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Why a [Book Now] button wouldn't quite cut it

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Ben McNevis

Joined: 15 May 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Scotland (for) The Brave

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:47 pm    Post subject: Why a [Book Now] button wouldn't quite cut it Reply with quote

I've just taken a booking (hurrah). Looking at the conversation that preceded it, I am reminded of how the "Book Now" button beloved of the big listing sites is working against guests and against owners:

This is a booking for a week at Christmas in the big hoose. After experiences a few years back with rather random agency bookings for square pegs to fit our round holes, we are careful about what kind of guests we take, particularly for a week in winter. Here's a snippet of our email response to their initial enquiry - or attempt to put them off #1:

Before deciding to book, please consider whether Greenbank is the right choice for your group. It's all too easy to find accommodation that takes the right number at the right price and jump at it without looking at the practicalities. So here is a bit more about what you can expect from a stay at Greenbank:

Greenbank is a lovingly cared for antique. It is a listed building with enormous charm and (other than kitchen and bathrooms, lights and radiators) is very much as it was in the Victorian era. Some of the furniture is antique and can't take rough treatment. The original timber single-glazed windows are draughty (ventilation is necessary for the house). The television is intentionally smallish to maintain the character of the house. We would be disappointed to think that, with the stupendous scenery around, visitors have come here to watch TV.

We hope that your visit to Lochgoilhead will be memorable for the sunshine and activities on the hills and on the water. However, the weather can be horrible for days on end, so you will need to have a "Plan B" for those rainy days.

Also, for winter bookings and in case of cold weather at other times, we need to point out that Greenbank is best for robust people! It has central heating, a stove and an open fire but it is a large and airy house and the heating can never generate T-shirt conditions in cold weather. If the house is empty for the night before your arrival, it would be distinctly chilly for your first few hours as the stove will not have been burning during that day.

Well, after that, they were still interested so I sent (attempt to put them off #2):

I just wanted to check whether you are all fit and healthy! This is just in case your visit coincides with exceptionally cold weather, when it will not be possible to heat the house to the kind of temperatures that we expect in the modern world. The heating works adequately for most conditions, but as you've seen from the earlier email, it is normal for it to be chilly when you arrive and it takes several hours for heat from the stove to get around the house.

For the fit and healthy, this shouldn't be a worry but if any of you are elderly or less mobile, it might make you reconsider.

Well that failed too: it turned into a booking. Which means that we have, not just any guests, but the right guests for the house for that time of year. This reality of taking bookings is so far removed from what the big listing sites imagine and it is the main reason we don't allow any online booking.
Cheers, Ben
www . www .

Visiting Glenrothes? It's one of your Fife-a-day
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Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 746
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that's called a win-win Ben.
I like the use of subtle humour to outline your knowledge of the house, the area & any possible issues in advance.
You just don't get that from a button.
This time next year Rodney, we'll be millionaires.
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Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7167
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good way of handling things Ben. You are so right that a number of people will just hit a book now button without going through the details and making an informed decision. And let's face it....some people do need things spelling out.

I am always fascinated by the fact that many of our guests only start to concentrate on the details a few weeks before they arrive.

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