As a new B&B you have to decide how to advertise and it is a minefield out there, there are so many options. Are you going to have a website and wait for the bookings to come flooding in? To be honest you may have a long wait and if you are in an area that only has a short season you need to optimise your bookings.
But how do you do this? There are many options and one that we considered was Booking.com. (amongst others but I will review them separately)
You will hear good and bad reviews of using a platform such as this, to be honest we found it great. But there are pros and cons and I will tell you about our experience and then you can make your own mind up.
When you first contact Booking.com you can not find out how much they charge you, you fill in the contact sheet, which is concerning as you have to put all your B&B info in there and you still don't know how it works, I could not find a telephone number to contact as we wanted this information first.
However just because you have put our info in, it doesn't mean you are committed to using them!
We received a telephone call from one of the agents, as we are in France it was a French speaker, but once I explained my French wasn't that great, she spoke fantastic English, so first big plus!
The agent explained how it worked and we signed up, Booking.com provide a calender (which we are responsible for, if you do not keep it up to date you will be liable for any mistakes)
We had guests almost immediately and regular bookings all through the season.
- Regular bookings (we were full for a season)
- Easy to use calendar
- Easy to use system
- Good back up support from the company
- You can choose your rates (but these must be same for every
advertised site, this is very important!)
- It is very easy to book dates out if you do not want certain
dates not to be available on Booking.com (e.g. if you get a direct
- You do not know the commission rate until you have been
though the sign up process (but for us during 2014 it was 15%)
- You must keep your calendar up to date, if you have a double
booking you are responsible for finding the guest alternative
accommodation or the cost!
- Bookings can come though day or night, so DO NOT ACCEPT any
other bookings with out checking your e-mails from Booking.com
- Do not advertise more cheaply else where
- Unless you have the option for credit card payments you
cannot take a deposit, so if you have a no show, you may not get
paid (this only happened once)
- New dates are added regularly, so if you do not want to be advertised next year or want to change your rates, remember to book out the new dates
These do not fall into either the pro's or cons but you do need to know.
If you have a no show, it is your responsibility to let Booking.com know in a specified amount of time or you will still be charged the commission.
Be very careful if you use 2 companies that take direct bookings for you, you can get double booked.
Be very organised with your calendar, keep it up to date.
In summary we used Booking.com even though they do charge a high commission, we decided that 85% of total room cost was better than 100% of nothing. Many people warned us against using such a big company but we found them to be really helpful and they kept us busy which is the most important thing.
The big is question is would we use them again? and the answer to that is, YES, most definitley
Please bare in mind the above is our personal experience during June – September 2014 in Brittany, France (it may be different for different countries) this is not a paid post by Booking.com, just a summary of our experience.