Third Party Reservation Sites
Third party reservation systems like Expedia, Kayak, Tingo, booking.com, etc. etc. seem to be a necessary Evil these days. If we don't use them we don't get the necessary exposure that we so desperately need, plus for some people, that's the only way they know how to make reservations.
Here are a number of reasons you shouldn't use a third party reservation system when dealing with bed and breakfast and small inns and make them directly through the property in which you intend to stay.
- Sometimes they lie - the people on the other end of the reservation know nothing about us, they are usually on some other continent and will do anything to get the commission of the sale. They will sell you our standard room like Turkey Run or Door County and tell you it has a hot tub and private balcony. We've had some very upset people arrive here and to find out their room doesn't have a hot tub and rightly so! If there is a hot tub room available we try to accommodate but sometimes we are fully booked.
- Sometimes they just don't know - We have one pet friendly room and two wheelchair accessible rooms and these third party companies just don't get it. They'll put someone with a handicap on the second or third floor and we don't have an elevator. Or someone traveling with their dog is given a room that we don't allow pets in and we have to turn them away because we assure people with pet allergies that pets have never been in the rooms that we don't allow pets in.
- They don't give us the information we need form you - Sometimes, all we get is a name from them. No phone number, no e-mail, no credit card info, etc.. We like to send everyone our personnel conformation letter because it has some very valid information on it that their generic confirmation letters do not. Also, we like to get a cell phone number in case we need to get a hold of you for one reason or another. A couple of examples we would need to get a hold of you are, we need to run into town for something and we want to see what time you think you'll be arriving, or someone left their cell phone charger and their earrings in their room and we want to get a hold of you before you get too far away.
- They charge the same price as us AND they charge a commission - It's true, they tell you they are giving you these insane prices that no one can touch, but in reality, you're paying the same price as what you would pay if you went directly through us. Plus, those companies charge us up to 30% commission! There are some that only charge 15% or so and those I don't have a problem with, but 30%!?!? That's just greedy. There are even a couple of sites that we know of that you pay MORE than you would if you booked through us.
- They don't have our information right - One site once said that we had horses on property! And to try and get them to change anything is nothing short of impossible.
- They don't have all of our rooms to sell - We only give them up to half of our rooms to sell. So you're only getting a limited number to see and choose from. We can't afford to have all of our rooms to be sold on commission.
Do you see that little green lock in the browser bar by our web site domain name? We paid extra to have that to show we are just as secure as those other big guys. In fact, if you don't see that lock on your reservation site, Don't Use Them!! Also, these third party sites are really good at sneaking in their site when you look for ours and you click on them instead of us, so you think you are dealing with us. So also look for the "Official Page" of the Brightwood Inn, those others, you just never know what you are getting yourself into!
So in short, when it comes to dealing with "Mom and Pop" businesses, leave the middle man out. It's really meant for the large corporations that can afford high price commissions and have cookie cutter accommodations. Here's a tip that we use, use the third party vendors as a search engine, then call or book directly with the actually property. We do that all the time when looking for other bed and breakfasts and small inns when we travel! ;)