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problem with booking agents' description of my property
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alcooper



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 31
Location: Devon, England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:12 am    Post subject: problem with booking agents' description of my property Reply with quote

In need of some advice please folks.
I have a complex of 9 cottages, swimming pool, games room, spa room, tennis court etc, and am with a well-known agency (don't know if I am allowed to name them).
I've been operating for 17 years - same agency all the way - but since last year, bookings have been dropping off, and this summer is really bad, only 1 or 2 weeks for some cottages.
Out of the blue, I had an email from said agency, with "suggestions to improve my bookings", one of which was to instal Wifi. They added that Wifi is one of the most popular search criteria, second only to hot tubs.
Hold on there, I have had Wifi for about 7 years.
Further investigation showed that none of my cottages were showing as having Wifi - anyone ticking the box for requiring Wifi was not being shown any of my cottages.
It took them a week to restore it to their website, but I feel I have now "missed the boat" for summer bookings.
They have now admitted that they removed Wifi from my cottages in January 2017 for no reason that they can explain, and without notifying me. I don't regularly check the details so I hadn't known. It ties in with a decline in bookings since then.
Can anyone advise me where I stand please? I feel that they have been negligent and that I should be compensated for lost bookings - their rep is blustering about not being able to prove that not showing Wifi is the cause of lack of bookings.
I would really appreciate any thoughts or advice - thank you.
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1754
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm afraid you won't get any compensation. It's really up to you to check your adverts/agency on a regular basis as a potential guest to see if there are any problems particularly if you see your bookings go off a cliff.
Websites do have bugs.
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1463
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with newtimber. Were you to take this agency to court on grounds of negligence. I guess their main defence would be your own contributory negligence in not checking your advertisement regularly for errors. But I can see your point, alcooper, because the agency did say, without prompting, that you needed Wifi to improve your booking rate and now they are trying to back track on discovering their error. You might win your case but the damages awarded would, I think, be disappointing. Maybe not even worth all the trouble. This is my view; others may disagree.
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 1138
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bearing in mind the above advice (legal advice). How can you now use this difficult situation to your advantage?
Can you negotiate hard for other benefits such as a reduction in commission on bookings plus additional advertising where your complex is given a lot of high profile promotions?
Agreement for you to accept more of your own bookings??

I am sure there will be other ideas, and you will need to carefully think this through. Right now that may be difficult as you will be angry, frustrated and upset.

Whatever you negotiate, make sure that it is not a short term deal that is done. If the agency has worked well for you in the past, then you have made them a lot of money and they should be prepared to look after you to keep you.
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Veragirl



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Vera, Almerķa, Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi alcooper,
I would ask the agency why the need for this recommendation if that hasn't got anything to with your loss of bookings?
Quote:
Out of the blue, I had an email from said agency, with "suggestions to improve my bookings", one of which was to install Wifi. They added that Wifi is one of the most popular search criteria, second only to hot tubs.

And then at the next breath be claiming this!
Quote:
their rep is blustering about not being able to prove that not showing Wifi is the cause of lack of bookings.

Finally you can obviously prove the correlation from their fault of removing something that was there and lack of bookings.
Quote:
They have now admitted that they removed Wifi from my cottages in January 2017 for no reason that they can explain, and without notifying me. I don't regularly check the details so I hadn't known.
Sad Confused
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7267
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent point from zebedee given the advice about compensation. I too would be spitting but I'd also be insisting they get my bookings back up to scratch. For this year get them to do a special promo to existing clients NOW, have them market the hell out of your properties. Negotiate hard on their commission. In fact I'd be going for a year of commission free bookings! Show them the loss you've experienced.
Keep on their backs.....as you've had good results previously they can not deny this has hit you hard.

Also, I wouldn't be dealing with a rep I'd be talking to the owner or MD. It's bad publicity. As an owner I'd be horrified that there's a possibility this could happen.

Good luck. I feel for you.

Mouse
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alcooper



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 31
Location: Devon, England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you to everyone for your advice.
I really wouldn't want to go to court over this, I just want the bookings!
I will contact the Head Office tomorrow and try and negotiate something with them along the lines of promotion - I have been with them for 17 years. The rep has admitted to me in the past that his job is no longer to support existing owners but to concentrate on getting new properties - these are the ones they promote on their website/facebook.
If the boot was on the other foot, and I had removed a facility without informing them, I would be in a lot of trouble with them now!
Many thanks.
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1754
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Veragirl wrote:
Hi alcooper,
I would ask the agency why the need for this recommendation if that hasn't got anything to with your loss of bookings?
Quote:
Out of the blue, I had an email from said agency, with "suggestions to improve my bookings", one of which was to install Wifi. They added that Wifi is one of the most popular search criteria, second only to hot tubs.

And then at the next breath be claiming this!
Quote:
their rep is blustering about not being able to prove that not showing Wifi is the cause of lack of bookings.



I would assume that the email advising you to install wifi was an automated email sent to every holiday owner who didn't have wifi. One gets a lot of these and they are just marketing. No doubt all those who don't have hot-tubs get sent an email advising owners to install hot-tubs as they are the more popular search criteria and then in the winter, log-burners will be the most popular search term..
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gardenboy



Joined: 02 Jul 2011
Posts: 272

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gosh terrible news you took your eye off the ball.

I have a few local similar villas that i use as reference, if they let more than me i look to see why, pricing, services etc. They don't i let c 50% more as i am more expensive and offer a lot more.

Also, I drive by the other villas i usually see no car outside theirs and mine is let...makes me smile.

Sorry anyway, as mouse says speak with the md he should be gutted.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 410
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your rep sounds as if he's not interested, or does not have any authority to help you. Go to the top - MD or CEO level. They may be unaware of this mess up by their staff. (Often the staff concerned will try to hide mistakes). Squeeze what you can out of them. In my opinion they OWE YOU BIGTIME after 17 years loyalty from you.
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alcooper



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 31
Location: Devon, England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The email I got wasn't an automated one, it was from a named person in Customer Services who replied to me as soon as I raised the issue. They put the Wifi details back on as soon as I pointed it out although it took almost a week for their website to update! She apologised profusely but apologies don't increase my bookings! And yes, the rep is only interested in taking on new properties - I assume he works on some commission basis - he actually responded to my request to find out what had happened by saying he is too busy on the road or in meetings! Head Office, here I come!
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 410
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck. Suggest you keep a log of who said what to you at what time.
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miss mouse



Joined: 26 Jul 2010
Posts: 94
Location: UK coast

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the website link you provide here in your posting there is a link eventually to WiFi being available if I bother to trawl that far. Plus the website does not seem to have been updated since 2013.

The place looks lovely but no WiFi immediately obvious and I scroll on. Sorry.
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alcooper



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 31
Location: Devon, England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

miss mouse wrote:
From the website link you provide here in your posting there is a link eventually to WiFi being available if I bother to trawl that far. Plus the website does not seem to have been updated since 2013.

The place looks lovely but no WiFi immediately obvious and I scroll on. Sorry.


you are looking at our own website - I don't bother much with it because most of our bookings come from the agency's website, and that is the one where they have removed Wifi.
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1754
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck! I would read the contract you have with your letting agent.

For example, one I found online reads :-
Quote:
The Agency will use their best endeavours to arrange holiday lettings of the property throughout the period of this agreement. However, nothing in this agreement shall entitle The Owner to any claim against The Agency for failure to book the property at any time during the period of this agreement.


I suspect most have this type of get out of jail free clause as they wouldn't want to be liable for anything.
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