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@Adam Williams thank you so much for the detailed information. I really appreciate as technologies like this are quite new to me - I am still contemplating whether to get a channel manager even though I now have 4 apartments and a 5-room guesthouse lol ;) I can see this working especially with the guest house with self check-in, where guests seem to be most bothered by the fact that there is no reception - even though I am available 24/7 by phone or in person if required.
@Paul Chawton I notice that mostly the good review scores are shown when searching the properties, so maybe it is a booking.com strategy to display properties in the best possible light? (or maybe this is just wishful thinking on my side lol, but I do believe that booking.com's main aim is to drive sales to properties (and ultimately themselves) although more inclined to protect guests. Yes I have also noticed that property's responses to reviews are not immediately visible, and you need to click on them to read them, which I guess many do not.
Definitely agree with all that is being said above. Anonymous reviews should not be allowed (booking.com can always make only booking number or other generic details visible to others to protect their privacy as others suggested) and definitely allow the property to always be able to reply to the review.
May I add another suggestion, I think it is high time that booking.com distinguish listings of small, private properties and guest houses, from that of big hotels, even with regards to review metrics available - why should I be reviewed on 'Staff' when my self-catering apartment is not staffed? I am always in contact with my guests and ready to help with anything or solve any issues, so when I get low scores on Staff its only because there is no reception desk at the property (they even write it as a negative comment sometimes so am quite sure about this). It should actually be clearly displayed on all listings whether there is reception or not, so that guests can opt out of booking accommodations that only offer remote (albeit more personal) support. Another metric I find misleading for smaller properties is 'Facilities' which I suspect some guests understand as being restaurants, spas, gym, and other facilities available only in hotels.
@Adam Williams may I ask what kind of check - in software you use, and if it helps you identify any issues in time to be able to rectify any problems and make your guests happy ? I always ask if everything is OK on their arrival but they will not always say if anything is bothering them.