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I was pleased to see references of 'home from home' in our visitors book and in some reviews.
We achieved this by letting guests feel unfettered and welcome to move from their room to the communal kitchen and onto the garden roof terrace whenever they liked.
Not feeling like you have to spend all your time cooped up in your room but wander down for a cuppa and strike up chats with fellow guests seem to make people feel welcome and many have returned stating they felt very relaxed.
We experienced a spate of fake bookings from North Africa. I requested the ability to just accept bookings from Europe,Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and China but were told no restrictions are possible - they reacted like it was Trump's ban.
Probably hit the politically correct nerve, however what is the point of pretending you will get quality bookings from an area that gives you 99% fake bookings? Let their 'partners' decide who they want to do business with, we are the ones losing money.
I regret to say that contacting BDC is pretty useless as they view their business as guest relation first, the properties appear to be expendable.
It therefore annoys me when they refer to us as 'partners' as we are no such thing. In my experience, when it comes to a problem between the guest and the hotel they will side with the guest.
I do believe that the system of reviews they use is not helpful. I would rather a score based purely on smiley faces - have the categories and click on a unhappy face, non-plussed or smiling.
Rate them 1, 2 and 3
Keep the topics to
Value for money
I am dubious about 'Facilities' because it is such a catch all - if you book a 5 star you have a gym and swimming pool. If you book a guest house you don't - so why let the guest down rate you solely because you don't have a trouser press?
Cut out the blurb in favour of preset concluding statements
Excellent - would go again (3 points)
Good (2 points)
Not likely to go again (1 point)
Then base the overall on the average.
Hi Mario - We are also in Malta.
When you get reviews it should be broken down into categories (each out of 10) such as:
The overall score should be made up as an aggregate of those completed
You should be able to determine on which areas you scored low in and therefore attempt to remedy it. If you got a 3.8 review score - that is extremely low and quite possible the guest just filled it in wrong (unless it was accompanied with a comment saying they were not happy)
On the one occasion I had a 3 score - it was from a Maltese/Australian lady who was so pleased with her stay she booked a return the following year. I wrote to her and asked her about it and she was mortified and wrote in to have it amended to 10/10 - she just made a mistake on completing it.
Thuild - my post was meant as a problem and solution as we saw it. Other solutions welcome!
We do get cancellations/no shows from EU and Eastern European guests where the cards turn out to be invalid.
I really think that Booking.com should take some initiative in validating card details - but I was told by one of their staff that all they can do is ensure the numbers meet the correct format
I sympathise completely.
1) Budget Double Room - so called as it lacks a balcony and the bathroom is smaller.
2) Standard Double has a bigger bathroom and a side sea view balcony.
3) Deluxe Double has a Sea View balcony and similar bathroom as the standard.
Naturally each of these attracts a different rate. It does not however stop guests booking the Budget (cheapest) and saying "Sea View please".
What to do?
In our experience, immediately write back and point out what they booked. (In fact we do that for EVERY booking using the templates) This means if the guest misread - then they are in no doubt as we do a Booking Confirmation which describes the room they booked with words like 'No balcony' to make it 100% clear.
I would rather they cancel immediately and we resell to someone who can read than have an unpleasantness. It does not always work - we had an Italian guest who insisted he booked a sea view when he actually booked the Budget and from that moment onward found everything he could to complain about plus gave us a 1 star review (out of 5 - an Expedia booking).
I am afraid in this business you will get these types of guests but they are fortunately in the minority.
I agree with Thuild. You cannot control who your guest brings in to his room - but an overnight guest should incur a charge.
Then again - we did have three female guests occupying our triple room who on departure were suddenly accompanied by a fourth male who it appears was kipping on the floor.
Annoying, but we let it ride as the cost to us was possibly use of the shower and WC at best - he must have used a sleeping bag as furniture was moved to make a space on the floor.
You have to weigh up the real cost against the cost of wagging the finger at the guests who in this case incidentally left happy and gave a great review - but who might have reacted very differently had we been pedantic.
Treat each on its merits based on how much revenue you are losing.
What no one has mentioned, 70% of your inventory needs to be with Booking.com. I have had a 9.4 Review score over 5 years but since taking on Expedia as well - our sales are now:
3) Direct Bookings
The issue now is that Expedia and Direct Bookings combined have reached 40% so Booking.com is writing telling me I now fail to meet the criteria. What am I to do - Expedia monitors our inventory and if we allow more rooms to Booking than them we run foul of our agreement with them - we are suppose to offer same rates and same spread.
What is happening is that Booking.com are failing to sell enough rooms in time and the slack is being taken by an increase in Direct Sales (commission free to us) and Expedia.
I work on the principle that although preferred partner is great, if I cannot be in it and Booking sell less, I will simply have more exposure in their competitor so it is a bit of a own goal by Booking.com in my view.