Owner responses to reviews

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Flower

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We are being courted by Boo k ing com & wonder what your experience has been with this OTA.
They tell a slick story about how you are in control but their “sign on now” pressure is a bit much.
One of the features we were surprised to see was their reviews & how this gives you a ranking.
When we talked to them, they said they contact each guest after their stay & ask for a review. And this results in a score for your property. When we looked at a few samples while they were visiting us, we noticed that there were not many owner responses for good or even bad reviews. We asked them about this & they told us that an owner can only respond if the guests authorizes them.
We find that to be a real show stopper; guests can write a review & the owner is not allowed to respond.
Boo k ing com claims that this is in keeping with their “international rules” where some countries do not allow responses. Boo k ing com originated in Holland & it still is a major HQ for them. They claim that it is necessary to abide by European law.
I find this hard to believe as TA works internationally & it allows responses.
They are working in our country & obviously it is allowed here as everyone else allows responses.
What has been you experience? Is this the law in your country? Or do you think it is only company policy shrouded under the guise of “International Law”?
 

Breakfast Diva

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I considered using them, but didn't want them to use my b&b name for their PPC. When discussed on here quite some time ago, Cambs said that she negotiated with them and they turned off that feature for her. When they approached me about joining, I brought this up to them and after he checked with the higher ups, I was told that it was impossible for us. For that reason alone, I am not going to join. I don't want to pay a commission for guests who have googled my b&bs name and I would have captured them as a guest without a commission.
There is a small b&b in my region who has called me 2 times in the last month asking if I had available rooms, because book dot com over booked them. If you have a small place and have no other rooms to offer them in case of an overbooking it's a chance you take. That's a deal breaker for me though. I overbooked just once in 14 years and it was horrible and I had bad reviews all over the internet from it.
 

CafeMae

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I use booking. We started out building our own B&B in a small town a couple years, and it was great for bringing in reservations. On the downside, they bring in the guests we have the most issues with (not always our target guest type, expecting more hotel like experience, try to get more out of you). But it brings in money.
I don't really have a problem with NOT being able to respond to reviews- but it was something that concerned me too. Some you read and feel are unfair, but others are glowing. Booking highlights positive comment on the front page for your web page, and lists positive reviews first, under reviews, so if you have several reviews, you have to dig for negative ones. I also had an issue with one particular review that had some untrue stuff in it, so I emailed booking, and they removed the review.
Booking sends the email to customers about 3 days after they check out. Anytime you kick a guest out or refuse to check them in -as has happened to us only with booking customers - 4 times over the past year (bringing a dog, bringing 2 extra people, bringing a baby - and expecting us to provide a crib, and refusing to pay), you can mark them as a No Show regardless of whether you charge them or not, and they are not given the opportunity to review your place. (This method was suggested to me by booking after the pet incident)
As we are located internationally, we have guests from many different countries visit and review us, and their expectations are very different from each other and we are not always a good fit. We find our french and polish guests don't really like us that much, russians and s. americans are hit or miss, while our northern european / US and canadian guests do enjoy us. What I like is that they first show the reviews in the language of the browser first - so those french and polish reviews are buried for the guests that we like to have (those that like us).
As for not allowing responses to reviews because of international stuff - I think the excuse is just an excuse. But remember this is the same policy for every lodging, and you see many more negative reviews across the board than you would on trip advisor.
 

Highlands John

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We tried them for a while, but found they did not increase our occupancy off peak as we had hoped. they just took rooms that we could have sold ourselves, so we lost out.
I never felt in control when I was with them, that was my biggest objection.
We're in the EU and can leave responses on ta, and I know uk B&BS that leave responses on bdt, so that sounds like a nonsense to me.
 

April

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We tried them for almost one year. They did not increase our bookings in slower period and we have no problem with booking during high season. So why give them the commission? When we got business listing with TA clients were confused-they would click on b.com thinking they are dealing with us directly. We cancelled b.com last fall and this season was our best ever so far.
 

EmptyNest

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We tried them for almost one year. They did not increase our bookings in slower period and we have no problem with booking during high season. So why give them the commission? When we got business listing with TA clients were confused-they would click on b.com thinking they are dealing with us directly. We cancelled b.com last fall and this season was our best ever so far..
courted?that seems rather strange to me. they just want your money! how is your availability? if good why throw your money away on them..sorry just my personal opinion. i know others use them, but i never had any use for them
 

Joey Camb

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one of the big problems we have - we use a channel manager but it is for others is the situation as outlined below
They do auto replenish ie if a room cancels they automatically put it straight back on for you - sounds good? not always as it does the same thing if there is a modification as well.
ie neighbour had a booking for room only - changed it through b o oking.c om to bed and breakfast - this made the same room reappear online which then rebooked almost immediately- she rang them to which they admitted they were responsible and found and alternative - guest agreed alternative which then became another "modification" and re-opened the room yet again which then again resold - back to square one.
neighbour with only 5 rooms which are all very different was nearly tearing her hair out.
It is not a problem for me as my channel manager would slam this shut as soon as it opened - but its a massive deal for a lot of people and can't be turned off.
 

TheBeachHouse

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We get fully half our bookings through them. I think that may be changing, but they saved our first year.
I figure since it is commission, I only pay for what I get - but it's a steep commission. Still, I make more than zero dollars.
 

Madeleine

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So far it really hasn't been an issue. I've never had to complain about a bad review so I'm not sure what they would do about a review where the guest lied.
Most guests don't bother to review.
I've gotten maybe 15 reviews in 2 years.
There are things I'd like to ask the guests, like why they gave such low marks for service but everything else was grand.
I'd like to know how the questions are phrased. The questions are based on hotels so maybe the service piece is about things we don't have.
 

Madeleine

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I considered using them, but didn't want them to use my b&b name for their PPC. When discussed on here quite some time ago, Cambs said that she negotiated with them and they turned off that feature for her. When they approached me about joining, I brought this up to them and after he checked with the higher ups, I was told that it was impossible for us. For that reason alone, I am not going to join. I don't want to pay a commission for guests who have googled my b&bs name and I would have captured them as a guest without a commission.
There is a small b&b in my region who has called me 2 times in the last month asking if I had available rooms, because book dot com over booked them. If you have a small place and have no other rooms to offer them in case of an overbooking it's a chance you take. That's a deal breaker for me though. I overbooked just once in 14 years and it was horrible and I had bad reviews all over the internet from it..
We've had a couple of places ask us to take their overbooked guests. Booking can't give rooms away that the inn hasn't authorized them to sell.
It's problematic for a small property to keep up with the multiple calendars.
We only authorize 1 room at a time. This month they've sent us about 20 room nights which is the most ever.
 

Joey Camb

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I considered using them, but didn't want them to use my b&b name for their PPC. When discussed on here quite some time ago, Cambs said that she negotiated with them and they turned off that feature for her. When they approached me about joining, I brought this up to them and after he checked with the higher ups, I was told that it was impossible for us. For that reason alone, I am not going to join. I don't want to pay a commission for guests who have googled my b&bs name and I would have captured them as a guest without a commission.
There is a small b&b in my region who has called me 2 times in the last month asking if I had available rooms, because book dot com over booked them. If you have a small place and have no other rooms to offer them in case of an overbooking it's a chance you take. That's a deal breaker for me though. I overbooked just once in 14 years and it was horrible and I had bad reviews all over the internet from it..
We've had a couple of places ask us to take their overbooked guests. Booking can't give rooms away that the inn hasn't authorized them to sell.
It's problematic for a small property to keep up with the multiple calendars.
We only authorize 1 room at a time. This month they've sent us about 20 room nights which is the most ever.
.
actually due to their new auto replenish and modification glitches they can and do - did it to my neighbour twice in one day by making the same mistake twice. (see other thread)
 

Madeleine

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We get fully half our bookings through them. I think that may be changing, but they saved our first year.
I figure since it is commission, I only pay for what I get - but it's a steep commission. Still, I make more than zero dollars..
I think for the smaller properties they have the best commission. We can't negotiate lower rates or open up more rooms to get lower rates.
 

Madeleine

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We get fully half our bookings through them. I think that may be changing, but they saved our first year.
I figure since it is commission, I only pay for what I get - but it's a steep commission. Still, I make more than zero dollars..
I think for the smaller properties they have the best commission. We can't negotiate lower rates or open up more rooms to get lower rates.
 

egoodell

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The only thing I heard that is awful is that if you decide to quit their program they leave your property up saying that there is no availability. This leads people to think you are booked. It has taken some people ages to get them to remove the property after they leave.
 

Arks

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The only thing I heard that is awful is that if you decide to quit their program they leave your property up saying that there is no availability. This leads people to think you are booked. It has taken some people ages to get them to remove the property after they leave..
egoodell said:
The only thing I heard that is awful is that if you decide to quit their program they leave your property up saying that there is no availability.
Welcome to the Hotel Book'in. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
 

Stu

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The only thing I heard that is awful is that if you decide to quit their program they leave your property up saying that there is no availability. This leads people to think you are booked. It has taken some people ages to get them to remove the property after they leave..
egoodell said:
The only thing I heard that is awful is that if you decide to quit their program they leave your property up saying that there is no availability.
Welcome to the Hotel Book'in. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
.
Great song.
 

Stu

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We opened in April and have used b.com ever since and they have provided us with about 70% of our reservations. We are able to reply to guests comments here in Spain. For all the money in the world I cannot use their extranet, but we do everything using our reservation manager whose software is much more user friendly. There commission is high but for us to advertise it would probably cost us much more and it is never guaranteed. We will definately keep using them, however in the future we may not make all our rooms available to them.
 
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