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"Making guests feel welcomed seems to be the most important thing. Our cottage is very clean and comfortable (a most excellent bed) and we provide good continental breakfast provisions (fresh milk, a choice of cereals and coffee/tea options, bread, home-made jams, fresh fruit and butter), they have privacy and the peaceful garden provides a great outlook and all these things are generally really appreciated, but the thing that people most comment on is that they felt welcomed. We always try to be there to meet and greet and to point guests in the right direction for great eating places and activity option and just to have a chat if they wish. We love to hear that people have had a great time in our little village and that they would love to come back : )"
Well said.....and I agree totally with all the posts.
However, I do believe some guests not always completely honest with their reviews. I have had low score guest reviews, yet the same guest return a few times. Asking the guest why such a low review score the reply was: "I was not in a good mood that day..."
So be it, I know my place is not perfect, we only started out 2 years ago and building on it.
My believe in a good guest review is all basics like clean rooms, comfy and clean linen, quality breakfast is not negotiable. What I have found to be the most important factor of a happy guest is the way a guest is received and welcomed upon arrival. be honest friendly and genuine. Remember, most of the time guests have traveled a long way, are tired, sometimes grumpy and irritated, but a warm welcome and good hospitality all change that quickly. First impressions last. Make the effort to meet guests as they drive in your property. Offer to help with luggage, be friendly and above all read the mood of your guests. Offer a welcoming cup of coffee or tea.(In our South African hot climate many guests prefer an ice-cold beer) Explain all amenities to guests and make them fell welcome and comfortable.
We still have a lot to learn and we wont ever give up in trying to improve. For me the most important factor is to be friendly and helpful.
A lovely evening to you all
Hahaha....I see posts now get moderated and pending approval.
I must have hit the sweet-spot.
@ Mr Spence
I have been working with Booking.com for over two years now. Initially I experienced a lot of problems, mainly invalid Credit cards and No-Shows/Cancellations. Most of these were guests fooling around till I changed certain settings on my page to the following criteria;
1. Guests can only book if they supply a physical address and contact details,
2. All rooms were set as Non-refundable deposit,
3. I updated our payment policy to a 50% deposit + a further 20% immediately after reservation and balance 14 days prior to check-in. I'm not sure but think this was under the flexible cancellation policy. Since then I have changed it to NR.
4. We also only list about 60% of our rooms on Booking.com to kerb No-Shows/Cancellations or any double bookings
Since then our conversion rate increased dramatically, however the invalid cc and no shows is still sort of a headache.
I just cant understand Booking.com unwillingness to meet owners in addressing the invalid card issue. My suggestion would be that Booking.com makes it;
1. A prerequisite that all guest reservations 36 hrs prior to check-in be handled with their virtual card system (The VCC is working fine for me), AND paid out to the hotel 24 hrs before check-in. (That way they carry the loss if a No-Show, WHY NOT give them some responsibility?) OR
2. Give owners the facility to cancel immediately a reservation that has a time frame of 36 hrs and less before check-in if the ccard is invalid. (Guests can get the option to re-book with a valid cc )
We have opted for Booking.com "Risk-Free Reservations" and to date have not seen any benefits. Perhaps another topic we can debate under a separate heading.
I must give Booking.com credit for the fact that the majority of our on-line reservations is via them, so in certain areas they do perform well!! But, boy-oh-boy, when it comes to invalid credit cards..... Booking.com FAILED THE TEST!
What am I doing about invalid ccards? I message(via extranet) the guest advising them of invalid cc and inform them the reservation has been cancelled with immediate effect. I also follow this up with a call or text message. Only after I have done it will I follow the Booking.com procedure.
@ Office, I think your method of different rates/alternate booking site is an excellent idea and I will investigate it.
Lets hope Booking.com wake up and do something about our concerns.
You all have a lovely and blessed day!
I still believe for the commission we pay Booking.com should handle the finances!!
@ Marie van Rensburg
" I then mark it on a calendar with an automatic expiry."
Can you please tell me more about the calender you use and the automatic expiry.
The credit card payment system will always be a point of contention.
Initially, I have had many problems and headaches with in-valid cards or no-shows and even suspect fraudulent bookings.
I do agree that Booking.com can put in more effort to safeguard hotels in this matter. At least they have introduced the virtual CC system which will solve all problems if guests opt for this option.
What I did was to update all rooms as Non Refundable deposit of 50% and a further 20% anytime 14days prior to check in. The balance the guest swipe at check-in.
My biggest problem is the slow turnaround reporting invalid or faulty cards. I have had a "genuis" guest making a reservation and requesting dinner which we proudly made. He never specified his full credit card details, yet we believe this guest to a honorable one. He never pitched! NO SHOW.
I strongly believe Booking.com should assist more readily and speedily in card problems and no shows. I would love to see the system changed for last day/minute reservations only be done via the Booking.com virtual cc system. In fact, they should do it for all reservation 4days prior to check-in date.
The only way Booking.com can assist us is in adopting a system where guests pay the deposit directly to them at time of reservation. All other booking sites use this system and is the safest way for hotels.
I remain hopeful that the Booking.com team will find a solution to this.