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Quantifying Owners Direct's 'Sleeps' number

 
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louiseddie



Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:40 am    Post subject: Quantifying Owners Direct's 'Sleeps' number Reply with quote

Sorry, confusing title!

We have a one bed that sleeps 4 but that can only be 2 adults and up to 2 children (sofabed is only suited to kids and our lease restrictions mean we can't take more than 2 adults, or 2 adults with 2 kids).

TripAdvisor and Owners Direct will only let us put the number we can sleep, they don't have facility to quantify that so that unsuitable bookings can't be made. For example if someone tries to book for 5 people it flashes up that the maximum for our property is 4 and doesn't let them book it. What we need is the same thing to happen if someone tries to book more than the number of adults we can accommodate - the booking box does ask them to quantify the number of adults and number of children but it's advisory only, so still lets them book if they put in 3 or 4 adults as long as the maximum number of actual guests is 4.

We make it very clear in our listing, in the first paragraph, but you always get a bright spark who either doesn't read it or ignores it.

So currently when we get a firm reservation request (as opposed to just an enquiry) for 3 or 4 adults we have to decline it and then get penalised in the listings.

Have to say Tripadvisor have been very good so far and on the rare occasion this has happened, I've spoken to them and they've over-ridden our metrics and kept us at full acceptance level.

However OD say they have no way of doing that. Hence we are unfairly penalised for someone not reading our clear listing, and by OD not providing the facility for clarity that would stop this happening. Their only suggestion is to change our 'sleeps' number to 2, which of course would preclude us from a third of our bookings which is families with children.

This is a pretty serious issue as there must be many properties of any number of bedrooms that can sleep a certain number of adults and a certain number of children. And as I pointed out to them, it harms their traveller experience as well as owner experience as travellers are booking properties that can't be fulfilled and then their credit card companies hold the reserve on the funds they'd used to put the request in with for 7 working days, meaning some people wouldn't be able to book anywhere else.

If you've had the same problem could you also feed it back to OD (for what it's worth?) so we might get something changed? Or has anyone got any ideas on getting around this problem? As I say we've made it clear in the first para of the description that we can accept 2 adults or 2 adults and up to 2 children, and we can't accept booking for 3 or 4 adults. I've seen people ask travellers not to send firm booking requests without making prior contact, but that could put 'legit' bookings off if they just want to book somewhere quickly, I don't really want to give everyone a reason to hesitate from booking with us.

Any thoughts would be appreciated, for either TripAdvisor or OD's sites!
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 655
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:55 am    Post subject: Re: Quantifying Owners Direct's 'Sleeps' number Reply with quote

louiseddie, these sites need to build and adapt their sites around both the requirements and constraints of owner and guest. But that's wishful thinking..

I don't think that any of these sites can check whether the mix of adults and children required exceeds that of the owners' limit. It is a constant worry for us as well. We have been forced to put in our title 'sleeps 12 (max 10 adults)' to counter this problem. But it's the same with bedroom configuration as well, when guests on arrival want to shove all 4 kids into one bedroom, when the only possibility you have is a maximum of 3 in a room and then get anxious when you tell them that it's not possible!

As you say, you don't want to reduce your maximum occupancy because a family of 4 will not get to see your property. Not everyone fills in required number of bedrooms/bathrooms, but for example, 'number of people' is to the right of the date pairs on OD search, so families would certainly miss your property if you reduced your occupancy.

We are listed on TA (the old Holidaylettings) and have 24 hours set to respond to any enquiry/booking. But I have no idea if you get penalized if you decline a booking if you have this set up, or is it only with 'instant booking'?

About feedback to OD. You really won't get anywhere with the OD call centre and from the thousands of complaints and frustrated owners (and guests) posting on FB and sites such as Trustpilot, they don't really take much notice there either.

If you don't already, maybe you could also try placing your sleeping restrictions into your property title. Normally the title is not shortened in search results and it's the first line they will see before clicking on it. I believe it has helped cut down a lot of the over-occupancy problems we used to get...


Last edited by AngloDutch on Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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louiseddie



Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great tip, thanks AngloDutch. I'll give that a try. Sorry to hear you have the same problem. We're not on Instant Book, we're the same 24 hours to accept or decline, and yes sadly on both TA and OD you do get penalised for any decline.

Thanks again!
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russellt



Joined: 09 Dec 2014
Posts: 345
Location: Ivybridge, Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm on HL/TA. I double check every enquiry/booking headcount using the 'reply without quote' option, on the assumption that whatever the system says, it is incorrect. There have been too many errors in the past.

I have never used HL/TA to book anything, so have no idea why there are so many errors input by travellers - but there are.

No idea if i get penalised, and i don't really care - the alternative of over-occupancy or unhappy guests is not an option. HL/TA keep sending me messages that i am doing wonderfully anyway Rolling Eyes

I have given up arguing the case with HL/TA and just tell all enquirers that they need to confirm certain things before i can send a quote or accept a booking, because the HL/TA system sucks.

I would never use instant book.
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 655
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

louiseddie,

I noticed that we have the following set up at our OD dashboard
(under Rules & Policies -> House Rules, Cancellation Policy & Rental Agreement):





But on our listing, I can still put 12 adults into the availability/rate quote and it accepts it!

So, although you can specify the maximum number of adults accepted, it does not prevent guests from booking adult over-occupancy...that's OD for you..
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