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Our PMS system has prices set as default rates - much much higher than our peak season rates.
That way, if we forget to set a rate (we dont set them for more than 12 months ahead) the default is shown.
IF someone wants to make a booking 10 years ahead, using that default rate, then Im not going to say no. lol
Of course, we do take full payment at time of booking and all our OTA rates are non-refundable.
I said I value Expedia far more - I didn't say they get the same number of bookings lol
I just tend to reward those I find easier to work with by offering slightly lower rates - in 2017, bookings via Expedia increased as a result (not massively but enough to give them an extra £1k in commission this year), which has obviously meant a loss of commission to those OTAs who always make things as hard as they can.
For us, it is now all about driving direct bookings. The OTAs aren't going to change but we can.Everything we do says "book direct" - whether it be links on emails, business cards next to free bottles of water, correct website design (and monitoring) and even signature lines on all forums we use (no matter what they cover).
And, for less than £200, we have 7 large canvas prints around the hotel which show local landscapes, attractions etc with our website address on them and the book direct message.
Our direct bookings are building really well as a result.
OR you can wait for OTA to ask guest if they stayed with you.
OTA will email you stating that commission will be charged etc.
Of course, if the OTA had a little "undo" button it would be far easier for everyone ?
Rate Parity is now illegal in the UK - not sure which Country you are in.
Our direct booking rate are one price, we add up to 15% on to booking.com rates and we add just 12% on to Expedia rates (as we value that partnership more).
If one OTA gets too "controlling" we just up their rates.
I am stunned at the level of "trust" that some of you seem to have in people.
Get it written into your Booking Contracts (T&Cs) that guests should notify you of any problems with fixtures and fittings on the day of check-in or by 10am the following day.
Insert it into your Registration Card -
"I explicitly agree to the Booking Terms and Conditions made available to me prior to making my booking and which form the basis of the Booking Contract entered into.""I specifically agree to any charges levied by the property in respect of damage caused during my stay and/or any additional room charges for late checkout, missing items, room keys not returned by 11am on the day of departure and/or additional nights booked. I am aware that I shall be informed by email prior to any monies being charged."
That way, it is the responsibility of the guest to report any issues to you asap. They sign your Registration Card specifically agreeing to pay for x,y or z.
Now, let us be honest, breakages and scuffs do happen to hotel rooms or rented properties and is just a cost of running this type of business.BUT things like excessive cleaning, vomit, smashed TVs etc are chargeable and must be charged.
We send the guest an email detailing the charges and include photos. As soon as we send that email we process the charge within minutes.
Some guests complain but we've never had a chargeback and are confident we have the systems in place to support our action.
It would be nice if all guests were lovely but they aren't.
Calculate how many guests pay with card for 2017 and how many dont.
Then rather than card payers getting a 3% surcharge, simply add 1% to all rates to recoup the card cost.
Dont take this the wrong way but if you cant add 1% to your rates, how do you cope with any other cost increases within your business?
It is financial suicide to keep rates on hold because at some point you will realise that you should have upped rates by 1% every year but now have to suddenly add 5% in one year.
It sounds like you have a great property and Im sure guests aren't going to even notice a £50 room going to £50.50 or £100 room at £101 etc
There is an option within booking.com to auto accept cancellations made within 1 hour (or something like that).
We use that option as I cant be doing with all of the excuses used when people phone to explain why they now have to cancel.
But we allow 1 hour only.
ALL of our rooms are sold as Non-Refundable on OTAs - though we do offer Refundable Rates and cheaper Non-Ref rates on our own website (it encourages people to book direct).
In your case Mark, the property you booked had decided not to offer any free cancellation period which is their choice and not your right.
Learn from it and move on.
That is actually scary Christine.We have had our share of No Shows and have never had a chargeback.
Your post shows that ALL of us - including the OTAs - need to keep on top of these changes.
I just took a look at our hotel page on booking.com
The first thing I noticed is they have put "No Prepayment Needed - Pay At Property" on the page when we have NEVER done this - we have always been 100% due at time of booking.
The other thing I noticed is they pre-tick a box where booker agrees to terms etc but also for emails.
Pre-ticking boxes is now ILLEGAL in the UK - and bookers cannot agree to terms without also agreeing to emails.
Booking.com need to sort this out OR they should cover the cost of your chargebacks.