Booking apps - CycleBlaze

Bicycle Travel Forum

Booking apps

Mike Ayling

I prefer to book directly with the venue that I wish to stay at because then I know that they are not giving away 15% to the booking company.

While researching accomodation for an overnighter as soon as we get out of lockdown one motel that I looked at stated on their website that they did not participate in any booking apps because the commision went out of Australia.

I noticed that someone had written in their European journal that the venue quoted a rate 15% above the rate that they obtained from the booking app. As a result of being opportunistic did this venue sell the room for 30% less than the walk up rate that they quoted?

Certainly with our very strict lockdown regime under covid here in Oz occupancy rates are extremely low but I wonder what the case is in Europe?

What do you think?

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Mike Ayling

While I hate the big booking sites taking their commission that could be going to smaller establishments, we often encounter the situation where booking via Booking.com is significantly cheaper than booking directly with the hotel.   Just ten days ago at the Casa Real Hotel in Puebla I got quoted a price ten percent higher than I could get on Booking.com.  So I hauled out my cellphone in front of the receptionist, booked on Booking.com, waited a few seconds to receive the booking confirmation and said to the receptionist "Tenemos una reserva con Booking.com a este precio !" while showing her the booking reference number and price.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Edward HitchcockTo Jean-Marc Strydom

I think many establishments consider that the customer is captive one they have arrived on site.  Thus they can offer an inflated rate.  If nine pay while the tenth does as Jean-Marc, they are still well ahead.

Best I think to contact them by email/phone rather than just turn up.  But of course the booking apps make it hard to find contact details.....

I think you have to try to always give the impression that you are shopping around, not already committed.....

Showing them the offer on a booking app may also encourge them to reconsider.

All pat of the touring experience....

Ed

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Mike Ayling

I agree, booking directly with the establishment is preferable. However, oftentimes language difficulties make it so I am reluctant to phone in a reservation to comparison-shop their quote vs. the booking site price. I have definitely booked a room right in the hotel lobby using Agoda if the price difference is significant. You can use Google Maps to find the hotel's phone number, by the way. If they are on the map they should have a phone number listed in the sidebar when you click on them. Asking the price right there in the lobby can go either way, so look it up on the booking sites first so you are informed when you walk in. If the hotel's price is the same or below or even just a tiny bit more I would much rather give them the money directly. We have also negotiated additional nights at a reduced price and leaving the booking site out of it. 

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Mike AylingTo Andrea Brown

Thanks everbody. That bit about hot or cold or wet travellers in the reception area being captive customers is probably in all the hotel management text books! 

I suspect that they expect you to bargain in some parts of the world which reminded me of something that the sales manager at a place where I worked at before the world wide web and those pesky booking apps  told me. He said that when he was on the road he never went into a hotel/motel before 6PM and then enquired if there was a vacancy. When he was quoted the rack rate he would require along the lines of you can either give me a substantial discount or have no revenue for that room today. He usually got his discount. 

Anyway the moral of the story is if at all possible know what the booking app rate before you go in.

 

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
John PescatoreTo Mike Ayling

Not to defend the booking apps, but I've felt the same way about restaurants and the online ordering apps. But a new restaurant started up locally, and I called on the phone to order and when I picked up my order the owner asked why I did that and I said I thought it was helping him financially.

He told me that work force problems mean he is short staffed and he is pretty happy for now to be outsourcing the time one of his employees has to spend on the phone taking orders and payment info etc. The volume of that was so high, it was diverting resources from serving on site diners, now that one site dining was back. He felt the commission he was paying was worth it, at least until he can have a full staff again. 

This weekend I drove 100 miles north to do one of my favorite bike club annual rides and I booked a room at a cheap motel that is part of the Super8 chain. I booked online directly with the chain. When I checked in, the check in lady was on the phone discussing rates with someone.  When she hung up and found my reservation, she said "I wish more people would make reservations online like you  did." She was short room staff as well - she had to help out in room cleaning and other areas.

So, at least in the US for now, the low end wage jobs are very hard to fill and the managers are finding their staffs are getting stretched thin. Offloading rate checking, reserving, ordering etc. for now is better for their bottom line.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Mike AylingTo John Pescatore

Interesting John. Melbourne has five universities which had large foreign enrolments. Many of these students were unable to return home when covid struck. They provided a lot of the labour in the restuarants etc but these were forced to close and many of them are now on welfare. With regard to the take away food and home delivery I read that Uber eats charge a delivery fee equivalent to 35% of the sale price of the food. We do have a leglislated minimum wage here in Australia but no shortage of prospective workers in the catering industry.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
John PescatoreTo Mike Ayling

Mike - in the US, most of the restaurants (including fast food) and other traditionally low wage employers have raised the salary to twice the federal minimum  wage, yet we have something like 8.4 million unemployed people while there are 10 million open jobs!

Lot of theories why this is the case after many businesses have reopened. None of it has to do with cycling! This article  (it might be behind a pay wall) discusses it pretty well.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago