New TripAdvisor policies?

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CSMaine

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After doing a search on our property yesterday, I found us listed on several websites and OTA's that we are not partnered with. I get it for the one we do partner with (Xpdia) has many affiliates, but the other major OTA is listing us (Bking) and then connecting to the affiliates of the one we do. Also, found several sites that have pulled info, pics, and posts from our website and FB page. Some of them I never knew about or are new. I contacted one and they replied there is no account for the email I sent the inquiry from. Not sure what that means or has to do with asking why we are on their site. We did put ourselves on a two state tourism sites and one other listing, but none of them have the same pics, info, etc.
 

gillumhouse

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And how do you do it. I think I want to cancel it.
 

CSMaine

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And how do you do it. I think I want to cancel it.
For the TA T&C, I think I inadvertently accepted it trying to bypass it. I can't find any way to email them other than a list of concerns that aren't related. I found a general phone number 781-800-5000 for TA on a press release. I haven't tried it yet.
 

gillumhouse

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For the TA T&C, I think I inadvertently accepted it trying to bypass it. I can't find any way to email them other than a list of concerns that aren't related. I found a general phone number 781-800-5000 for TA on a press release. I haven't tried it yet.
I mean Trip Connect
 

scottcrumpton

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Sorry for the length, lots to cover...

This is all very new (of course) and I'm still reviewing it on behalf of our clients. My guess is that TripAdvisor is trying to become more like Google, Expedia, and Booking.com whereby they have all your information on their site so that people don't have to leave their site and will make a booking right there and then. Essentially, they're becoming more of an OTA and less of a directory in order to compete with the other OTAs. Whether you decide to get in the cage with the former 900lb gorilla and feed it bananas is up to you ;)

If you think about it for a minute it's easy to understand their motivation especially from the perspective of the potential guest as everything they need is right there at their fingertips. Directories are the old way of doing things on the internet where a website sold you listings, asked you to create your own description, upload your photos, etc. and then they sold you a link to your website.

Google killed the directory model over a decade ago as they wanted to be THE directory for the web which is one of the main reasons BedandBreakfast.com is no more and you don't see B&B directories at the top of your Google Analytics reports. The directory model is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! There are some exceptions to this but they're very niche and even Select Registry has been hurting because of this for over a decade now. For reference, I created one of the first online B&B Directories and we saw the writing on the wall and shut it down forever ago when we saw the direction Google was going. If someone has a listing with a national directory that is bringing you tons of revenue (actual revenue, not just traffic) I'd love to hear about it as all my data says none of them are rocking it.

Regarding Photo Copyright Usage...
We had a client years ago receive a demand for payment from Getty Images for a photo used on their website. The photo was of a fountain on their property shot by a photographer they paid to shoot the inn. After looking into the issue we found that many photographers own the copyright to the images they shoot even if you've paid for them. In fact, what the innkeeper usually has is a usage agreement to use the photos in their marketing. I have no idea if these agreements allow you to transfer those rights to another entity but I'm guessing they do. In this case, the photographer hadn't granted them usage rights and had sold the images to Getty so they actually had a valid claim. The issue was cleared up when the photographer granted them usage rights but what a weird issue to have no rights to a photo on your property you paid to have taken! Note: this was NOT one of the main photographers in our industry which is why I ALWAYS recommend you use one of them. Here's my shortlist of recommended photographers:

For what it's worth...

Scott


...
 

Morticia

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I mean Trip Connect
If you want to cancel trip connect, go in and set the date you want your prices to show to tomorrow. Your pricing will stop showing, and you’ll stop being charged within two weeks. Or so they say. I don’t think you can remove your credit card info, I don’t think it will save that change. I think I tried that last year.
 

CSMaine

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Sorry for the length, lots to cover...

This is all very new (of course) and I'm still reviewing it on behalf of our clients. My guess is that TripAdvisor is trying to become more like Google, Expedia, and Booking.com whereby they have all your information on their site so that people don't have to leave their site and will make a booking right there and then. Essentially, they're becoming more of an OTA and less of a directory in order to compete with the other OTAs. Whether you decide to get in the cage with the former 900lb gorilla and feed it bananas is up to you ;)

If you think about it for a minute it's easy to understand their motivation especially from the perspective of the potential guest as everything they need is right there at their fingertips. Directories are the old way of doing things on the internet where a website sold you listings, asked you to create your own description, upload your photos, etc. and then they sold you a link to your website.

Google killed the directory model over a decade ago as they wanted to be THE directory for the web which is one of the main reasons BedandBreakfast.com is no more and you don't see B&B directories at the top of your Google Analytics reports. The directory model is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! There are some exceptions to this but they're very niche and even Select Registry has been hurting because of this for over a decade now. For reference, I created one of the first online B&B Directories and we saw the writing on the wall and shut it down forever ago when we saw the direction Google was going. If someone has a listing with a national directory that is bringing you tons of revenue (actual revenue, not just traffic) I'd love to hear about it as all my data says none of them are rocking it.

Regarding Photo Copyright Usage...
We had a client years ago receive a demand for payment from Getty Images for a photo used on their website. The photo was of a fountain on their property shot by a photographer they paid to shoot the inn. After looking into the issue we found that many photographers own the copyright to the images they shoot even if you've paid for them. In fact, what the innkeeper usually has is a usage agreement to use the photos in their marketing. I have no idea if these agreements allow you to transfer those rights to another entity but I'm guessing they do. In this case, the photographer hadn't granted them usage rights and had sold the images to Getty so they actually had a valid claim. The issue was cleared up when the photographer granted them usage rights but what a weird issue to have no rights to a photo on your property you paid to have taken! Note: this was NOT one of the main photographers in our industry which is why I ALWAYS recommend you use one of them. Here's my shortlist of recommended photographers:

For what it's worth...

Scott


...
Thanks for the comments and insight. With the TA concern / change, I found a few other sites where our property is listed without our agreement. One is owned by a major OTA that we do not use, others seem to be independent and pull from our website, or from the one OTA we do use, and one is pulling from our FB page. All are recent it seems as I do searches on the property periodically. Exposure might be good, but it makes it more difficult to get the direct booking as well as trying to manage the info that is out there.
 

gillumhouse

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If you want to cancel trip connect, go in and set the date you want your prices to show to tomorrow. Your pricing will stop showing, and you’ll stop being charged within two weeks. Or so they say. I don’t think you can remove your credit card info, I don’t think it will save that change. I think I tried that last year.
I finally got in but the only editing I was able to do was with my Budget and end date. I ended up with ending the current by setting a new campaign that was to run for 2-days, the only option given. I hope it works. Ended the @00 budget to $20. Cross fingers it works. It brought me nothing. (Thankfully it only used $20.22 of the previous budget.
 

Arks

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TripConnect bills me $25 to $40/month, so somebody is clicking my listing, but it may be TA staffers [eyeroll].

When people answer my reservation page question on how they found us, they NEVER mention TA. Usually mention Google.

I logged into TA and went to "My Business". It immediately asked me to agree to new terms. I clicked X to proceed without agreeing and, as others mentioned, set my TripConnect campaign to end in 2 days, the minimum it will allow. I'll be happy to spend that ~$35/month on something more fruitful.
 
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Morticia

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@Arks Our TC bill is running around $1-2/month at this point. I think one month it was 60 cents!
 

Momma Smurf

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TripConnect bills me $25 to $40/month, so somebody is clicking my listing, but it may be TA staffers [eyeroll].

When people answer my reservation page question on how they found us, they NEVER mention TA. Usually mention Google.
Reservation Key allows one to easily make separate pages for any referral, so Trip Connect connects to my specific RK Trip page, therefore I can easily track where reservations come from and who they are by using the RK Activities tab>Availability Search. Like Morticia, my bills are under $5 nowadays, but when they do hit $30 in normal times, I can see thousands of $$$ of referrals via TC.
 

Arks

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Reservation Key allows one to easily make separate pages for any referral...
Yes, I have that. I get a lot of clicks from the TA page, but I have to scroll back months to find one that actually booked from TA. Almost all my booking are from my own website, and other places, like the state parks & tourism site, chamber of commerce, etc.

I don't know why so many people click from TA, but don't book from there. That's why I get suspicious of bots doing the clicks!
 
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Momma Smurf

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What usually ends up happening for us, is that you can see the initial search came from Trip Connect via the IP address. However, yes, folks usually end up on our website and book from there instead using that IP. Do you have a link to your website on your Trip Connect RK page? I have 3 that direct them to our site for more info: Header, Text, Footer.
 

MRA

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Could it be that by going direct to our websites they do not have to create & maintain their own version of ours, so less work for them, less transcribing mistakes, and any changes we make are instantly done on their site. Maybe they can fire personnel because no longer needed as they automate/synch their site with ours; is it read access only or back door to eventual write access; they make their site look so much like ours, guests don't realize they aren't booking direct; legality of copying our sites......
 

GoodScout

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I copyright every page of my website, so third-parties I don't have agreements with can be sent a DMDA takedown request should they try and use my intellectual property to siphon off business. Unfortunately, if you have an agreement with OTAs or TA, it looks like you've surrendered your right to control your intellectual property.
 

MRA

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Yes, I have that. I get a lot of clicks from the TA page, but I have to scroll back months to find one that actually booked from TA. Almost all my booking are from my own website, and other places, like the state parks & tourism site, chamber of commerce, etc.

I don't know why so many people click from TA, but don't book from there. That's why I get suspicious of bots doing the clicks!
Could it be that folks are getting smart and using TA and Google just to find properties, but now know to book direct?
 

dumitru

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Could it be that folks are getting smart and using TA and Google just to find properties, but now know to book direct?
TA and Booking are great discovery tools, a lot better than Google or other methods.
I'm sure OTAs know that their time is coming to an end, once a better discovery tool emerges.
 

GoodScout

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We're certainly spreading the word. This card goes into the gift coffee mug of every guest who books from a third party:
BookDirectCard copy.jpg
 

Silverspoon

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Keep in mind you can't 'drop them.' Even if you no longer pay them, your listing is still out there.

(I'm only pointing this out for newbies who think you can 'opt out' of having your property show up on TA.)
And if you quit with them they start showing your property as "Having no vacancies" so the unsuspecting think you are full and never bother to find your website. That is exactly why we never advertised on TA. Our listing says "contact accommodation" which is fine with me!
 
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