So Many Good Reasons for Booking Direct
For guests and businesses alike it is easier, quicker, cheaper and more sustainable to book direct. This is often overlooked when accommodation seekers use “convenient” third-party portals and Online Travel Agents (OTAs). Despite what they imply, these sites may not charge you directly, but there are hidden charges that ultimately increase the overall costs of accommodation. These OTAs market private accommodation, B&Bs & hotels.
In keeping with the booking direct ethos and in support of Clonakilty’s drive for sustainable tourism, Ballynoe House has its’ own dedicated booking engine.
- Live calendar of availability.
- Online acceptance of Booking Terms & Conditions – That means no additional third-party portal sign-ups with overseas-registered agents which often require sharing more personal information than you need to provide. No need to agree to an additional set of terms & conditions that are more designed to protect the OTA’s business.
- Direct communication with the owners by email or phone – No cumbersome and monitored third-party portal messaging systems. You can call, text, WhatsApp or Skype Ballynoe House for a friendly chat, have all your pre-booking questions answered in as much detail as you require, and get to know your hosts and the amenities ahead of time.
- Personal service and flexibility to ensure your booked accommodation is configured as you need it ahead of your arrival. Ballynoe House tailors the accommodation to suit and can advise which bedroom configuration best meets the needs of your party.
- Should you need to make a change to your booking, it is so much easier when no third party is involved.
- Secure payment by credit card. Ballynoe House also pays any credit card charges, so you book for free. OTAs may include credit cards charges when you book.
- Special offers are not available through third-party portals. Ballynoe House’s 10% discount offer for bona fide artists and free stays, for example, can only be obtained by booking directly. We can only offer special discounts for longer-term bookings or repeat business if you talk to us.
- More detailed and accurate information about the accommodation and amenities on offer, which cannot always be included in standard formulaic set-ups on third-party portals.
It is worth considering the main reasons why booking direct is more sustainable.
Did You Know?
Some booking portals take up to 15% of the booking in fees
Less of your money goes to the business and less money is reinvested in the region you are visiting. The more bookings an owner receives through OTAs the more likely the cost of staying with them is higher in the longer term than it could be to compensate for this high “business cost”. The overall cost of tourism is higher because this convenience is being paid for. Residents of the Republic of Ireland booking accommodation within the country may not realise that 15% of their money is being lost to the country and going to offshore bank accounts of the OTA.
As there is a significant impact on smaller businesses, some owners will provide additional help and services for a direct booking, for example making their Wi-Fi free. Ballynoe House can provide additional assistance to direct bookers ahead of their arrival and, subject to availability, free nights and discounted repeat bookings.
Small businesses who pay VAT still have to pay VAT on the full value of the booking even after OTAs have taken their fee.
If Ballynoe House receives a higher proportion of direct bookings cost increases can be reduced. Once reaching a critical mass of referrals, repeat business and reputation clients will book directly with the business. It is a more sustainable way for tourism and reflects Clonakilty’s sustainability award and ambition. Remember that Ballynoe House’s rates are presently all-inclusive, so there are no additional charges for booking, VAT, electricity, gas, Wi-Fi or other services. With the support of our guests, we hope to be able to keep it that way.
2. When you pay direct, your payments go directly the business owner
Third party portals often hold on to the money you pay and only pay the owners a month after your stay has ended. So, for example, if you pay a year in advance through a third-party portal, the owners may not see your payment for 13 or 14 months, less their booking charge. This only benefits the OTA and the owner has missed out on investing your payment for that amount of time. Booking direct with Ballynoe House means you have an opportunity to discuss a different rate for longer-term rental or, for example, if booking out the entire complex at Ballynoe House.
Business owners may also be aware that some OTAs do allow direct payments, but this is not offered up front. The default is that they handle your payments, as above. To change this, you need to speak with them directly but they don’t make it very clear to their users either.
3. Not all third-party portals are fully integrated
This means that pricing may be artificially high on some non-integrated portals where businesses are including their fees in the overall price.
4. If guests aren’t satisfied with their experience, the owner has more ability to resolve any issues when that guest booked directly
OTAs often claim using them provides additional consumer protection, but the increasing number of disputes and unreliable service support for both customers and owners can suggest otherwise. If you live in Ireland holidaying in Ireland, why book through an OTA that is registered overseas? Our T&Cs are clear for both parties and can be settled within Ireland should the need be. An OTA’s T&Cs may apply to a court outside of your jurisdiction.
5. Most third-party portals engage in heavy Search Engine marketing so that they always appear in the top results, which lures travellers to book through them and generate their high commissions
Web users are now getting wise to this ploy and realising there is a cost for the convenience. It is worth remembering that most hotels will match a best offer price if contacted directly. You may even get a free upgrade. They much prefer receiving a slightly-below-advertised rate than paying a significant commission to an OTA.
More and more people are supporting smaller and medium-sized tourism and accommodation businesses by using OTAs only as search engines as part their research for accommodation. Having located their preferred accommodation they contact the owners directly. Most business in the tourism sector have a business website, Facebook page, or a Google Maps entry. It only takes a few moments to find the owner’s independent site. It is win-win-win; for the guest, the owner and your ultimate holiday destination.
How Can I Support More Sustainable Tourism?
Always try to book directly with the accommodation provider. If you have already booked through an OTA and new to this concept, most OTAs have a free cancellation period that will allow you to cancel. You can then rebook directly with the owner. Don’t forget to contact them to tell them you are doing this. It will be appreciated.
If you have a particular destination in mind, you can usually find a regional or locality website that provides free advertising for accommodation providers without using OTAs. West Cork tourism has both Clonakilty & Pure Cork.
Thank you for choosing to book direct with Ballynoe House and your support of local business in the Clonakilty area.
Mark & Felicity Grace, Business Owners, Ballynoe House
Mark is a Director of the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce with the brief for tourism. The Chamber is the advocate of Clonakilty District’s business and tourism community. It is a non-profit body managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and established with the sole aim to promote business in Clonakilty and to promote Clonakilty both as a location for business and as a tourist destination.
Ballynoe House supports the Book Your Holiday Direct with the Owner movement which has members from all over Western Europe.