2nd Annual #BookDirect Guest Education Day Set for February 6 — Let your guests know it pays to book direct!

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Hillbilly's picture
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We need to all turn off our OTA feeds for this 1 day.  Not only to promote the Book Direct Movement but to show the OTA's they depend on us as much as we depend on them.  It would cost them'

millions of lost $ that one day.  The fees they charge are going to keep going up.  We essentially are working for them.  I know it might be to late for this year but we could start everyone talking about doing this for next year.

 

https://acorn-is.com/Need2KnowNews/need-2-know-2019-jan-31.html

 

 

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Lee2014's picture
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  Go team!  I'm kinda of late to the party but how about blocking rooms for a week or so on OTA.  If every place- hotel, motel, inn, B&B, resort blocked OTAs for one month guests will have to book direct.  If a whole town or city decided to block OTAs...  

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PhineasSwann's picture
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I took my offerings offline Wednesday for the day. 

Also posted this on my blog: https://phineasswann.com/today-is-book-direct-day/

 

 

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We'd like to do this tomorrow, how do I shut down bookings on Booking.com/Expedia for tomorrow in one fell swoop?

PhineasSwann's picture
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Depends on what reservation system you use to feed availability to them. 

I have ThinkReservations, so all you have to do is go to your OTA rate and delete the prices (DONT put "0" or you'll be giving them rooms for zero dollars).

Without a price, it will show your rooms as unavailable. 

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Hillbilly wrote:

We need to all turn off our OTA feeds for this 1 day.  The fees they charge are going to keep going up.  We essentially are working for them.  

I'd like to say I'm smart by not using OTA's, but the truth is I'm probably just lazy. Sure I'd like to see more people visit, there is a certain satisfaction to seeing rooms full, yet if I'm paying 25% in commission then I've got to do at least 25% more work just to break even, I'm afraid I'd run out of energy before I saw an increase to the real bottom line. True this may be different for a larger property with staff, but that staff still must be paid, where is the tipping point?

 

 

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Hillbilly's picture
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JimBoone wrote:

Hillbilly wrote:

We need to all turn off our OTA feeds for this 1 day.  The fees they charge are going to keep going up.  We essentially are working for them.  

I'd like to say I'm smart by not using OTA's, but the truth is I'm probably just lazy. Sure I'd like to see more people visit, there is a certain satisfaction to seeing rooms full, yet if I'm paying 25% in commission then I've got to do at least 25% more work just to break even, I'm afraid I'd run out of energy before I saw an increase to the real bottom line. True this may be different for a larger property with staff, but that staff still must be paid, where is the tipping point?

 

 

I agree with you. I have fought signing up with them for years.

they have monopoliezed the way customers find us. I have read a lot of studies that have changed my mind about them. The 40 year olds and younger choose to use these sites religiously. It’s because they think they will get the best rate. These sites have much more marketing power than we ever will. I set ours up so when a booking comes in I can move them around to fill empty spots. These helps a little to play Tetris with the reservations. After they get here, I can explain if they book direct next time they can get s better rate and be able to chose their room. I hve to teach each couple why it’s better to book direct. They are like little kids and mny dont realize that. So then the next time they book direct. This gaining a future direct customer. I do think the 20% is a little expensive. It would take a very large percentage of all of us to voice our opinions in order to make a change. Only way to do this is by taking money away from them. 

JimBoone's picture
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Hillbilly wrote:

I agree with you. I have fought signing up with them for years, they have monopoliezed the way customers find us. I have read a lot of studies that have changed my mind about them. The 40 year olds and younger choose to use these sites religiously. It’s because they think they will get the best rate.

These sites have much more marketing power than we ever will.  I do think the 20% is a little expensive. It would take a very large percentage of all of us to voice our opinions in order to make a change. Only way to do this is by taking money away from them. 

True, they have used the money from our commission payments to take over our market, we as an industry let it happen and now the tail is wagging the dog. Unfortunately not making rooms available on a single given day reminds me of a similar idea to not purchase gas on a certain day to send a signal to the oil companies, I won't hold my breath.

I think young people do use them, it is quick and easy, maybe money is not an issue for them or they have been sold on the idea that it is cheaper. For me I don't know that it is just the cost of using them as much as giving up being independent, as a small/tiny place my selling feature is me as a friendly innkeeper, I really feel that being part of the crowd would work against me, if an OTA sets the rules and handles the bookings then I'm just the maid and handyman, no different from the big guys.

Think about that 20% commission, is it expensive or like the young folks booking rooms, did we as an industry take the easy way? What would happen if we were spending that 10 - 20% of our gross sales on self promotion? Just throwing out ideas.

Hillbilly's picture
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You are correct again, as an industry we have done this to our selves.  Grass is always greener.....well not so much.  Many new properties this is the only way they can get bookings.  It's once they get here we have to sell them on it.  An extra 20% on our bottom line would be great.  Its like a double edged sword.  If we can't book our rooms than we can't pay our bills.  So everyone is drinking the cool-aid so to speak and getting in line for their share of the bookings.  Something needs to be done or they will Monopolize us.  We will be the maid and the handyman.

gillumhouse's picture
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Hillbilly wrote:

You are correct again, as an industry we have done this to our selves.  Grass is always greener.....well not so much.  Many new properties this is the only way they can get bookings.  It's once they get here we have to sell them on it.  An extra 20% on our bottom line would be great.  Its like a double edged sword.  If we can't book our rooms than we can't pay our bills.  So everyone is drinking the cool-aid so to speak and getting in line for their share of the bookings.  Something needs to be done or they will Monopolize us.  We will be the maid and the handyman.

I admit I am in a different category, I am old and on my way out. Kids are grown & Himself with his expensive hobbies is no longer here. Although I am not there yet, I can almost make it with just 6 to 8 room nights a month because I live frugally, meaning I have enough clothes, do not smoke or drink, and no payments except one loan.

I have decided that IF I am going to go belly-up, I am going on my own terms without OTAs. I am not going to help them put me out of business by adding to their mega-marketing fund. PLEASE do not think I am denigrating anyone who has done the "join 'em", you are in a different category as I stated in the beginning.

I have seen trends turn around and I am going to hope that with things like teh Book Direct Campaign this too shall pass (who would ever have thought Sears would go belly-up?). 10 years ago, if teens were walking out of the Mall and saw himself coming in, they would keep on walking, even if they were just 5feet away from the door. Within the last 5 years, when teens were half-way to the parking lot and saw Himself coming on his crutches, they turned around and patiently waited for him to get there to hold the door for him. THAT is why I have hope for a turn-around.

JimBoone's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

Hillbilly wrote:

Something needs to be done or they will Monopolize us.  We will be the maid and the handyman.

I admit I am in a different category, I am old and on my way out. 

Perhaps I'm in between, also old/over the hill, my plan is to die with my boots on so to speak, however my next generation is here helping so the business needs to remain successful for them. I have at least a couple of loans and I like those expensive toys as well.

Guess my view is that OTA's don't create more guests in total, they only help to divide the same pie differently. I see it as diminishing returns, the more of us that join the smaller our slice becomes, but they still get their commissions from the slice. 

Promoting ourselves is hard work, using an OTA is easy, are we taking the easy way? Hillbilly tried to promote us, did we take part? I recently offered to put a website link on my site for anyone, but only two responded, no these small things would replace an OTA today, but if every small property joined together I still think we would get some attention, are we really that afraid of our fellow properties?  Same thought, do we like each other's FB pages, do we share their posts with our FB friends? I attempt to share the post of at least one other property on a daily basis, I suggest you do the same, it creates an interest in traveling, not saying to pick me, share places you would enjoy, if we promote the business as a whole, we also help ourselves.  

gillumhouse's picture
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I think we have to get over the "Competitors" thinking. I was asked who were my competitors by a reporter when I first opened - and at that time there there were several in the area. My reply was, "I have no competitors as they do not have ME and I do not have THEM."

We are all in this together and until we start working TOGETHER, the OTAs have won. Divide and conquor is what has happened. Everyone protecting their bit of turf. Look at it as the adage, Tides raise ALL boats. I may be scraping the barrel more than anyone on here - as of this moment I have NOTHING on the books, but I am willing to help promote EVERYONE. My calendar will change with a phone call or an e-mail from ResKey, it always does.

gillumhouse's picture
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I am also trying to get the word out.

Silverspoon's picture
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They don’t make a dime off of us...never have.  I could see from the start that they would be commandeering and devaluing our brand while at the same time they were skimming the profit off of every booking.  But..we are small and have been in this tourist area for 30 years.  We could not afford to go it alone if we had twice as many rooms.  

Go for it!  Give them a day of grief to remind them where their income comes from.

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Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Well, they won't be making money from me this week. I already shared a blog post with aihp.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Not a bad idea. (To be fair, I rarely get midweek Wednesday bookings, but hey, why not).

Also have my blog post all ready for my customers Wednesday morning, and plan to blanked my social media feeds with lots of #BookDirect. 

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