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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.
I was initially taken aback with your comment on going to bed and not getting up for late guests.
I put myself in the guests shoes and think: "Have you never been travelling and had flights delayed, your cell phone battery dies and the last taxi was taken by other late arrivals at the airport?"
We have Expedia guests, and many of their bookings through their subsidiaries don't have a means of communicating with the guest at all. BDC at least provide messaging for all their referrals and usually a telephone number too.
There is nothing worse than a guest who has gone past their check in time and you start to feel they are looking like a no show. Nevertheless we have never turned a guest away, usually they arrive tired, dishevelled and a victim of airline incompetence and delays. We just take them straight to their room and say that we will check them in the following morning which is appreciated no end.
As we have an entry phone that diverts to our cell phone so we can literally go to bed and if they turn up, pop down to let them in. (The downside of the entry phone is people like 'Bikeman' mentioned above ring at 2am asking for a room.) If we are not expecting anyone we just switch it off.
My concern is the turned away guest will retaliate with a review that can damage your score. I would be interested to hear from Booking.com as to how they would treat a review of a person who turned up late and contravened your arrival time - and then gives you the lowest possible score in spite because you denied them a room. Would they agree to delete it?
What country are we talking about here? I presume if we are in different countries we can ignore this?