Competing With Myself

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Arks

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So do I match competitors coupons, when I am my own competitor? I had a potential guest calculate the cost of their stay from my website and from my Air listing and ask me to match the lowest rate. I guess that's fair.

It's complicated. Air tacks on a "service charge" which is THEIR fee. And it's the norm on Air to have a one-time end-of-stay cleaning fee, so I have that at my Air listing. It makes it hard to set Air rates to match my website, since on my website the cleaning fee is built in.

I set my Air rate so with a 2-night stay the Air rate matches my website rate. On a one-nighter, the Air rate is higher. If it's a longer stay, it's actually cheaper to book through Air. But I figure most of my stays are 1 or 2 nights, so it evens out in the end.

I told her (yes, only a woman would do the math between the two websites ;) ) sure, I'll make sure she gets the lower rate, regardless of where she books. It's not like this comes up often. But, weird!
 

GoodScout

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I try not to complicate it. I set my Air and OTA rates to roughly the same as my best available rate. That way, when Air and others add on their fees, my direct-book rate always comes out lower. We always bill that guests always get the lowest rate by booking direct.

I used to try and jiggle my Air and OTA rates to exactly match my normal rates, but it became way too complicated to keep track of. As long as they're close, and our BAR is the lowest, I don't worry about it.
 

Morticia

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I usually set the rates on other sites to cover the commission they charge. People, other than your guest, always seem to book the easiest route. The OTA’s always pay to come in at the top of the page so guests generally pay a lot more for the ease of booking.

Next year I’ll take a look to see what works best.
 

GoodScout

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I usually set the rates on other sites to cover the commission they charge. People, other than your guest, always seem to book the easiest route. The OTA’s always pay to come in at the top of the page so guests generally pay a lot more for the ease of booking.

Next year I’ll take a look to see what works best.
Adjust my rates to the OTA's to cover the commission? Why, I'd never do anything like that! ;););)
 

Eugee

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I try not to complicate it. I set my Air and OTA rates to roughly the same as my best available rate. That way, when Air and others add on their fees, my direct-book rate always comes out lower. We always bill that guests always get the lowest rate by booking direct.

I used to try and jiggle my Air and OTA rates to exactly match my normal rates, but it became way too complicated to keep track of. As long as they're close, and our BAR is the lowest, I don't worry about it.
Same here, if they pick out the rate without all the add-ons air charge then its like comparing apples n oranges..
 

InnDeep

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This thread is right on time for me. Too crazy with start-up stuff to set up Booking.com or Air links to ThinkReservations when we first bought our Inn so have only been doing direct booking. Now that we’re down to our last weekend before closing for the winter (with only two guests thanks to Covid), I’ll finally have time to set all this up. What you all are saying makes sense. Sounds like I will want to follow in your footsteps.
 

Morticia

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If you have occupancy records from previous years, you may want to look back to see when you don’t need to use any OTA’s. Weekends, usually. Events. Don’t be afraid to see how high the rates go at the hotels in your area. (Around here the rates can go from $79 in the off season to $400+ in peak season. At the same hotel.)

Don’t cheat yourself. If everyone does minimum stays, don’t be the one place offering single nights, you’ll make yourself crazy for less money. One place I love near me has a 7 night minimum in peak season. At over $400/night. Obviously, I can only afford to stay there in the dead of winter!
 

CoffeeTreks

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" only a woman " ?
That's funny, I hadn't noticed that trend either in our visitors, but it could be true to an extent that women do more comparison shopping then men. I think men might be more likely to ask if it's my 'best' price, and women might be more likely to just comparison shop. I know when we go shopping in person, I tend to do more price comparisons than my husband...but ha! arks, you should meet my dad. He is one who will make spreadsheet comparisons between prices before he buys and factors in other expenses as well AND wants to explain his analysis when you visit...pulling out the spreadsheets (he was a physicist, very analytical, and he had us kids when he was still in college so had to budget quite a bit) . He also is the first wanting to offer financial help to us kids during big life events. 💚
 

Arks

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" only a woman " ?
Yes, that's what I find, that women are more experienced shoppers who will do the math. Men, not so much. It's like when women go out to eat together. When it's time to pay, they pull out their phones to calculate the tip division. Men won't generally bother.
 

gillumhouse

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Yes, that's what I find, that women are more experienced shoppers who will do the math. Men, not so much. It's like when women go out to eat together. When it's time to pay, they pull out their phones to calculate the tip division. Men won't generally bother.
You have not met my Bill. His favorite cartoon character when he was a kid was Scrooge McDuck (that is what he told me). Himself told me that when they made a trip to Michigan, Bill split bills to the penny - John would have just tossed in the rounded up amount currency (he did not spend coins).
 

gillumhouse

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This thread is right on time for me. Too crazy with start-up stuff to set up Booking.com or Air links to ThinkReservations when we first bought our Inn so have only been doing direct booking. Now that we’re down to our last weekend before closing for the winter (with only two guests thanks to Covid), I’ll finally have time to set all this up. What you all are saying makes sense. Sounds like I will want to follow in your footsteps.
I hope you avoid the OYAs like the plague. There are so many threads on multiple Forums of problems with OTAs practices, policies, and reservations. One innkeeper in Scotland got hit with a $150 PER NIGHT charge from b.con for the difference between HER rate and the rate at the alternate accommodation when she had to cancel a rez. The original is on the hook for the change in rate and the guest went to the deluxe. That is just one example. Just sayin'.
 

Generic

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I'm using the AirBnB API. My rates on both end up exactly the same.
The rates that AirBnB displays in Canada only hide the tax, they include the fees and cleaning. The rates that AirBnB displays in Europe hide nothing. In both cases, that is to comply with laws on hidden pricing. AirBnB actually lost a big court case in Canada about their fees.
It means that I'm at a disadvantage pricing-wise if someone looks from the USA. But not elsewhere. And as of the 1st of July, AirBnB is going to be forced to collect ALL taxes for everyone in Canada. Gov't has to find new taxes to cover the deficit caused by COVID.
 

JimBoone

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This thread is right on time for me. Too crazy with start-up stuff to set up Booking.com or Air links to ThinkReservations when we first bought our Inn so have only been doing direct booking. Now that we’re down to our last weekend before closing for the winter (with only two guests thanks to Covid), I’ll finally have time to set all this up. What you all are saying makes sense. Sounds like I will want to follow in your footsteps.
I take Gillum's view and suggest not using the OTA's. I like the freedom of doing things my way. Yes, it's a quick fix for adding total guests, but all that baggage comes with the plan. Total revenue isn't profit, my view, you are going to pay that commission plus the cleaning or other costs on the additional rooms rented. I'd rather spend on promoting myself and give the guest a better deal and a reason to return, maybe it is a bit slower, but I and my guests seem happy.
 

InnDeep

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If you have occupancy records from previous years, you may want to look back to see when you don’t need to use any OTA’s. Weekends, usually. Events. Don’t be afraid to see how high the rates go at the hotels in your area. (Around here the rates can go from $79 in the off season to $400+ in peak season. At the same hotel.)

Don’t cheat yourself. If everyone does minimum stays, don’t be the one place offering single nights, you’ll make yourself crazy for less money. One place I love near me has a 7 night minimum in peak season. At over $400/night. Obviously, I can only afford to stay there in the dead of winter!
I’ll definitely do this. Thank you all so much for the guidance you are offering. Booking.com makes it seem like you HAVE to use them or you’re just dumb. I can see that there are more strategic ways of handling the OTA’s. Perhaps it’s good I was so busy initially and didn’t get signed on right away, lock, stock & barrel!
 

Morticia

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The big problem with OTA’s is they use your business name in their advertising and they always pay to show up first. Repeat guests will use an OTA listing because it’s at the top. You are then paying a commission on a guest you already have a relationship with. (We’ve managed to talk initial OTA guests into booking direct for subsequent stays. That’s a plus.)

Second problem is trying to leave an OTA. You have to threaten them in order to get them to remove your name from their advertising even after you have closed your account with them.

Airbnb buys every reference to a search for ‘b&b.’ They show up at the top for every search.

You can’t compete with that kind of money.

So, build up your guest list and keep in touch with them thru newsletters, social media, things other than your website.
 
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