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The Andiron

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Apologies if I'm posting in the wrong place.
When we purchased our inn last May, the previous owner used Hotwire frequently to sell unsold rooms at last minute prices. Since we didn't know what we were doing, we simply continued.
Today, a guest (upon checking out, of course) was upset that she had paid Hotwire $129 per night for a room that, on our web site, sells for $99. We were paid the $99 per night by Hotwire and given a name - that's it. We don't know how much the guest is paying, we have no contact info, nothing. Also, Hotwire's listing says that we have a tennis court and a golf course. Ha ha ha ha ha....we have neither.
Now, I'm one to leave no stone unturned to fill our rooms...but this is ridiculous. We immediately zeroed out our inventory available on Hotwire and have pretty much decided to discontinue using it - 1 or 2 rooms a month from them just isn't worth it.
Do other inns use Hotwire? If so, have you had this experience? Any thoughts on making Hotwire work for you?
Many thanks.
 

Morticia

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We've never used any kind of GDS for booking guests mostly because of stories such as this. But, if this is the first problem you have had, it might be too early to stop using them. Perhaps contacting Hotwire first off to get the amenities straightened out and then only listing a certain number of rooms might be the way to go.
It stinks (as a guest) to find out you could have gotten the room cheaper by going directly to the property, but that's a chance they take. You have to ensure the rooms are sold and that you get a 'living wage' from them.
Curious why the guest would look up prices AFTER booking and AFTER staying and then complain at checkout about it? Did she think you would give her a refund of the difference.
Interesting how that played out. She paid $129, you got $99 and the rooms were $99 anyway.
 

The Andiron

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Oh, it's not the first problem. Just the most egregious (and the guest was unhappy). And definitely not worth the pita factor for two rooms a month at most (maybe 2% of rooms sold).
As for the advertised rate being lower than theirs - it isn't. It's the same or a dollar or two more.
But, my other question was whether or not it's typical for inns to use Hotwire (so far...not typical).
thanks!
 

Innkeeper To Go

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I'm with Morticia on this one. Talk to Hotwire first before freezing the bookings that like look a really good deal for you.
I'd be concerned, though, that Hotwire might take issue with your advertised rate being lower than theirs. Generally their contract will require that you sell rooms through them at your lowest advertised rate. So if it were me, I'd definitely take a look at the contract, figure out how you can update your info, and then determine whether or not you want to continue this.
Many inns don't like giving a portion of their room revenue over to booking sites. But for inns who want or need to stay full, they can really help you do that. If, that is, you're able to live with their terms.
First thing is figuring out just what those terms are.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Oh, it's not the first problem. Just the most egregious (and the guest was unhappy). And definitely not worth the pita factor for two rooms a month at most (maybe 2% of rooms sold).
As for the advertised rate being lower than theirs - it isn't. It's the same or a dollar or two more.
But, my other question was whether or not it's typical for inns to use Hotwire (so far...not typical).
thanks!.
The Andiron said:
And definitely not worth the pita factor for two rooms a month at most (maybe 2% of rooms sold).
Really only you can decide what's worth it for you. But I would consider first whether or not you would have sold those 2 rooms a month otherwise. And what impact losing that revenue would have on your inn. What does that 2% of revenue cover that you'd be losing?
If it's a PITA to you, it's probably not worth it. But there are a lot of innkeepers who'd be very happy right now to get an extra 2 room nights sold each month. I think if it were me, I wouldn't let 1 grumpy guest change my marketing strategy. But that's just me.
I'd probably instead try to get that guest to book directly through me next time and avoid the hassle. I might offer him some incentive to do that, like offering a free upgrade next time to help ease his bruised sense of his own bargaining power. If the guest doesn't ever book in the future, no loss. If the guest does book directly through you, everyone wins.
But I'd also remember that this is a guest that you might not have ever gotten otherwise.
 
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