Due to the continued misleading practises of Booking.com and their affiliates, we have made the decision to end our connections with Booking.com
Obviously we will continue to honour any existing bookings already made through Booking.com, however, it’s now no longer possible to book through them.. but only book with us at Hotel de Vie directly (where we’ve always offered our full availability, and best prices).
For your information, it should come as no surprise that Booking.com takes a commission for all new bookings they take for us (a minimum of 18% of our total room rate, more if we wanted to appear ‘higher’ in their listing). As part of this agreement, they also demanded a ‘best price guarantee’ in that we couldn’t offer any rooms cheaper when booking directly.
It’s for this reason that we continue hearing how for many hotels, you can often find it cheaper to go via a third party (even though the hotel pays them a commission), than to contact the hotel directly and book rooms directly at their ‘rack rate’.
With this artificially high ‘rack rate’, hotels around travel hotspots in particular, then have the freedom to very quickly inflate their room rates should flights get cancelled, etc. without seeming to charge more (only they just don’t offer their usual ‘discount’). Have you ever wondered why there can sometimes be so much negotiation with a room rate at many of the larger hotels? Or why they can offer a very limited number of their rooms for such a low rate?
Hotel de Vie doesn’t believe in artificially raising our prices just to bring them down again, unlike many other hotels consider it normal to triple their normal prices just to occasionally bring them down again (often only by 50%, so you still pay more). This artificial ‘discount’ misleads customers into thinking they’re getting a good deal (just as do many supermarkets, etc. with their shelf edge deals that are often no massive improvement on their regular rate).
Our ‘rack rate’ for all rooms at Hotel de Vie, is therefore our best rate at all times. There’s no additional payment to book early, no surcharge to book late, and no discounts of savings to go via anyone else. This way, we could continue to offer you with our best service, and you always know where you stand with our prices, however you booked.
In particular though, our issues with Booking.com were as follows:
- There was no option for the guests to add their Estimated Time of Arrival to each booking (despite repeated requests from us, for them to do so).. as a result, we repeatedly had guests arrive before our opening hours (ie before 3pm) when booking only through Booking.com (they did have a note beneath the booking details, but guests would regularly miss this).
- Guests could post reviews about their stay with us, but we couldn’t reply or add a response online as we can everywhere else (even though we quickly became the Number One on Booking.com too for all the genuine feedback we did get).
- Booking.com would only send a confirmation fax for each booking (unless their fax couldn’t get through, and then an email would be sent instead), whereas every other booking system we’ve used in the past has also sent an email as well as the fax. We therefore had to build our processes around the fax machine, despite the massive advances in mobile technologies and ‘push’ messages to mobiles for all emails.
(There was apparently the option to have an email sent instead of a fax, however we were told this would only supply very basic details, and we’d still need to log into their website to get anything more about the new booking, plus of course you can’t always be sure if an email has been received which we couldn’t risk).
- We have always been a hotel for adults only, not a family venue. However, the vast majority of the occasions guests would arrive with children who hadn’t read this, were when they’d booked through Booking.com, as Booking.com did not make it clear enough to those guests that children could not be accommodated (again it was listed, but in a way that so many guests kept on missing it).
- We also statistically had more booking cancelled through Booking.com, than any other sales channel (ie our own website, telephone bookings, etc.), therefore taking up valuable administration time that would be better spent helping our guests.
- Booking.com also had a massive ‘Lowest Price Check Dates’ form on our own hotel listing with TripAdvisor, far bigger than the real contact details of the hotel, despite Hotel de Vie paying TripAdvisor hundreds of pounds per year just to add our contact details to a small space at the top of the page.
- Most importantly though, Booking.com kept on taking adverts out, in our own Hotel name (our trademark), pretending to be us, just to take their commission. This would be like standing outside the front door of our hotel.. stopping guests on their way in, taking down their details, even recommending other hotels in the area, and then asking us for their commission in ‘finding our new guests’.
We increasing had guests saying how they thought they’d booked with us directly, but couldn’t work out why they ended up at Booking.com.
After further research, we discovered paid adverts on Yell.com, Bing Local, and a whole range of Adwords on search engines like Google (ie guests searching for Hotel de Vie by name, would have sponsored listings trying to redirect them to sites claiming to be Hotel de Vie, but actually be third party booking channels).
Once these issues were raised with Booking.com, and even though we would request that they stop advertising in our name pretending to be us, we would keep finding their paid adverts in our own hotel name slipping back onto search engines and directory websites.
Enough was enough, and we ended our relationship with them around two weeks ago.
Fortunately, around two weeks after ending our contract with them, they have now finally taken offline our hotel listing from their website. (Up until very recently that remained, with our own text, photos, key words, etc, but instead of the option to check dates, they had a very clear message asking potential guests to view other hotels in the area instead).
So if you see any other adverts linking through to our Hotel de Vie listing on Booking.com or elsewhere, using our good name or hotel details to take business away from us, please do let us know, so we can take the appropriate action to have them removed too.