OTA Recommendations?

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MikeMontana

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Hi all,
I was wondering if there are any OTAs that you recommend? We used boo-ing.com for one season, and received two fake bookings and one cancellation, so we stopped using that service. I'm tempted to sign up with ex-edia.com, but was wondering what you all think?
Is there one that you actually like?
Thanks!
Mike
 

Morticia

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I don't think any of them are 'liked' so much as just used for what we can get out of them.
Some things to consider, if you haven't already:
  • Booking has the worst reputation for exactly what you experienced. So, require a non-refundable rate, take the money immediately, if the card is bad report it immediately.
  • Some folks seem to be having very good results using TripAdvisor trip connect.
  • Airbnb has the lowest commission for the property.
  • Expedia has its own set of problems and you don't get enough guest info to try to sort it out on your own.
 

Generic

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We take a non-refundable deposit, so we stopped most of the nonsense with BK. If the card is refused, that's one thing.... if it's bad or fraud, I cancel the reservation... they didn't live up to their side of the bargain.
For me, in most cases, X pays me via virtual CC, so I get little fraud that way.
 

Highlands John

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We use Air because the commission is low and Trip Connect because we're only paying for click throughs for dates we have available.
All the others charge too much IMHO.
We know a similar business that's very dependent on Booo..com, they're no busier than us Easter - Oct, they get quite a few more bookings in the winter but all they're doing is earning extra money in the winter to re-coup some of their commission charges in the summer. I'm sure if they spent half what they pay in commission charges on Google Adwords instead they could be top of page 1 and do as much business.
 

GoodScout

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We're kind of weird because we use all of them. We see them as a way to get customers who normally might not stumble across our website, and then convert them into direct-bookers on future stays. Some of our philosophies and thoughts on individual OTAs:
Pricing - Never sell on the OTA for less than you do on your website. You're supposed to offer your best rate to them, but most property management systems (ResNexus, Think, etc) have a mechanism for you to add an extra percentage or $ amount to the OTA.
Information - These people are prospects. Get every piece of information you can from them, either before they arrive or at check-in. Get them on your newsletter mailing list. Make sure they only use an OTA once to visit you.
Exped - The most complicated of the OTAs to deal with. They have their own platform (ExpediaPartnerDirect) for you to manage your listing with, and you can get lost on it for days. You need to keep an eye on them, because sometimes you'll see your rate discounted without your knowledge and you have to be a sleuth to figure out why and fix it.
Book - Popular with foreign travels. We're right on the Canadian border, so we get lots of Canadian guests through this OTA. As you noted, they have a reputation for fake/cancelled reservations. They actually encourage this on their website and marketing materials. Set an aggressive cancellation policy and demand 100% payment up front. You'll get less bookings from them, but they'll all be good.
Air- Aside from the issue of competing with non-licensed neighbors, this is the cheapest in terms of commission. You need to be on this site. That said, you'll get far fewer bookings than you think, because the majority of customers are seeking the lowest price. If you're a low-price provider, you'll do great.
VRBO- Most visitors for this site are seeking whole-house rentals. If you have cabins or large suites this is a good fit.
BedandBreakfast.com - Used to be a good listing site. Now just a branch of Expedia.
TripAdvisor - We've had good success with their TripConnect program, where you pay only for those who click through to your website's booking page. I'd say try it for a few months and see. You can always cancel. Helps your presence on their search page despite what they say.
Cloudbeds (MyAllocator) has a good article on their blog on selecting which OTAs you should partner with, if any. Take into account their business is integrating OTAs with B&Bs, so they may have a bias to encourage it.
 

Hillbilly

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Well for the first time I'm seriously considering listing with some OTA's. I hate to do it but business has really been a lot slower this year. We need to try and figure out if this is the issue. We are also in the process of building a new website. So we will see what happens. If you had to pick one of the OTA's to start with, what would be your suggestion?
 

Generic

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Well for the first time I'm seriously considering listing with some OTA's. I hate to do it but business has really been a lot slower this year. We need to try and figure out if this is the issue. We are also in the process of building a new website. So we will see what happens. If you had to pick one of the OTA's to start with, what would be your suggestion?.
I get a lot more business from X than from B, but with either, make it clear that there is a non-refundable deposit to cut down on the BS.
 

Anon Inn

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Well for the first time I'm seriously considering listing with some OTA's. I hate to do it but business has really been a lot slower this year. We need to try and figure out if this is the issue. We are also in the process of building a new website. So we will see what happens. If you had to pick one of the OTA's to start with, what would be your suggestion?.
Due to advice here we're now on Tr. Connect. It has certainly expanded our web presence. I suspect its the majority source of direct bookings from new guests. Easy on the pocketbook too.
 

Hillbilly

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I’m in the contract stage with Expedia. They want 18%. I thought I read we get 15% if we are with Bed and B reak . Co m?
 

Generic

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I’m in the contract stage with Expedia. They want 18%. I thought I read we get 15% if we are with Bed and B reak . Co m?.
It's a pretty standard rate, but they will drop it down if you guarantee them at least one room for the year.... no blackouts. We won't.... we make too much in the summer, so they are often blacked out :)
 

Anon Inn

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I’m in the contract stage with Expedia. They want 18%. I thought I read we get 15% if we are with Bed and B reak . Co m?.
Hi Hillbilly: After reading Generic's warning I hope you have a good grasp of what to do if you find Exp has misrepresented your prices. I'd like to add that Google Business is gaining ground in importance for us. I think it will soon take the place TA used to have as far as driving bookings.
Best wishes.
 

Morticia

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I’m in the contract stage with Expedia. They want 18%. I thought I read we get 15% if we are with Bed and B reak . Co m?.
It's a pretty standard rate, but they will drop it down if you guarantee them at least one room for the year.... no blackouts. We won't.... we make too much in the summer, so they are often blacked out :)
.
Generic said:
It's a pretty standard rate, but they will drop it down if you guarantee them at least one room for the year.... no blackouts. We won't.... we make too much in the summer, so they are often blacked out :)
How the heck can you guarantee one room if you're full? Do they not get the concept that hotels fill up?
 

Morticia

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I’m in the contract stage with Expedia. They want 18%. I thought I read we get 15% if we are with Bed and B reak . Co m?.
Hi Hillbilly: After reading Generic's warning I hope you have a good grasp of what to do if you find Exp has misrepresented your prices. I'd like to add that Google Business is gaining ground in importance for us. I think it will soon take the place TA used to have as far as driving bookings.
Best wishes.
.
How do you find Google business is making things better? I thought they were basically hiding you if they weren't making any money on clicks and reservations.
 

Anon Inn

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I’m in the contract stage with Expedia. They want 18%. I thought I read we get 15% if we are with Bed and B reak . Co m?.
Hi Hillbilly: After reading Generic's warning I hope you have a good grasp of what to do if you find Exp has misrepresented your prices. I'd like to add that Google Business is gaining ground in importance for us. I think it will soon take the place TA used to have as far as driving bookings.
Best wishes.
.
How do you find Google business is making things better? I thought they were basically hiding you if they weren't making any money on clicks and reservations.
.
Several recent guests have specifically mentioned google reviews as the reason they chose us, so we know we’re turning up in searches for our area.
 

McQuade72

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The Inn we purchased started ThinkReservations this year which blasts it out to most OTA's and has really increased the volume. I take about 13% out to budget paying for them. That is 13 % of my total as we also have our own website.
 

Generic

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I’m in the contract stage with Expedia. They want 18%. I thought I read we get 15% if we are with Bed and B reak . Co m?.
It's a pretty standard rate, but they will drop it down if you guarantee them at least one room for the year.... no blackouts. We won't.... we make too much in the summer, so they are often blacked out :)
.
Generic said:
It's a pretty standard rate, but they will drop it down if you guarantee them at least one room for the year.... no blackouts. We won't.... we make too much in the summer, so they are often blacked out :)
How the heck can you guarantee one room if you're full? Do they not get the concept that hotels fill up?
.
That isn't what they mean. Let's say that you have rooms A through G, you guarantee that you will open room G for them with no black-outs for the whole year. If you sell it, or they sell it, it's fine. But it's open for them with absolutely no blackouts. It doesn't affect rooms A through F, which you can blackout for holidays, etc.
I only book 180 days in advance, so I would have to open that room for them, even though I'm not taking direct reservations 365 days in advance. I use other tricks that are allowed... like not having the same terms on their reservations that I have on mine.
 
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