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What are your experiences with promotions in relation to the reviews you get?

Hi,

We are trying to get more guests during low season and used overtime some promotions.

The strange thing is that guests using a promotion rate us far lower than guests that pay the full price.  For example, I do not understand why we score a 7.5 on value for money when people received a discount, up to 50%, and our average score on value for money is 9.5. We do not treat guests with a discount different.

Is it just bad luck that they score us lower or do you have the same experience with discounts? 

Regards.

Le Moulin Malin

50 Replies

2
newhaus.io

It isn't really a bad luck, but simply a different group. $100 means different things to different people. So you should evaluate the "price elasticity of demand" and see how price sensitive is your target audience. It sounds that you're attracting a different audience to whom the discounted price is at their highest point, and therefore they have different expectations. Just my thoughts...

We (newhaus.io) recommend using dynamic price software that adjusts the price automatically depending on the season and availability of your calendar, among several other factors.

8 months ago
3
cassid

In my first year, I did all the promotions, it was only when I saw my earnings at the end of the month, when it would not cover my mortgage, I knew it had to change.We were getting 10/10 but nothing to show for it.

So I had to rethink, I don't offer any specials now except genius, because like yourself, you discount the room and it is never enough for some people, I understand that the value of money varies.

I have cut out the free breakfast and extra discounts and am still getting booked, but I will offer an extra day promotion as it costs little in terms of work and money, I think its better than reducing the overall rate.

Make sure you use other platforms as well, take into consideration what you pay for commission.

8 months ago
2
Maarten

@newhaus.io Thanks for your comment. I never heard of 'price elasticity of demand' but it makes sense. One of the complaints was that our evening meal was to expensive while most of our guest recommend, in the reviews, other guests to eat at our place because they think it is an excellent homemade meal. We had other guests having diner the same night and they wrote on airbnb that the meal was perfect and loved it. For us it is very disappointing to get a review that is completly off compared to the other reviews. After some thought. we think our 'standard' price attracts the customers who like our style and appreciatie it and visit our accomodation because the want to stay in our place and the discount guest only stay with us because we are the cheapest, highest rated accomodation in the area.

@cassid, we decided to stop offering discounts. The price we are charging is a good price and like I said the reviews of guests using discounts are very disappointing for us, I think newhous.io is right, the discounted price attracts different guest who do not like the style we offer.

8 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Newhouse.io has a point about discounted prices. If you think your prices are competitive you should stick to them even though you have fewer bookings.

8 months ago
6
Bandara Hotels…

Well value for money score is not only about your room rate. It also about hotel quality, room condition, service quality etc. It actually overall experience that they fell it worst for money that they spend or not.

8 months ago
2
Maarten

@Bandara Hotels & Resorts I agree that it is the overal experience that they rate with value for money. But that does not answer the question why they rate the property far lower than the guests that pay the full price.

Like I said before they got the same treatment, same food and attention as our other guests that night. The others gave us a very good review on airbnb. It could have been a bad day for us but this review is telling us that the service was up to standard.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

The person who works understands another person, who works.
The person who doesn't work doesn't understand the person who works.

Low value for money in reality means hey look how much I paid and you didn't treat me as the president or didn't provide me the palace with personal butler and erotic show :)

The person who works, earns understands the other person's (host) efforts, even he is the one who is paying. That's why he is thankful and gives 10 score.

And the one with low score is low score person himself. His complaints and self-important negative reviews are never ending.

Low class verses high class. That's it

8 months ago
7
fluff

Well, Katerinka12 has said it like it is. Really cannot disagree with that.

The bad reviews we have had have all been from pay peanuts and expect 5star+. (we are a budget style place).

8 months ago
2
Adagio Accommo…

Eternal dilemma but only one conclusion.
NO PROMOTIONS at all. They bring only problems, lower your price below break even point and mostly ruin your score.

8 months ago
2
Mcdanielhugh

These remarks mirror my experience, the discount guests seem to score lower then full price ones in the same rooms, not in every instance but it is a noticeable trend. I've settled on ONLY following the Genius program and holding my price even if a week looks sparsely booked. Its my experience that the Genius Guest have been filtered somehow and do not follow the trend to mark down. Regular travellers on the program are more likely to need to return at some point in the future, and it's not in their interest to leave a poor score and limit their accommodation options!

8 months ago
3
Weigelt

Discounts are tricky. Should you give a discount to teachers, to old people, to military, to ??? I hate the thought of judging people. Many will ask. I simply say "We try to keep our rates as low as possible and still make a reasonable profit."

8 months ago
3
Weigelt

Discounts are tricky. Should you give a discount to teachers, to old people, to military, to ??? I hate the thought of judging people. Many will ask. I simply say "We try to keep our rates as low as possible and still make a reasonable profit."

8 months ago
2
Jonathan

Discounting can indicate or give the impression that your business is doing it tough. I think promotions like 'last minute' and 'low season' specials have a purpose that guests can identify with. Price slashing during the holiday periods can attract bargain hunters... which may or may not be suitable for the type of accommodation you are running. J

8 months ago
3
Weigelt

The best way to get a good rating is to be really, really, really nice to your guests. Be as helpful and friendly as you can be, even with those who are rude. I don't think there's much correlation between discounts and ratings.

8 months ago
3
Weigelt

The best way to get a good rating is to be really, really, really nice to your guests. Be as helpful and friendly as you can be, even with those who are rude. I don't think there's much correlation between discounts and ratings.

8 months ago
2
Aitsa Nicoline

Hi Mcdanielhugh,

It really is SO difficult! I personally have found that it doesnt really matter whether

my guests visited with or without a discount. My reviews are mostly rated 10.

I have had a few eg 8.8 even a 4.5 in the past, but decided to ignore it as they obviously

were just trying to be narsty for some reason? as my apartement always looks the same.

I also, before they enter ask them to look through and tell me whether they are happy with

what they see. If they would say no, i would defenately tell them to find another place and

give them their money back.

Hope this is a satisfactory answer

Regards

8 months ago
2
Aitsa Nicoline

Weigeld,

No, i dont give bigger discounts to anyone. If they called me personally and did not

book via Booking.com, yes then i might come down a little depending on my price for

that season, but otherwise No

Regards

8 months ago
2
Aitsa Nicoline

Jonathan,

I agree, but high season, i dont give any specials. They must pay the price or leave it, as at

this stage, over Christmas/New Year people book a year in advance, so no discount. I for instance,

already have a booking for some dates in 2019

Regards

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"The best way to get a good rating is to be really, really, really nice to your guests. Be as helpful and friendly as you can be, even with those who are rude."

That's the thing! In my experience the rude person never gave us bad rating.
The bad reviews and ratings do not come from rude guests, because at the end of the stay they calm down (thanks to nice host). Also the bad reviews do not come from complaining guests. That's due to allowing you to fix the problem as soon as possible and also because they satisfied their need to complain.

The bad reviews come from the most smiling people on earth. Who never told you about any problem During their stay. They pretend to be busy successful businessmen, but somehow the booking didn't come from their secretary. The communication is short and super polite (ala go to hell, dear Angel). And no, they will never come out to drink beer with you as guests do with Joey...

So, the sign of drinking beer alone... Means the bad review is coming :)

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"It was because I have learned to ignore rudeness and feel superior inside when I respond to rudeness with kindness."

They have realized that you are highly spiritual person and their gift was amazing gesture.

Let this kind of experience serve us all as inspiration.

8 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Katerinka12 I absolutely agree with you when you give kindness it returns to you in double. So don’t worry be happy. Thank you again for inspiring us all.

8 months ago
3
Thomas (Austria)

What i experienced is: the longer the guests stay, the better the ratings they give.

It must have to do with a closer relation between the guest and the owner. They know the place, the surroundings, maybe the familymembers or the staff better and so they may feel as a little a part of the house/family.

As Joey wrote. Go with them for a beer and your rating is surely higher.

As we and our colleagues in the area have 95% overnighters we are scored from 7.5 to 8.5.
Among these houses are some 4 star hotels which offer low rates, good service and nice rooms but short stayers leave the lower ratings then 1 or 2 week stayers.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"His reason was that when I took him out IN MY OWN FREE TIME"

That's why I have been trying to make it a point to create a charge for it. Like tours, programs, additional services... That should be paid. Then they will understand. If you still wish to provide it for free, at least guests will understand that this is a Bonus. Not what expected for free and what gives them all freedom to complain about.

Another big problem is host staying in the same property with guests. I once had a guest, who is a Superhost from Madrid Spain. We booked my property just because I am Superhost on Airbnb. He wanted to see how Superhosts are doing in other countries. We exchanged some experiences. And I could remember how he changed his face while saying: "Staying in one place is Not Good Idea".

Somehow guests believe if host is near he just must, must and must. And for free...

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"Recently I had two Chinese who booked then wanted to bring first one child, then it became two, then it became three. I had offered them an airport shuttle. They insisted they wanted a limousine."

What actually happened? How many people were on reservation? How many adults and kids on reservation? Why did they ask you for any kind of transportation? Is it something that goes with Booking? Limousine I can't understand at all

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

I am posting the template of Booking on what they send on Negative Review:

Dear Partner,

Thank you for working with Booking.com.

Booking.com posts as many guest reviews as possible to make sure that potential customers can get a realistic picture of the property. In our experience, displaying a mix of positive and negative comments adds credibility to your review set; publishing only positive reviews could seem suspicious and discourage customers from booking.

Comments are removed only if they go against our policies, namely:

• Contain profanity, sexually explicit or violent content, hate speech, discrimination, or threats
• Mention full names (first + last names), or include personal attacks relating to named personnel
• Promote illegal activities (e.g. drugs, prostitution)
• Contain content that is exclusively about a competitor and/or Booking.com, with no relation to travel
• Mention websites by name, include emails and/or addresses, phone numbers, credit card details
• Contain politically sensitive content

We understand that you’ve received a review that might be displeasing, but this review simply reflects the guest’s own subjective experience. Remember that reviews older than 24 months will be removed from the system automatically in order to focus on more recent experiences and evaluations.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

We recently had a guest, who brought 5 people with him (6 people in total), but reservation was for 3 only. Being rude and getting mad at my staff, he was demanding for 2nd unit for free. Also he was upset at the world, complaining from transportation (free airconditioned comfortable bus) to "miserable" country.

When I found out that my staff allowed him to check in, I was disappointed. I warned my staff long time ago, that if the guest is rude at them, do not accept the guest and I will solve all problems with Booking myself.

I already knew that this guest will create more problems and negative review will follow. Instead of enjoying his time in the evening, he bombed me with demands to return the money! Yes, he was sending me messages asking for full refund while enjoying staying in 1 bedroom unit. He made sure not to deprive himself from sleep and not answering to my messages.

That's the thing! If the guest threathens you, calls you names, etc in personal messages, Booking doesn't care! Needless to say how negative the review was...containing demand to return him money.

I do however think it's our mistake. My staff allowed him in during these few hours of my sleep. If only I was awake, this guest will not step into my property.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Joey,

Why did you allow more guests rather than in reservation?
What free things did they ask for? Are those "free" things described in Booking listing or as House rules in your house?
As for child age, Booking clearly identies child age. You can set any age or age group of children and then ask for their ID to match

8 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

How about a recent guest who told me he never drinks coffee in fact hates it.....I offer Nesspresso 10 types ,or French filter or instant.So he wanted tea, again many types he asked for normal breakfast tea was happy and drank same tea any time over 4 day stay......imagine my shock when in the review he marked coffee....8.7 !!!!!! Why do that bringing marks down.....I can not respond and will never let him book again .....do some people just use reviews as a power play?

8 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Joey children do have to be on their parents passports which I always copy.....I need to know who is in the house and babies and toddlers would not be a fit in mine.They also create more mess and cleaning ( they are humans who put sticky hands on walls etc...)

8 months ago
7
fluff

We take copies of all passports or I.D. cards. We actually have to by law here, as we are expected to report to immigration all foreign guests. The I.D. cards of indigenous guests are copied as well. As we've had the odd problem in the past. We also take the original from non-paying, temporary visitors of guests, we return them when they leave. No I.D., no entry.

This policy has been a savior on several occasions, the worst involving the police, the person had run off after causing a major ruckus and damage but we still had the I.D. so the police rounded them up PDQ.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

We had such mistake before thinking that overseas costs will be more expensive than allowing an "extra" to check in. Wrong. The extra is more expensive. I have sent a request to Booking to clarify on what background we can resist the guest to check in.

I am surprised that young kids do not have an ID. Philippines is ID oriented country. Birth certificate then?

We can't protect ourselves from "tea turned to coffee" reviews and Napoleon sick people. I do believe however we can protect ourselves from:
1) adults ala children
2) extra people than in reservation
3) free extras that should be paid
4) rude behavior, treating staff like slaves
5) you can continue...

And going back to the topic. The promotion itself is not a problem. The problem is Low Price. As Booking is pushing to give a low price by the means of promotion (such as Cyber Deal 40% discount). So, in such case the promotion indirectly influence the bad review. As person, who pays peanuts and expecting Royal treatment, has tendency to complain and complain and complain...

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

In many countries hotel asking an ID is a must. Moreover, there is a penalty for not doing that and serious consequences. I send every guest in welcome message: "Kindly bring the xerox copy of your passport". Also many hotels specify ID is a must in their Fine Print.

8 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Joey my point was the guest never drank the coffee he is allergic to it.and therefore should have made no comment and as everything else was 10 I don’t get it So in his case he made it up?

On the issue of photo ID I have been with ABB for many years, and Booking about 2 I don’t let them put their case in the room until I have copied ID as when police or fire department come they need to know exactly who is in the building.....a property,in our street burnt down and rooms were let out illegally to students......the owner had no IDs .....when third parties turn up which I noticed more and more now ,you really need to have that. A recent guy with a Russian name turned out to be transgender , initially I thought it was a lady friend of original guest, but she went to a nearby clinic that does gender reassignment !!!!

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Normally the country should ask for hotel owners to register the clients ID. Any crime could happen or fire or something that is dangerous or illegal. If hotel owners will not ask for IDs then all pedophiles will be hiding at your place, where you and your family live! It is your best interest in first place to protect your family from possible harm.

Somehow I never saw a negative review saying that host asked for ID...

As I can see on site of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Spain interior.gob.es it is mandatory to ask for ID.

8 months ago
7
fluff

As a total aside, it always amused me that Spain's government (gobierno) sites have the unfortunate "gob." where English equivalent would be gov.
Gob is of course English slang for mouth and gobby is slang for someone who runs their mouth off. Therefore, gobby-erno seems so appropriate for a government/political site.
😉

8 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Joey ,data protection laws apply here in England too but as we are hoteliers and all hotels in UK require government ID I keep mine locked in a safe place for the police when they need it.

We have a CBR checks here on all staff which is required and asked for in schools homes etc....no one can get a job with vulnerable people or children etc etc without that certificate updated.Obviously it’s not going to show people who have not been caught but since so many people with evil intentions stay in short term rentals I’m not at all averse to declining anyone who won’t show their passport.

And to answer your question no I have had much worse happen but was staying with the general topic......so fake news has now turned to fake reviews.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"Katerinka. I don't quite follow your logic how looking at ID will tell me if a guest is a criminal."

Its not for you looking at ID. Its for the guest to know that the owner of the place looked at their ID. They will act differently and more responsible when property at least looked at their ID.

" Unfortunately I don't have a global list of criminals and the ' best' criminal are those who are not caught."

Very true. Amazingly true, I would say and I learned through blood and tears. However, it shouldn't be used as excuse to check an ID of our guests. That's at least for protection from 90% of so-so criminals.

" BTW - thank you about the information about Spain. I'll keep it in mind if I visit." Sorry, Joey. I know that Basque people hate Spain. However, please forgive me on the law side, I was trying to make it a point that checking with your local authorities are Beneficial to you.

" But joking apart - I am going to ask a lawyer friend about this - as now I am curious. New EU data regulations have placed strict regulations on the collection and of processing of personal data."

Please, make it clear to your lawyer that you are not going to keep the passport or any kind of government ID with you. After all, it belongs to the government, not an ID carrier. Ask your lawyer for this:
1) as hotel owner, can I just look at my guest's ID?
2) am I allowed to take xerox copy of my guest's ID

8 months ago
3
Mr Spence

Sorry to post here, but can anyone tell me where would I post and most importantly HOW, the following message?

I held a Genius Account for my PRIVATE Travel Bookings and recently Booking.com sent me an Email to JOIN Their Business Club which was the next level up from my Genius Program and I was told that Discounts for Business users could be anything as high as 50% off Room Rates

So I went searching for these bargain prices and having logged in to my Business Account and ticked all the boxes, jumped through all of the hoops to search for some of these great rates, but even after selecting multiple destinations around the World and time spans ie 3day stays etc, I cannot see for the life of me any Hotel/Apartment/other Establishment offering me a BUSINESS Discount in any shape or form!

Initially I was so taken with the idea, I decided to offer Business Guests a whopping 15% on top of the Genius Program, thus making a MASSIVE 25% Rate Reduction, but cannot see any mention of this on our Property Page at Booking.com and so I have now drawn a blank.

Solution I thought was to ring Booking.com, but way over 30min on the phone and some pressing of buttons to make sure we were live with our Business Promo, the nice lady could not answer my question - As a Booker how would I know what discount if any I am being offered, when unlike the Genius Program, the web pages from my search show me nothing, zilch nadda, nothing other than the price for my stay, unlike the Genius Program.

Anyone know the answer to this conundrum?

Keith Spence Owner

ApartmentsWales.com [UK]

7 months ago
7
fluff

Have any of the members here been approached to offer rates to Business Club users?

I must admit it's the first I've heard of it.

https://business.booking.com/unm_lp_general/?aid=819224;label=business-branding-enemea-aZJxGdFujmVGOG4JOzA*WgS294273403355:pl:ta:p1:p2:ac:ap1t1:neg:fi:tikwd-487018985271:lp9074392:li:dec:dm;ws=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh7G---iI3gIVQ4qPCh1KqwMIEAAYASAAEgKwv_D_BwE

I wouldn't be in a rush to list with any such greater discount, we already receive plenty of business travelers.

7 months ago
7
Thuild - Your …

Oh I've had my fair share of discount bookings. I stopped all promotions, the Genius program and all the crap that comes with those.

Of course as you've all mentioned, the ones who think that they've given the top level of what they could for the stay, will expect 7 star treatment. Whist I'm offering a comparable 5-star experience for my guests, it seems to me that some people just have too much expectation or they are plainly sad people who instead of enjoying their stay, will be looking endlessly for issue to write about and to make sure that they will feel better by belittling or pulling down other's businesses.

That's how people are, so we can just ignore them and move on.

Zsolt - www.thuild.com

7 months ago
7
Thuild - Your …

Business travelers would be the ones who are not traveling for leisure, therefore, they require early breakfast, leave early and they usually come back to the property after 6PM. They always require a company invoice and pay with their company card.

That's how I see it and that's the majority of my guests.

However, we had "business" type of guests who just came here to have fun with their 20yo girlfriends and such. Those are here for the booze, the stay-up late nights and doing what comes to their dirty mind all over the room.

The leisure travelers are here for different reasons, in my area mostly visiting someone or transiting the area.

Hope that clarifies it.

Zsolt - www.thuild.com

7 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Thanks Zsolt. It's reality.

As for Booking.com...

"Also when I book for myself one of the boxes I need to tick is whether I am traveling for business or for pleasure. I do not understand the distinction."

So, correct, it's you who decide if you are Business or Pleasure. So, if you want to pretend you are a Businessman, that's great opportunity. Do you remember those people, who didn't do great at school?... No responsibility for us, hosts. Either you tick Business or Pleasure, it does not matter at all. As we are not responsible to provide early breakfast and secretary on call.

We know now, that Genius is 2 trips in 2 years requirement. Now I wonder... For those super genius... Or how can we can call them at 15 percent off?

7 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"he was really much more than a business man" what do you mean?

7 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

I’m sick of discounts I give 20 per cent off for singles and BDC actually changed it to £20 a night of course everyone booked from all over the world and only today after 2 weeks has the last one been cancelled and unblocked my calendar.

I find most of my guests this year are businessmen and women , last year it was foreign tourists, I love the business people as they go out very early and come back very late PERFECT.

love your story Joey I guess we all have a few of them !!!!!

7 months ago
5
Sara Jarvis

Cassid help me cut out the free breakfasts please.....I have put it as an extra but no one ever pays for it.

7 months ago
2
Maarten

All,

I've been busy the last days and did not have time to respond. The thread has gone a bit off topic but that's fine. I got a lot of great responses and like I said before, we stopped giving discounts in any form and for now we do not see any decline in reservations which is great.

Thanks for the advice.

Maarten

7 months ago
7
Katerinka12

And how about your reviews? Did their quality improve?

7 months ago
2
Maarten

Katerinka12, I can not tell you if they improved. The bookings are in the future and the last days we had guests who booked directly and we closed for a few days.

7 months ago
2
SaKats

This is the reason I quit the genius program. The quality of the guests, their behaviour attitude and reviews went downhill when the price dropped.

The only discount that has given excellent results is for guests staying 5+ days.

Unfortunately BDC still seems to be more focused on hotels and not holiday appartments so there's no option to offer a bigger discount for 10+ or 14+ days.

7 months ago