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agoodman

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Seeing the question about GDS systems, thought I would share the following .. (excuse the rambling)
You may think WHY get on a GDS?? Although if you are using Bedandbreakfast.com (or similar) online res, you also feed down (unless its changed) to Expedia, hotels.com etc. I am in a little town and did not even think that there was that much business travel (I now have more business than leisure travels, incl incl Sundays.
I was trying to find out where people from Weyhaeuser (a big paper mill) stay. Huge company. No one could help me. Finally had a guest from them stay with me and tell me they have a travel dept. Like most big co's the traveling execs have to book through their travel dept or their own booking system - the availability in this booking system is fed by GDS systems which were developed by the airlines (Apollo, Amadeus, Galileo, Worldspan etc). Spoke with their travel dept, in order to book me I have to be on GDS sigh. Reason: corp spending, rates, budgets etc are all tracked via these corp travel depts.
Tried calling those GDS companies. Hah. They don't even deal directly with hotels unless you are a major chain. Then I found a little company that would set me up. Cost, around $500 I think, plus $50/mos. + /booking comm. Geez, don;t know if I can spend more on res systems.
Then Weyerhaeuser tells me they booked 800 (um yes EIGHT HUNDRED) room nights in the area in 2007. Area being nothing around me cause there is not much so they were booking them in places 23-30 miles from the plant. Get working with this little company, easy system, best of all if you don't currently have a booking engine (like resnexxus, webervations etc, they can give you one for no additional cost (again this may have changed.)
I already have resnexxus, so I would have to close out my avail each time I got a GDS res. No biggie. First few months, no resas, then my first res comes through and it's not even Weyerhaeuser, but another company in the area that I did not know about.
Weyerhaeuser travelers used to stay at a much more expensive place, I have a contracted rate with their travel dept, guests pay directly and most are more than one night, generally 3-5 nights and now they stay here. Guests love not having to drive the 23+ miles, and they tell me that my meals are just as good as the "Retreat" they used to stay at.. I have probably had 60 room nights from them. That does not count the 100+ nights the cottage is booked by an affiliate company of Weyerhaeuser, and they booked directly with me so no comm to pay.
GDS also feed down to the online travel sites, so I no longer have my inventory on bedandbreakfast.com.
So although you may not have a Weyerhaeuser in your area, you may have other people coming in using their company travel depts. The contact details for the company I used are below, they are one of the only ones that I found that work with "us little guys".
Julie Gonzales-McCleskey
Southern Regional Sales Manager
InnLink, LLC
130 Maple Drive North
Hendersonville, TN 37075
ph. 800.525.4658
fx. 615.535.8770
julie.gonzales@innlink.com
www.innlink.com
 

Morticia

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We have InnLink here (not me persoanlly, but the state assoc has them listed as a vendor). We had one B&B here who listed with them. I think the commission was killing them, given they were only getting one nighters who were looking for hotel rooms. They were not getting the long-term stays or business guests whose companies they could contact. I think they paid something like $16/room night booked in commissions and then whatever the monthly fee was.
You got into a good deal with the local company.
 

agoodman

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We have InnLink here (not me persoanlly, but the state assoc has them listed as a vendor). We had one B&B here who listed with them. I think the commission was killing them, given they were only getting one nighters who were looking for hotel rooms. They were not getting the long-term stays or business guests whose companies they could contact. I think they paid something like $16/room night booked in commissions and then whatever the monthly fee was.
You got into a good deal with the local company..
Hmm I have never had an $18 fee on a single res, although I am not disputing your word on that! :)
My resas to date have certainly paid for my set up costs, even if there are some months that I never get one booking.
 

Morticia

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We have InnLink here (not me persoanlly, but the state assoc has them listed as a vendor). We had one B&B here who listed with them. I think the commission was killing them, given they were only getting one nighters who were looking for hotel rooms. They were not getting the long-term stays or business guests whose companies they could contact. I think they paid something like $16/room night booked in commissions and then whatever the monthly fee was.
You got into a good deal with the local company..
Hmm I have never had an $18 fee on a single res, although I am not disputing your word on that! :)
My resas to date have certainly paid for my set up costs, even if there are some months that I never get one booking.
.
agoodman1963 said:
Hmm I have never had an $18 fee on a single res, although I am not disputing your word on that! :)
My resas to date have certainly paid for my set up costs, even if there are some months that I never get one booking.
She was being hit with a 9% booking fee so it adds up when you're charging $180+. Then, when she went to cancel, they said she'd be billed a $1000 termination fee. I just went to the site but they don't list the fees they charge (at least not that I can find).
I know she originally set up with them for the exposure on the big booking sites, but she was finding that the guests she was getting just weren't interested in the 'homey' atmosphere. Or the ones who booked thru the site would then call and want more info, etc, so she ended up paying out the booking fee and then getting them calling for discounts, etc.
We have been getting more business travelers in the off season each year. The last was a guy who found us on his own (and I know that doesn't happen too often) and said he was getting tired of the hotel scene. He was friendly, ate alone and seemed perfectly content to do his own thing, but just didn't want the crowds at the hotel. We have one guy who comes back 3-4 times/year and another who comes for a week-long stay when he covers his territory here in Maine.
They're few and far between, tho.
I'd like a few more biz travelers. They're mostly quiet and tidy! And they leave early in the morning.
 

agoodman

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I agree, it may work for some, may not work for others. I have not seen anything about a ternination fee but of course my set up fees would be wasted.
I gave up bbonline about a year ago - I was getting hardly any traffic from them compared to other sites, such as b&B.com, or the free sampling program from iloveinns.com which practically paid my membership, even if my bookings were low. When I spoke with bbonline and expressed my concerns, they did not even make any attempt to keep me (funny, it would not have cost them anything, I was already on their site). They could have offered a discounted rate for one year, so I could have watched it for another year, but ah well, each to his own. I would rather put my limited budget to places I know my money is working.
 

Morticia

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I agree, it may work for some, may not work for others. I have not seen anything about a ternination fee but of course my set up fees would be wasted.
I gave up bbonline about a year ago - I was getting hardly any traffic from them compared to other sites, such as b&B.com, or the free sampling program from iloveinns.com which practically paid my membership, even if my bookings were low. When I spoke with bbonline and expressed my concerns, they did not even make any attempt to keep me (funny, it would not have cost them anything, I was already on their site). They could have offered a discounted rate for one year, so I could have watched it for another year, but ah well, each to his own. I would rather put my limited budget to places I know my money is working..
How did the free sampling program practically pay your membership on iloveinns?
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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BBONLINE is my #1 referrer and BandB.com comes up anywhere from 12-15th.
Iloveinns does not come up well for me yet. I will see how this year turns out.
 

agoodman

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Well, the first year I got a senseo coffee machine and probably 100 bags of coffee (they are almost $4/bag in the stores). The next year (or maybe it was the same year) I got full size boxes of post select cereals ..... I think 4 cases of the stuff, and then last year it was the smaller (inidividual) serving sizes, as well as a gift bag w/2 boxes of cereal, a recipe and a coupon)
I also got little sample size boxes of Olay at some point.
Also, I love the books which I have personalized that have the BOGO cert in them. Since the markup is about $10/book this also helps pay the membership.
How many requests do you get for prizes / comps / donations etc? Cause these books are great to give instead of an actual gift cert, it also means you don't have the liability on your books of a gift certificate. It also costs a lot less! Just a thought!
 

Morticia

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Well, the first year I got a senseo coffee machine and probably 100 bags of coffee (they are almost $4/bag in the stores). The next year (or maybe it was the same year) I got full size boxes of post select cereals ..... I think 4 cases of the stuff, and then last year it was the smaller (inidividual) serving sizes, as well as a gift bag w/2 boxes of cereal, a recipe and a coupon)
I also got little sample size boxes of Olay at some point.
Also, I love the books which I have personalized that have the BOGO cert in them. Since the markup is about $10/book this also helps pay the membership.
How many requests do you get for prizes / comps / donations etc? Cause these books are great to give instead of an actual gift cert, it also means you don't have the liability on your books of a gift certificate. It also costs a lot less! Just a thought!.
Yeah, I think the coffee machine would have been the best one. We missed that offer. We got the small cereals, which BTW, hubs JUST finished eating today. They are well out of date. The Oil of Olay samples are in a box on my desk ready to be mailed to my SIL who loves them. They went really quickly at first but now, no takers at all.
I was going to re up but the form is so 'legal'. If I sign up then anyone who owns this inn into perpetuity is signed up. I can't see doing that to someone who may not want this obligation. If they got rid of some of the legalese I'd sign up again. Or maybe that's the BOGO program. Or both? Now I don't remember. I have the BOGO form right here and that one says the inn is signed up forever. (Unless I give 90 days' notice prior to the next term beginning.)
 

agoodman

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LOL I found the most wonderful cereal muffin recipe so thats what all the expired boxes went to!!
I would check with them regarding a change of ownership, I am sure if you notify them ahead of time they would accommdate you.
The BOGO program, feature on the website and the book are all separate, but you would need to have the basic membership to take advantage of the other stuff. If, like bbonline, they are completely iunflexible, well then I guess they would lose an Inn!!
 

JBloggs

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As part and parcel to owning my own business I do not wish to relegate any control over my bookings to a third party. I work hard here to maintain control and provide exceptional service. Too many hands in the pot.
 

agoodman

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Hmm not sure if I follow you about handing over control - unless you don't currently have any other online res system either, in which case all your resas are controlled manually.
Otherwise, to me it's no different than any guest being able to book thru my regular online booking system.
(Unless maybe I did not explain something correctly in my original post?)
 

Morticia

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Hmm not sure if I follow you about handing over control - unless you don't currently have any other online res system either, in which case all your resas are controlled manually.
Otherwise, to me it's no different than any guest being able to book thru my regular online booking system.
(Unless maybe I did not explain something correctly in my original post?)
.
agoodman1963 said:
Hmm not sure if I follow you about handing over control - unless you don't currently have any other online res system either, in which case all your resas are controlled manually.
Otherwise, to me it's no different than any guest being able to book thru my regular online booking system.
(Unless maybe I did not explain something correctly in my original post?)
I think you probably missed a few on here complaining about having guests show up at the door, confirmation in hand, saying they booked thru Expedia or Orbitz or whatever and the innkeeper was NEVER told there was a booking. Especially unnerving was that in a couple of cases, the particular inns had never signed up for those programs.
Of course, it immediately sounds like a scam because the guest shows a confirm that states they've paid, the innkeeper has no reservation on the books and the folks at Expedia are less than helpful when you call with a complaint.
I think reading about those situations is what scares some off. A few inns here in town list with Expedia, et al and they do not get any info about the guests in advance. No way to contact them, to verify how many in the party, etc. If your GDS gives you all the info you need, then yours is set up better than what some have experienced.
 

agoodman

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ah yes, now I see. The GDS preceeded the online travel sites by many many years, and in the beginning a lot of places were having people showing up with confirmations and they had never seen the resas. In many (not all, not all) this was so new, hotels were not checking their faxes / emails etc and oops when they came in on Monday there were all the resas for the guests that had arrived on the weekend and no one could trace their resas. Also, many hotels forgot to close out their inventory on the travel sites when they were full and / or did not want any more rooms through that channel.
It really has got a lot better and you can go GDS without going online travel site.
 

egoodell

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Hmm not sure if I follow you about handing over control - unless you don't currently have any other online res system either, in which case all your resas are controlled manually.
Otherwise, to me it's no different than any guest being able to book thru my regular online booking system.
(Unless maybe I did not explain something correctly in my original post?)
.
agoodman1963 said:
Hmm not sure if I follow you about handing over control - unless you don't currently have any other online res system either, in which case all your resas are controlled manually.
Otherwise, to me it's no different than any guest being able to book thru my regular online booking system.
(Unless maybe I did not explain something correctly in my original post?)
I think you probably missed a few on here complaining about having guests show up at the door, confirmation in hand, saying they booked thru Expedia or Orbitz or whatever and the innkeeper was NEVER told there was a booking. Especially unnerving was that in a couple of cases, the particular inns had never signed up for those programs.
Of course, it immediately sounds like a scam because the guest shows a confirm that states they've paid, the innkeeper has no reservation on the books and the folks at Expedia are less than helpful when you call with a complaint.
I think reading about those situations is what scares some off. A few inns here in town list with Expedia, et al and they do not get any info about the guests in advance. No way to contact them, to verify how many in the party, etc. If your GDS gives you all the info you need, then yours is set up better than what some have experienced.
.
And I k now of an inn that had this happen to them twice. And at the time they were booked and there were no other rooms in town. So guess what? They got a bad writeup on TripAdvisor. And the write up blamed the B&B not the online reservation company, whichever one it was. And they said getting hold of anyone to try and figure out what happened or how to fix it was impossible.
Riki
 

Samster

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Hmm not sure if I follow you about handing over control - unless you don't currently have any other online res system either, in which case all your resas are controlled manually.
Otherwise, to me it's no different than any guest being able to book thru my regular online booking system.
(Unless maybe I did not explain something correctly in my original post?)
.
agoodman1963 said:
Hmm not sure if I follow you about handing over control - unless you don't currently have any other online res system either, in which case all your resas are controlled manually.
Otherwise, to me it's no different than any guest being able to book thru my regular online booking system.
(Unless maybe I did not explain something correctly in my original post?)
I think you probably missed a few on here complaining about having guests show up at the door, confirmation in hand, saying they booked thru Expedia or Orbitz or whatever and the innkeeper was NEVER told there was a booking. Especially unnerving was that in a couple of cases, the particular inns had never signed up for those programs.
Of course, it immediately sounds like a scam because the guest shows a confirm that states they've paid, the innkeeper has no reservation on the books and the folks at Expedia are less than helpful when you call with a complaint.
I think reading about those situations is what scares some off. A few inns here in town list with Expedia, et al and they do not get any info about the guests in advance. No way to contact them, to verify how many in the party, etc. If your GDS gives you all the info you need, then yours is set up better than what some have experienced.
.
And I k now of an inn that had this happen to them twice. And at the time they were booked and there were no other rooms in town. So guess what? They got a bad writeup on TripAdvisor. And the write up blamed the B&B not the online reservation company, whichever one it was. And they said getting hold of anyone to try and figure out what happened or how to fix it was impossible.
Riki
.
I recently had guests from another inn who had booked that way. Same problem...
 

Copperhead

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I am on GDS and have had no problems in the last 6 years. (knocking on wood as I write this). I many years gone by there were problems, glitches in the system. Now I think that when something happens, most likely it IS the hotel/B&Bs fault by not keeping up with their reservations and overbooked! (Most hotels do anyway, banking on odds that some will cancel).
As far as contact information, this can be obtained! If the person reserved through a TA, the TA's contact info is provided instead of the guest's info. Contact the TA, provide the Rsv #, etc. and they will give you the persons contact information. The form calls for the # of people in the party. Some people just try to slip in additional guests thinking no one would know - as in big hotels.
As we have discussed on other threads, online reservations are good for some, not good for others. It does take constant supervision. It does take a chunk from your room rate but it can create some great repeat guests too.
The group I use for GDS is international. There were NO set up fees or monthly fees and I can quit any time! I place as many rooms as I want, no commitment. I can increase the room rate to cover some of the overhead, make it where there is a minimum nights stay, even though I do not when booking directly, or remove from inventory. I can use it to sell last few days only or keep a full year online. I pay $5 per reservation, plus 7% to our Res. System. You can choose to accept TA reservations or not, but if you do then you will pay up to 10% TA commissions on top.
To some this is steep, but I do get quite a few business reservations through this service. Once they have been here, they call directly for repeat stays so I use it as additional media coverage. I am not listed on hotels as I think B&B.com has them on exclusive and their rate is at 30% commission which at this point is too steep for me. Anyway I am mostly listed on GDS to get more business travelers! Business travelers are EZ!
 

egoodell

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I am on GDS and have had no problems in the last 6 years. (knocking on wood as I write this). I many years gone by there were problems, glitches in the system. Now I think that when something happens, most likely it IS the hotel/B&Bs fault by not keeping up with their reservations and overbooked! (Most hotels do anyway, banking on odds that some will cancel).
As far as contact information, this can be obtained! If the person reserved through a TA, the TA's contact info is provided instead of the guest's info. Contact the TA, provide the Rsv #, etc. and they will give you the persons contact information. The form calls for the # of people in the party. Some people just try to slip in additional guests thinking no one would know - as in big hotels.
As we have discussed on other threads, online reservations are good for some, not good for others. It does take constant supervision. It does take a chunk from your room rate but it can create some great repeat guests too.
The group I use for GDS is international. There were NO set up fees or monthly fees and I can quit any time! I place as many rooms as I want, no commitment. I can increase the room rate to cover some of the overhead, make it where there is a minimum nights stay, even though I do not when booking directly, or remove from inventory. I can use it to sell last few days only or keep a full year online. I pay $5 per reservation, plus 7% to our Res. System. You can choose to accept TA reservations or not, but if you do then you will pay up to 10% TA commissions on top.
To some this is steep, but I do get quite a few business reservations through this service. Once they have been here, they call directly for repeat stays so I use it as additional media coverage. I am not listed on hotels as I think B&B.com has them on exclusive and their rate is at 30% commission which at this point is too steep for me. Anyway I am mostly listed on GDS to get more business travelers! Business travelers are EZ!.
My friend who had the people show up is on top of all his reservations. He was never sent any information on the people who showed up.
RIki
 

Copperhead

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I am on GDS and have had no problems in the last 6 years. (knocking on wood as I write this). I many years gone by there were problems, glitches in the system. Now I think that when something happens, most likely it IS the hotel/B&Bs fault by not keeping up with their reservations and overbooked! (Most hotels do anyway, banking on odds that some will cancel).
As far as contact information, this can be obtained! If the person reserved through a TA, the TA's contact info is provided instead of the guest's info. Contact the TA, provide the Rsv #, etc. and they will give you the persons contact information. The form calls for the # of people in the party. Some people just try to slip in additional guests thinking no one would know - as in big hotels.
As we have discussed on other threads, online reservations are good for some, not good for others. It does take constant supervision. It does take a chunk from your room rate but it can create some great repeat guests too.
The group I use for GDS is international. There were NO set up fees or monthly fees and I can quit any time! I place as many rooms as I want, no commitment. I can increase the room rate to cover some of the overhead, make it where there is a minimum nights stay, even though I do not when booking directly, or remove from inventory. I can use it to sell last few days only or keep a full year online. I pay $5 per reservation, plus 7% to our Res. System. You can choose to accept TA reservations or not, but if you do then you will pay up to 10% TA commissions on top.
To some this is steep, but I do get quite a few business reservations through this service. Once they have been here, they call directly for repeat stays so I use it as additional media coverage. I am not listed on hotels as I think B&B.com has them on exclusive and their rate is at 30% commission which at this point is too steep for me. Anyway I am mostly listed on GDS to get more business travelers! Business travelers are EZ!.
My friend who had the people show up is on top of all his reservations. He was never sent any information on the people who showed up.
RIki
.
Then the problem lies with his reservation interface provider. The way it works with the provider I use is that I receive an email providing name, type of room and dates of stay, I then go to my secure system to find all the remaining information. Since I must keep this system up to date, removing any and all rooms booked through other means, I update this system 1-2 times each day. When I do, I also double check under the reservation link to make sure a reservation did not slip through the cracks, so far (4 years) so good with this provider.
All systems have kinks from time to time as I have heard (thru some boards) of a few with even our trusted Webervations. If it was not the interface provider then it had to be a scam of some sort.
 

agoodman

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I am on GDS and have had no problems in the last 6 years. (knocking on wood as I write this). I many years gone by there were problems, glitches in the system. Now I think that when something happens, most likely it IS the hotel/B&Bs fault by not keeping up with their reservations and overbooked! (Most hotels do anyway, banking on odds that some will cancel).
As far as contact information, this can be obtained! If the person reserved through a TA, the TA's contact info is provided instead of the guest's info. Contact the TA, provide the Rsv #, etc. and they will give you the persons contact information. The form calls for the # of people in the party. Some people just try to slip in additional guests thinking no one would know - as in big hotels.
As we have discussed on other threads, online reservations are good for some, not good for others. It does take constant supervision. It does take a chunk from your room rate but it can create some great repeat guests too.
The group I use for GDS is international. There were NO set up fees or monthly fees and I can quit any time! I place as many rooms as I want, no commitment. I can increase the room rate to cover some of the overhead, make it where there is a minimum nights stay, even though I do not when booking directly, or remove from inventory. I can use it to sell last few days only or keep a full year online. I pay $5 per reservation, plus 7% to our Res. System. You can choose to accept TA reservations or not, but if you do then you will pay up to 10% TA commissions on top.
To some this is steep, but I do get quite a few business reservations through this service. Once they have been here, they call directly for repeat stays so I use it as additional media coverage. I am not listed on hotels as I think B&B.com has them on exclusive and their rate is at 30% commission which at this point is too steep for me. Anyway I am mostly listed on GDS to get more business travelers! Business travelers are EZ!.
My friend who had the people show up is on top of all his reservations. He was never sent any information on the people who showed up.
RIki
.
I agree with Copperhead, somewhere there is a breakdown of communication - is your friend's fax number / email address current with whomever is sending the reservations? Where in fact are they originating from?
I too have never (as an Inn) had an issue with CRS / GDS / travel site reservations. Very occassionally when I worked with hotels or hotel corp offices. Nipped those in the bud after the first time it happened by finding the reason for the occurances
 

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