this is a booking service and I don't have their direct number, nor can I transfer them. I've sometimes asked them directly for a credit card number, telling them that I bill $50 for my time and if they think their pitch is good enough, to buy the time.

No, the formula needs to prove itself. It needs to bring in bookings in the low season or save me time and money. I have the full rooms in the high season, so sending me more people during the high season... isn't adding incremental income.

JimBoone's picture
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12/18/2014

I would think part of the problem is/was "which of the hundreds of deals that are offered to us is the real thing"?

I don't think a day passes that there aren't emails and calls that are going to make me successful if only I send them money, truthfully you reach a point where you hit "blacklist" or "block call" without taking time to read or listen to the pitch. Most of are small and can't take every deal, but which is the good one?

 

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10/04/2015

not to be a poop but its in the main because we have all been burned so badly by people promising the earth and delivering nothing.

Ie when we first bought a scam came to us (we were green then) which purported to advertise to all members of the national health service (basically uk's biggest employer) not massive money £250 and the staff would get say 10% off their bill - we do a lot of NHS conferences and medical conferences so looked like a good bet - when first conference came in we asked about it - they had never heard of it wasn't advertised anywhere 

its situations like that that make people wary

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