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An new TA company promoting Vacation Rentals MUST Read this!

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Copperhead

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I was just looking at TA again due to several recent threads about changes etc. I take a look at my area and see the new tab for Vacation Rentals. I decided to take a peak. There are 5 in my area, no big deal except ----
Listing is much like the hotels and B&B except beside each is a 'contact manager' button. This button takes you to a TA company called Flipkey and a contact form which goes to the owner or manager of the rental to follow through. There are some that say book now, and it gives details of charges including a $20 booking fee. For the one that I checked - up to the end, also provided a box with 'call to book with # and manag. name.
I decided to take a peak at the cost to join this company, get this the rate to list a property $1.99 per month through the end of '09 reg. rate $19.99 p mth. NO commission that I could find under the terms and conditions (which I skimmed).
Just found this interesting that TA is providing Vacation Rental owners a very reasonable way to promote their properties while we (B&Bs and Inns) are having to pay like the big boys with commissions etc. While some rental owners have only one property, others are owned by big rental companies and have properties all over. The local ones are all owned by the same person also owns some in at least one other state.
 

egoodell

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Do I not recall that TA is also owner of a vacation rental company or something like that? That would explain.
Unbiased travel advice, my ()*(*&*&&*%&^%$!!
RIki
 

EmptyNest

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This happened a short time ago. It caused and is still causing some issues in our area. One Company basically has all the cabin listings and they put them on. I also note that the same company lists a few of the B & B's in our area..which I think should not be permitted there. You cannot put in comments about these listings either.
Just another way TA is making money.
 

Copperhead

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This happened a short time ago. It caused and is still causing some issues in our area. One Company basically has all the cabin listings and they put them on. I also note that the same company lists a few of the B & B's in our area..which I think should not be permitted there. You cannot put in comments about these listings either.
Just another way TA is making money..
You cannot put in comments about these listings either.
I saw a place for star or some type of rating and comments on Flipkey - the TA subsidary directory company that hosts the Vac. Rentals CHEAP. Since the guests must register to be able to book (online), they can then verify the review. Don't know what it would take to review if you had called to make the reservation.
In my search (searched 3 cities total) I did find one B&B in the mix as well.
What irks me is the cost difference between expedia/hotels (TA sites) with high commissions for each booking and the $1.99 (reg. 19.99) a month for their Vac. rental site.
 

happykeeper

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This happened a short time ago. It caused and is still causing some issues in our area. One Company basically has all the cabin listings and they put them on. I also note that the same company lists a few of the B & B's in our area..which I think should not be permitted there. You cannot put in comments about these listings either.
Just another way TA is making money..
You cannot put in comments about these listings either.
I saw a place for star or some type of rating and comments on Flipkey - the TA subsidary directory company that hosts the Vac. Rentals CHEAP. Since the guests must register to be able to book (online), they can then verify the review. Don't know what it would take to review if you had called to make the reservation.
In my search (searched 3 cities total) I did find one B&B in the mix as well.
What irks me is the cost difference between expedia/hotels (TA sites) with high commissions for each booking and the $1.99 (reg. 19.99) a month for their Vac. rental site.
.
So you have to ask...why aren't we able to get that? Is there a middleman issue?
When you see something like this with a direct link, you have to take a look at how it works and whether you can make use of it.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Alas, we have found one of the pitfalls of mass corporatization.
No potential market big or small is off limits, no internal advantage isn't capitalized on, no partnership or linkage if profitable for the host is not considered, etc. etc. etc.
Here we all are begging for the crumbs off the edge of the table with our "advocates" going to TA with hat in hand "negotiating" for some minimal way for potential guests to go see our own websites without multiple steps and search engine manuevers.
And as more of this consolidation occurs, the lines between types of lodging get blurrier and blurrier.
Any of us who accept reservations via these third party systems already know there has been a dramatic drop off in the quality of guests who think the shoddy behavior they practice in Motel 6s should be acceptable in B&Bs because we are all essentially the same in the eyes of these corporations and the typical consumer.
Restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, attractions, etc. on TA are all allowed direct linkage from TA, yet us lowly innkeepers are only allowed to have our listings and are insulated from the consumer attempting to deal with us directly. That is, except for those of us who "buy in" to the system and as we can see at a much higher price.
 

Don Draper

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Alas, we have found one of the pitfalls of mass corporatization.
No potential market big or small is off limits, no internal advantage isn't capitalized on, no partnership or linkage if profitable for the host is not considered, etc. etc. etc.
Here we all are begging for the crumbs off the edge of the table with our "advocates" going to TA with hat in hand "negotiating" for some minimal way for potential guests to go see our own websites without multiple steps and search engine manuevers.
And as more of this consolidation occurs, the lines between types of lodging get blurrier and blurrier.
Any of us who accept reservations via these third party systems already know there has been a dramatic drop off in the quality of guests who think the shoddy behavior they practice in Motel 6s should be acceptable in B&Bs because we are all essentially the same in the eyes of these corporations and the typical consumer.
Restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, attractions, etc. on TA are all allowed direct linkage from TA, yet us lowly innkeepers are only allowed to have our listings and are insulated from the consumer attempting to deal with us directly. That is, except for those of us who "buy in" to the system and as we can see at a much higher price..
I'm just curious, not having dealt with any of this myself...for any innkeeper participating in these third-party reservations, do the number of reservations you get make up for some of the problems that come along with it?
I'm thinking mostly about someone who books your Inn but thinks they are getting a Super 8 hotel or something...is this the majority of the folks you get or are these an exception? What percentage of your overall business comes from third-party bookings?
 

Copperhead

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Alas, we have found one of the pitfalls of mass corporatization.
No potential market big or small is off limits, no internal advantage isn't capitalized on, no partnership or linkage if profitable for the host is not considered, etc. etc. etc.
Here we all are begging for the crumbs off the edge of the table with our "advocates" going to TA with hat in hand "negotiating" for some minimal way for potential guests to go see our own websites without multiple steps and search engine manuevers.
And as more of this consolidation occurs, the lines between types of lodging get blurrier and blurrier.
Any of us who accept reservations via these third party systems already know there has been a dramatic drop off in the quality of guests who think the shoddy behavior they practice in Motel 6s should be acceptable in B&Bs because we are all essentially the same in the eyes of these corporations and the typical consumer.
Restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, attractions, etc. on TA are all allowed direct linkage from TA, yet us lowly innkeepers are only allowed to have our listings and are insulated from the consumer attempting to deal with us directly. That is, except for those of us who "buy in" to the system and as we can see at a much higher price..
I'm just curious, not having dealt with any of this myself...for any innkeeper participating in these third-party reservations, do the number of reservations you get make up for some of the problems that come along with it?
I'm thinking mostly about someone who books your Inn but thinks they are getting a Super 8 hotel or something...is this the majority of the folks you get or are these an exception? What percentage of your overall business comes from third-party bookings?
.
InnsiderInfo said:
I'm just curious, not having dealt with any of this myself...for any innkeeper participating in these third-party reservations, do the number of reservations you get make up for some of the problems that come along with it?
I'm thinking mostly about someone who books your Inn but thinks they are getting a Super 8 hotel or something...is this the majority of the folks you get or are these an exception? What percentage of your overall business comes from third-party bookings?
No, the ones I get from 3rd party bookings know they are booking at a B&B and what a B&B is. Meaning they know the difference and are very content with the B&B concept and are happy with their stay. I have had only ONE guest who was booked through a corporation's travel agent that arrived and said he thought it was a hotel... now my inn's name has 'Bed and Breakfast' as part of it so I just think he wanted to be more incognito - possibly brining in a 'friend' for the night. He did NOT stay but he paid end of story. I have taken 3rd party bookings (though online and travel agents) since 2000.
As I have stated before, this is NOT for everyone!!! Most that have nayed the idea are conserned with not getting all the guest information or knowing what time they will be checking in. I have never had a problem getting this info if I want it. I have never had a no show either. Most of these guests are B&B travelers. If the subject comes up about the way they booked, most are just doing more comparisons before booking. I am the only B&B in the area (closest B&B to me is 25 minutes away) so some compare me to the hotels in the area before booking. Many booked through the system the first time but on repeat visits, have called or booked directly.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Alas, we have found one of the pitfalls of mass corporatization.
No potential market big or small is off limits, no internal advantage isn't capitalized on, no partnership or linkage if profitable for the host is not considered, etc. etc. etc.
Here we all are begging for the crumbs off the edge of the table with our "advocates" going to TA with hat in hand "negotiating" for some minimal way for potential guests to go see our own websites without multiple steps and search engine manuevers.
And as more of this consolidation occurs, the lines between types of lodging get blurrier and blurrier.
Any of us who accept reservations via these third party systems already know there has been a dramatic drop off in the quality of guests who think the shoddy behavior they practice in Motel 6s should be acceptable in B&Bs because we are all essentially the same in the eyes of these corporations and the typical consumer.
Restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, attractions, etc. on TA are all allowed direct linkage from TA, yet us lowly innkeepers are only allowed to have our listings and are insulated from the consumer attempting to deal with us directly. That is, except for those of us who "buy in" to the system and as we can see at a much higher price..
I'm just curious, not having dealt with any of this myself...for any innkeeper participating in these third-party reservations, do the number of reservations you get make up for some of the problems that come along with it?
I'm thinking mostly about someone who books your Inn but thinks they are getting a Super 8 hotel or something...is this the majority of the folks you get or are these an exception? What percentage of your overall business comes from third-party bookings?
.
Ummm... for us it represents a couple percent of the total for the year and I'd have to say that while we've had a few B&B etiquette savvy, well behaved folks that the service worked out well for both parties involved, the majority have been as I described earlier.
Our biggest motivation for joining was to help build our brand as a new business and overcome a built-in local problem that we and the other "outlying" B&Bs from the city we're near typically suffer a lower lifelong occupancy rate than our in-town competitors. Its about 15-20% lower for us on average and really funny because except for those that visit our town and don't do anything but walk around downtown, hundreds of thousands of visitors spend more of their vacations here outside of the city than in it.
We're only 20 minutes from our "downtown" but for many visitors to our area, being a block or two from the "Plaza" is the biggest and most important criteria. We knew it going in and are after a different clientele to begin with, but that doesn't negate the effect of the phenonemon.
A couple of the big problems we see, is that people only read what they want to read, so the clearly stated language about calling if you are delayed en route or will arrive after hours is usually ignored.
Another is that unless they go to our website itself and see what kind of tone and demeanor we're trying to set, the hard partyers and generally rude types have ended up being too big of a percentage of those using those types of reservation systems.
Those who prefer no advance contact in order to not get steered away from your property for the above stated reasons seem to really like the anonymity it affords and we are blocked from doing any pre-screening of our guests.
Once here, because of the knowledge both we and the guest have that the room has been paid for already and the companies involved offer the opportunity for guests to go write reviews, we're kind of held hostage for the duration if they want to make your life a living hell.
The added "phenonemon" of users thinking they are getting a "deal" also seems to bring out the worst in some people.
We're pretty generous with the breakfast portions we serve, a late afternoon refreshment we put out, 24/7 self-serve teas/coffee/cold drinks, baked goodies, etc..
Despite it being clearly stated at check in that everything offered is meant to be shared by all the guests, more than a fair share of this type of guest lets that one go in one ear and out the other as if an entire platter of cookies or snack was made just for them.
 

Don Draper

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Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good.
 

Morticia

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Alas, we have found one of the pitfalls of mass corporatization.
No potential market big or small is off limits, no internal advantage isn't capitalized on, no partnership or linkage if profitable for the host is not considered, etc. etc. etc.
Here we all are begging for the crumbs off the edge of the table with our "advocates" going to TA with hat in hand "negotiating" for some minimal way for potential guests to go see our own websites without multiple steps and search engine manuevers.
And as more of this consolidation occurs, the lines between types of lodging get blurrier and blurrier.
Any of us who accept reservations via these third party systems already know there has been a dramatic drop off in the quality of guests who think the shoddy behavior they practice in Motel 6s should be acceptable in B&Bs because we are all essentially the same in the eyes of these corporations and the typical consumer.
Restaurants, hotels, motels, vacation rentals, attractions, etc. on TA are all allowed direct linkage from TA, yet us lowly innkeepers are only allowed to have our listings and are insulated from the consumer attempting to deal with us directly. That is, except for those of us who "buy in" to the system and as we can see at a much higher price..
I'm just curious, not having dealt with any of this myself...for any innkeeper participating in these third-party reservations, do the number of reservations you get make up for some of the problems that come along with it?
I'm thinking mostly about someone who books your Inn but thinks they are getting a Super 8 hotel or something...is this the majority of the folks you get or are these an exception? What percentage of your overall business comes from third-party bookings?
.
InnsiderInfo said:
I'm just curious, not having dealt with any of this myself...for any innkeeper participating in these third-party reservations, do the number of reservations you get make up for some of the problems that come along with it?
I'm thinking mostly about someone who books your Inn but thinks they are getting a Super 8 hotel or something...is this the majority of the folks you get or are these an exception? What percentage of your overall business comes from third-party bookings?
No, the ones I get from 3rd party bookings know they are booking at a B&B and what a B&B is. Meaning they know the difference and are very content with the B&B concept and are happy with their stay. I have had only ONE guest who was booked through a corporation's travel agent that arrived and said he thought it was a hotel... now my inn's name has 'Bed and Breakfast' as part of it so I just think he wanted to be more incognito - possibly brining in a 'friend' for the night. He did NOT stay but he paid end of story. I have taken 3rd party bookings (though online and travel agents) since 2000.
As I have stated before, this is NOT for everyone!!! Most that have nayed the idea are conserned with not getting all the guest information or knowing what time they will be checking in. I have never had a problem getting this info if I want it. I have never had a no show either. Most of these guests are B&B travelers. If the subject comes up about the way they booked, most are just doing more comparisons before booking. I am the only B&B in the area (closest B&B to me is 25 minutes away) so some compare me to the hotels in the area before booking. Many booked through the system the first time but on repeat visits, have called or booked directly.
.
Have you mentioned before HOW you are set up with 3rd party bookings? Thru what agency?
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good..
We totally bought into the initial idea and marketing scheme about "fill your empty rooms mid-week, or during slow spells"
After several years of tracking it, the frequency of reservations received via third party systems and internally, ie. busy season, weekends, holidays, etc. is identical.
Internally, we don't do minimum night stays except for holiday or special event periods, and don't want those periods offered on those systems when we know we can fill the rooms ourselves and not pay the exorbitant commission.
I am now constantly in the system making sure every stinkin' weekend, holiday period, etc.. has the right number of minimum nights, etc.. and believe me, if there is a hole in there even months and months away, somebody will find it as you'll read it about next.
A few years ago, I had gone in and changed what I thought was all the availability for every holiday and every room to our preference for the entire upcoming year.
So we get a phone message in early February and this young woman wants one of our nicest rooms for only one night, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I write down her number and call back the next day.
After explaining our policy and her stating that their stay with us was intended to be the "highlight' of their weeklong trip to New Mexico, I asked the obvious. "Its only early February, if you are so impressed with our place, why aren't you structuring your trip to stay here at least our minimum required number of nights?" She had no explanation and we ended our conversation and I assumed that was the end of it.
I knew why she couldn't explain, because nearly everybody else also has minimum night stay requirements for holidays.
Five minutes later, the little "you've got email" ding goes off and there is the "You have a reservation" message from the third party booking engine. The reservation is for the room she wanted, for only the one Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, the name is different but the phone number given matches the one I called her back on. So I'm livid.
I go into the third party reservation management calendar and sure as the sun comes up, there it is. I had missed putting a minimum night stay number in one box for that one room for a holiday four months away. The only one I missed ofr four rooms for an entire year. Go figure.
I call the number on the reservation form and get the husband and he throws it back on her. She called him from work as soon as her and I hung up, told him about our conversation and despite that, she went online two minutes later and took advantage of my tiny oversight. He stated to me that "Amber worked the system and was elated that they would be spending the night with us after all" Oh great!
So I tell him that no matter how badly they wanted to stay at our place, that kind of disrespect and deception was not appreciated. He gave me some BS about not being able to cancel the reservation and I offered to pay them out of my own pocket to just not show up as we'd be very uncomfortable having guests like them under our roof. They then sent this completely over the top hositile email that just made it even worse.
Nothing I offered or said would get them to change their plans.
In the end, they showed up at 11:00pm without calling, were moderately friendly, got their little "highlight of the trip" one nighter, were checked out by 10am the next morning and that was the end of it.
Big lesson learned by me on third party calendar management.
 

Morticia

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Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good..
InnsiderInfo said:
Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good.
Here's a general question for all...does anyone out there think the LOCATION of the B&B might have an influence on whether or not the guests who show up either off a 3rd party booking or just out of the blue on their own behave or don't behave as we would hope they would?
I mean are there certain locations that draw certain kinds of people? (An extreme example would be Daytona Beach- party central.)
 

Don Draper

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Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good..
We totally bought into the initial idea and marketing scheme about "fill your empty rooms mid-week, or during slow spells"
After several years of tracking it, the frequency of reservations received via third party systems and internally, ie. busy season, weekends, holidays, etc. is identical.
Internally, we don't do minimum night stays except for holiday or special event periods, and don't want those periods offered on those systems when we know we can fill the rooms ourselves and not pay the exorbitant commission.
I am now constantly in the system making sure every stinkin' weekend, holiday period, etc.. has the right number of minimum nights, etc.. and believe me, if there is a hole in there even months and months away, somebody will find it as you'll read it about next.
A few years ago, I had gone in and changed what I thought was all the availability for every holiday and every room to our preference for the entire upcoming year.
So we get a phone message in early February and this young woman wants one of our nicest rooms for only one night, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I write down her number and call back the next day.
After explaining our policy and her stating that their stay with us was intended to be the "highlight' of their weeklong trip to New Mexico, I asked the obvious. "Its only early February, if you are so impressed with our place, why aren't you structuring your trip to stay here at least our minimum required number of nights?" She had no explanation and we ended our conversation and I assumed that was the end of it.
I knew why she couldn't explain, because nearly everybody else also has minimum night stay requirements for holidays.
Five minutes later, the little "you've got email" ding goes off and there is the "You have a reservation" message from the third party booking engine. The reservation is for the room she wanted, for only the one Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, the name is different but the phone number given matches the one I called her back on. So I'm livid.
I go into the third party reservation management calendar and sure as the sun comes up, there it is. I had missed putting a minimum night stay number in one box for that one room for a holiday four months away. The only one I missed ofr four rooms for an entire year. Go figure.
I call the number on the reservation form and get the husband and he throws it back on her. She called him from work as soon as her and I hung up, told him about our conversation and despite that, she went online two minutes later and took advantage of my tiny oversight. He stated to me that "Amber worked the system and was elated that they would be spending the night with us after all" Oh great!
So I tell him that no matter how badly they wanted to stay at our place, that kind of disrespect and deception was not appreciated. He gave me some BS about not being able to cancel the reservation and I offered to pay them out of my own pocket to just not show up as we'd be very uncomfortable having guests like them under our roof. They then sent this completely over the top hositile email that just made it even worse.
Nothing I offered or said would get them to change their plans.
In the end, they showed up at 11:00pm without calling, were moderately friendly, got their little "highlight of the trip" one nighter, were checked out by 10am the next morning and that was the end of it.
Big lesson learned by me on third party calendar management.
.
That's awful! I'm always making that mistake in Webervations myself...forgetting to change a rate or make a minimum stay requirement (it's tough because they only let you adjust it one calendar year ahead), and I know what you mean about someone finding it right away the minute you forget to adjust something.
We have a 2 night minimum for every weekend and we get calls for single night Saturdays all the time..."But it's our 40th wedding anniversary" or whatever the occasion...I'm sorry but if it's such a special occasion or "the highlight of your trip" as you pointed out, doesn't it rate more than a lousy one night stay???
 

Morticia

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Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good..
We totally bought into the initial idea and marketing scheme about "fill your empty rooms mid-week, or during slow spells"
After several years of tracking it, the frequency of reservations received via third party systems and internally, ie. busy season, weekends, holidays, etc. is identical.
Internally, we don't do minimum night stays except for holiday or special event periods, and don't want those periods offered on those systems when we know we can fill the rooms ourselves and not pay the exorbitant commission.
I am now constantly in the system making sure every stinkin' weekend, holiday period, etc.. has the right number of minimum nights, etc.. and believe me, if there is a hole in there even months and months away, somebody will find it as you'll read it about next.
A few years ago, I had gone in and changed what I thought was all the availability for every holiday and every room to our preference for the entire upcoming year.
So we get a phone message in early February and this young woman wants one of our nicest rooms for only one night, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I write down her number and call back the next day.
After explaining our policy and her stating that their stay with us was intended to be the "highlight' of their weeklong trip to New Mexico, I asked the obvious. "Its only early February, if you are so impressed with our place, why aren't you structuring your trip to stay here at least our minimum required number of nights?" She had no explanation and we ended our conversation and I assumed that was the end of it.
I knew why she couldn't explain, because nearly everybody else also has minimum night stay requirements for holidays.
Five minutes later, the little "you've got email" ding goes off and there is the "You have a reservation" message from the third party booking engine. The reservation is for the room she wanted, for only the one Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, the name is different but the phone number given matches the one I called her back on. So I'm livid.
I go into the third party reservation management calendar and sure as the sun comes up, there it is. I had missed putting a minimum night stay number in one box for that one room for a holiday four months away. The only one I missed ofr four rooms for an entire year. Go figure.
I call the number on the reservation form and get the husband and he throws it back on her. She called him from work as soon as her and I hung up, told him about our conversation and despite that, she went online two minutes later and took advantage of my tiny oversight. He stated to me that "Amber worked the system and was elated that they would be spending the night with us after all" Oh great!
So I tell him that no matter how badly they wanted to stay at our place, that kind of disrespect and deception was not appreciated. He gave me some BS about not being able to cancel the reservation and I offered to pay them out of my own pocket to just not show up as we'd be very uncomfortable having guests like them under our roof. They then sent this completely over the top hositile email that just made it even worse.
Nothing I offered or said would get them to change their plans.
In the end, they showed up at 11:00pm without calling, were moderately friendly, got their little "highlight of the trip" one nighter, were checked out by 10am the next morning and that was the end of it.
Big lesson learned by me on third party calendar management.
.
That's awful! I'm always making that mistake in Webervations myself...forgetting to change a rate or make a minimum stay requirement (it's tough because they only let you adjust it one calendar year ahead), and I know what you mean about someone finding it right away the minute you forget to adjust something.
We have a 2 night minimum for every weekend and we get calls for single night Saturdays all the time..."But it's our 40th wedding anniversary" or whatever the occasion...I'm sorry but if it's such a special occasion or "the highlight of your trip" as you pointed out, doesn't it rate more than a lousy one night stay???
.
I'm not sure how this works in Webervations but a problem I have when I have a 2-night min is that my system only cares that they book 2 nights. So, they book Thurs + Fri and I'm stuck with Sat. Or, they book Sat + Sun and I'm stuck with Fri. Altho, that usually works out because someone wants just one night. BUT, they have to take that room, they don't get to pick.
And I forget to release the leftover room so it's just a one-nighter again.
I dread when I sit down to do my rates for the year. I make a big list of all the 2 night mins and race to get them all in. It's getting time to start in-putting next year's rates. But I haven't decided how I'm going to do the rates next year.
 

Don Draper

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Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good..
We totally bought into the initial idea and marketing scheme about "fill your empty rooms mid-week, or during slow spells"
After several years of tracking it, the frequency of reservations received via third party systems and internally, ie. busy season, weekends, holidays, etc. is identical.
Internally, we don't do minimum night stays except for holiday or special event periods, and don't want those periods offered on those systems when we know we can fill the rooms ourselves and not pay the exorbitant commission.
I am now constantly in the system making sure every stinkin' weekend, holiday period, etc.. has the right number of minimum nights, etc.. and believe me, if there is a hole in there even months and months away, somebody will find it as you'll read it about next.
A few years ago, I had gone in and changed what I thought was all the availability for every holiday and every room to our preference for the entire upcoming year.
So we get a phone message in early February and this young woman wants one of our nicest rooms for only one night, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I write down her number and call back the next day.
After explaining our policy and her stating that their stay with us was intended to be the "highlight' of their weeklong trip to New Mexico, I asked the obvious. "Its only early February, if you are so impressed with our place, why aren't you structuring your trip to stay here at least our minimum required number of nights?" She had no explanation and we ended our conversation and I assumed that was the end of it.
I knew why she couldn't explain, because nearly everybody else also has minimum night stay requirements for holidays.
Five minutes later, the little "you've got email" ding goes off and there is the "You have a reservation" message from the third party booking engine. The reservation is for the room she wanted, for only the one Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, the name is different but the phone number given matches the one I called her back on. So I'm livid.
I go into the third party reservation management calendar and sure as the sun comes up, there it is. I had missed putting a minimum night stay number in one box for that one room for a holiday four months away. The only one I missed ofr four rooms for an entire year. Go figure.
I call the number on the reservation form and get the husband and he throws it back on her. She called him from work as soon as her and I hung up, told him about our conversation and despite that, she went online two minutes later and took advantage of my tiny oversight. He stated to me that "Amber worked the system and was elated that they would be spending the night with us after all" Oh great!
So I tell him that no matter how badly they wanted to stay at our place, that kind of disrespect and deception was not appreciated. He gave me some BS about not being able to cancel the reservation and I offered to pay them out of my own pocket to just not show up as we'd be very uncomfortable having guests like them under our roof. They then sent this completely over the top hositile email that just made it even worse.
Nothing I offered or said would get them to change their plans.
In the end, they showed up at 11:00pm without calling, were moderately friendly, got their little "highlight of the trip" one nighter, were checked out by 10am the next morning and that was the end of it.
Big lesson learned by me on third party calendar management.
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That's awful! I'm always making that mistake in Webervations myself...forgetting to change a rate or make a minimum stay requirement (it's tough because they only let you adjust it one calendar year ahead), and I know what you mean about someone finding it right away the minute you forget to adjust something.
We have a 2 night minimum for every weekend and we get calls for single night Saturdays all the time..."But it's our 40th wedding anniversary" or whatever the occasion...I'm sorry but if it's such a special occasion or "the highlight of your trip" as you pointed out, doesn't it rate more than a lousy one night stay???
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I'm not sure how this works in Webervations but a problem I have when I have a 2-night min is that my system only cares that they book 2 nights. So, they book Thurs + Fri and I'm stuck with Sat. Or, they book Sat + Sun and I'm stuck with Fri. Altho, that usually works out because someone wants just one night. BUT, they have to take that room, they don't get to pick.
And I forget to release the leftover room so it's just a one-nighter again.
I dread when I sit down to do my rates for the year. I make a big list of all the 2 night mins and race to get them all in. It's getting time to start in-putting next year's rates. But I haven't decided how I'm going to do the rates next year.
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It's the same in Webervations, you can force a two night minimum for a particular night, but you can't specify which two nights (or maybe you can and I just don't know how to set it up). You can, for each date, choose whether or not to allow check-in, so that works for the 3-night minimums like I just did for Memorial Day...I chose no check-ins for Saturday or Sunday. But for regular weekends I just put the minimum up and they can either do Thursday/Friday, Friday/Saturday, or Saturday/Sunday.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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Let me be clear on the reservation stuff, I'm only talking about the third party systems.
We use Availability Online basic internally and love it because at our size of only four rooms, we want to manually enter all reservations so we don't ever miss one and its price and reliability is unbeatable in my opinion.
"Here's a general question for all...does anyone out there think the LOCATION of the B&B might have an influence on whether or not the guests who show up either off a 3rd party booking or just out of the blue on their own behave or don't behave as we would hope they would?
I mean are there certain locations that draw certain kinds of people? (An extreme example would be Daytona Beach- party central.)"
No, we're out in the country, our region and even the city we're near isn't known for being anything but very laid back and definitely not a "party" town. I think its all about the people themselves. They'd act the way they do regardless of where the were.
I actually once saw a website and blacklisting system based in Europe to protect hoteliers and innkeepers from booking folks that destroy their properties or make too much revelry while on "holiday". I guess this thing has a big database and if somebody bangs up a room or steals, or gets too rowdy, their name and info gets input and distributed to all the member properties. I'm not sure if members have the option to take a chance on someone on the list if they desire, but according to what I read, the cost of damages alone was in the $8 million per year range, so something had to be done.
 

Morticia

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Let me be clear on the reservation stuff, I'm only talking about the third party systems.
We use Availability Online basic internally and love it because at our size of only four rooms, we want to manually enter all reservations so we don't ever miss one and its price and reliability is unbeatable in my opinion.
"Here's a general question for all...does anyone out there think the LOCATION of the B&B might have an influence on whether or not the guests who show up either off a 3rd party booking or just out of the blue on their own behave or don't behave as we would hope they would?
I mean are there certain locations that draw certain kinds of people? (An extreme example would be Daytona Beach- party central.)"
No, we're out in the country, our region and even the city we're near isn't known for being anything but very laid back and definitely not a "party" town. I think its all about the people themselves. They'd act the way they do regardless of where the were.
I actually once saw a website and blacklisting system based in Europe to protect hoteliers and innkeepers from booking folks that destroy their properties or make too much revelry while on "holiday". I guess this thing has a big database and if somebody bangs up a room or steals, or gets too rowdy, their name and info gets input and distributed to all the member properties. I'm not sure if members have the option to take a chance on someone on the list if they desire, but according to what I read, the cost of damages alone was in the $8 million per year range, so something had to be done..
I didn't get the sense your area was a party area when I was there 2 years ago. I was wondering if anyone feels they get more of a party crowd or any other kind of crowd based on where they are located?
We get a little bit of everything here, but rarely get heavy drinkers or partyers other than wedding goers. We seem to just get 'Joe and Jolene Average' here.
For those who have been on the forum for awhile and wince when I take home the not-so-coveted PITA award for at least one week during the summer, it's just not like that all the time. Not so that I would have to have a policy that says 'you can't do this or that'.
Does anyone feel they are in a location where certain policies are absolutely required to keep the wolves at bay?
The blacklisting system is interesting. I know some locations where the innkeepers do that on their own. They have a group email system and if your name goes on it, none of them will take you.
 

happykeeper

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Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good..
We totally bought into the initial idea and marketing scheme about "fill your empty rooms mid-week, or during slow spells"
After several years of tracking it, the frequency of reservations received via third party systems and internally, ie. busy season, weekends, holidays, etc. is identical.
Internally, we don't do minimum night stays except for holiday or special event periods, and don't want those periods offered on those systems when we know we can fill the rooms ourselves and not pay the exorbitant commission.
I am now constantly in the system making sure every stinkin' weekend, holiday period, etc.. has the right number of minimum nights, etc.. and believe me, if there is a hole in there even months and months away, somebody will find it as you'll read it about next.
A few years ago, I had gone in and changed what I thought was all the availability for every holiday and every room to our preference for the entire upcoming year.
So we get a phone message in early February and this young woman wants one of our nicest rooms for only one night, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I write down her number and call back the next day.
After explaining our policy and her stating that their stay with us was intended to be the "highlight' of their weeklong trip to New Mexico, I asked the obvious. "Its only early February, if you are so impressed with our place, why aren't you structuring your trip to stay here at least our minimum required number of nights?" She had no explanation and we ended our conversation and I assumed that was the end of it.
I knew why she couldn't explain, because nearly everybody else also has minimum night stay requirements for holidays.
Five minutes later, the little "you've got email" ding goes off and there is the "You have a reservation" message from the third party booking engine. The reservation is for the room she wanted, for only the one Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, the name is different but the phone number given matches the one I called her back on. So I'm livid.
I go into the third party reservation management calendar and sure as the sun comes up, there it is. I had missed putting a minimum night stay number in one box for that one room for a holiday four months away. The only one I missed ofr four rooms for an entire year. Go figure.
I call the number on the reservation form and get the husband and he throws it back on her. She called him from work as soon as her and I hung up, told him about our conversation and despite that, she went online two minutes later and took advantage of my tiny oversight. He stated to me that "Amber worked the system and was elated that they would be spending the night with us after all" Oh great!
So I tell him that no matter how badly they wanted to stay at our place, that kind of disrespect and deception was not appreciated. He gave me some BS about not being able to cancel the reservation and I offered to pay them out of my own pocket to just not show up as we'd be very uncomfortable having guests like them under our roof. They then sent this completely over the top hositile email that just made it even worse.
Nothing I offered or said would get them to change their plans.
In the end, they showed up at 11:00pm without calling, were moderately friendly, got their little "highlight of the trip" one nighter, were checked out by 10am the next morning and that was the end of it.
Big lesson learned by me on third party calendar management.
.
We feel your pain. We gave up on that stuff as it drained us. We too, tried to get the information, but it just never felt right for us and sometimes did not feel right to the guest who made the reservation. It did not enhance our bottom line and out it went. It also ended the stress of managing two different inventories. Had the same thing happen where we thought we had changed it but didn't
 

happykeeper

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Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good..
InnsiderInfo said:
Thanks to Copperhead and Tim for the responses...two very different sides of the same coin! I don't think it would work here but it sounds like with the right situation it could do you some good.
Here's a general question for all...does anyone out there think the LOCATION of the B&B might have an influence on whether or not the guests who show up either off a 3rd party booking or just out of the blue on their own behave or don't behave as we would hope they would?
I mean are there certain locations that draw certain kinds of people? (An extreme example would be Daytona Beach- party central.)
.
Definitely!
 
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