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.
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
Believe me, this inn has been in business for many years, and is very professional. Does a lot of weddings and functions. Yes, his fax number is current!!!! This guy is not a beginner.
This happened when the whole area was booked solid. And there are enough others that have experienced this that I don't ever want to get involved with them.
Egoodell, I can understand your reasonings and I am not out to try to convience you to do something that you do not want to do. If what happened with your friend had happened to me I would be feeling the same & sharing my strong feelings too.
I do however, want you to understand that in your firend's case it was most likely not because of GDS, it was some other factor, most likely the reservation system they were using OR a scam.
Okay, just to see as we may not be talking about the same systems, this happened to a B&B friend of ours who has been in business for a very long time and are very experienced.
They were with Hotels.com and Expedia set up STRICTLY for week days as their weekends book fine on their own. (these companies claim the beauty of these systems is that you can dictate when and how many rooms are available)
To the innkeepers' shock they had a couple show up on their doorstep wtih Expedia confirmations when the entire town was booked. The inn was never sent any information on the people, and when the innkeepers contacted Expedia they could have cared less. Had the innkeepers been sent the confirmations from Expedia (they had been sent confirmations for all other bookings but this one) the innkeeper could have nipped this in the bud.
I don't think they are part of the system anymore.
This is not the only case that I have heard about this kind of problem. While I love online booking, I prefer to be in control, thank you very much. I've already had one couple at my doorstep to check in when they never had a confirmation.
And yes, I have it all over the website and the booking form that an inquiry is not a reservation. I also emailed this fellow within 10 minutes that we were booked. He simply told me he saw us online, filled out the form, and left the house to pick up his girlfriend and drive up here. Never read or checked anything.
Not saying I don't believe you but something doesn't smell right ... Expedia has a special vendor relatoins dept so I cannot understand that they "could not have cared less"
something is broke somewhere in the pipe. I was formerly the Intl operations manager for lastminute.com at HQ in London - this happened occassionally but "ongoing issues" and "not caring" surprise me with someone like Expedia -did they speak with their account manager?
Were they contracted with Expedia directly or did they feed through to Expedia from another travel site??
I don't know, and don't care really. I know it happened to more than one inn I know.
All I know is that several have told us that when the vendor dept is called they were of no use. And nothing can be done anyway when they send you people and the whole town is booked. What could anyone do??? All they did was insist they did not make a mistake. That really helped the innkeeper.
I just feel that working and trusting big companies like Expedia is like trusting the airlines that you will reach your destination at the time noted on your reservation ticket.
I will not trust my little B&B to a giant like that. The other thing I don't like about those companies is that they all push the "get the room for a big discount" .
I am looking for those who want a getaway to the wine country, not those looking for a deal. I am offering a high standard of service, and don't want to be included with Hotels.com (Chicken! Bid lower! Now you're talking! Offer $99 for a $200 room!)
I do understand if you are not a destination location or have a lot of compeition that they might work. I do know some who use them for weekdays.
Riki, You bring up a lot of issues in this post that are misconceptions about the overall function of GDS. This is NOT to get you to change your mind about using, that is a choice each of us has to make individually. I just want the information about GDS to be clear for you and any innkeeper that reads this thread.
When you use a CRS they place your information into the GDS for TA systems such as Sabre, Amadeus, Galileo and Worldspan. They also place your information into IDS, if you want, where Travelocity and other internet based RS get their information. Note: you can choose not to have your info fed into the IDS so you will only show on systems by inidividual TA's and not directly to the public.
Some of the IDS have special requirements to have your property listed on their site. Some require the hotel or B&B to offer a 'guaranteed lowest rate' price others do not. There are also a few that let the user bid on tickets or rooms but the hotels and airlines HAVE to agree to this first. My B&B is either not listed or not listed with that guarantee beside my rate as I do not discount my rooms when I am going to pay a comm. Expedia & hotels.com have a signed agreement with B&B.com so they only take B&B's that go through B&B.com, my CRS can not get me listed on those sites.
You mentioned in a previous post not being in control of your reservations if you use GDS. But I beg to differ with you - it is up to YOU to add or remove rooms you have available. Very much like Webervations or any other reservation software except it is broadcast out to other systems while Webervations is not (unless your B&B Assoc uses it). GDS just offers a different portal to place your avaibility on with the only difference being that the reservation is then automatically a guaranteed reservation.
Glitches can happen whether they are human -data entry or computer generated. When you mentioned your friends problem you did not mention how long ago this happened. Gee, before B&B.com had their exclusive with Expedia, Lanier had it. Before that I believe they pulled B&B's data just like the hotels - through IDS. Years ago, I used Worldres to place info in the GDS/IDS and way back then I was listed with Expedia & hotels. I recall once getting a reservation through Expedia and needing assistance to which the matter was resolved quickly.
Clearly this is not for everyone and for those of us that use it we may use it in certain ways, i.e. weekdays only, last minute bookings (last week or so). I just know it has really helped my 'business traveler' business. For expample, I received a booking through GDS for 1 room, 3 nights the first week of Sept. That person was so happy, he then booked 2 rooms for 3 weeks in Sept., then the same for October. That has been extended to 5 weeks and 1 additional room for the last 3 weeks. This same company has now contracted with me for 2 rooms through the end of the year. This has also led the German based local office* that our guests are here to work for, to know about my B&B and they have made a committment to recommend us to all their future business associates. So that 1 reservation with a 16% commission has led me to thousands of dollars worth of future stays without the commission. *This local office is a MAJOR German based internationally known company with 100's of business visitors each year.
Last, I do not get a large number of guests through the GDS, but the example above indicates that it has led to great things - this one being the best so far. For those individuals traveling on pleasure that book through my GDS affiliation, I can only say nice things about them - no PITAs so far.