Guests will not be happy if you tell them what you charge per night and they realize they overpaid through an affiliate site online. Yes, it’s not your fault, but sometimes it’s hard for guests to understand that. It makes your life harder and is an issue you want to avoid.
The problem: Travel agents and affiliates who are up-charging your property on their website.
This has been happening more as online bookings and affiliate websites have become more popular.
Websites such as Travel by Inspire are charging between £20 and £30 more than your rate. They pocket this difference to make a profit. Smart, hey?
I suggest you research your property and see if you appear on any of these affiliate websites. In case you are, let me share with you how to fix this problem!
Steps to the solution
As I said, search your property on the affiliate website. Enter dates when you know you have rooms available and see what the affiliate charges. If they are overcharging, then get on your phone right now. Call that website and ask them where they got your information.
When I went through this process, the affiliate that was overcharging for my rooms said they got the data from TotalStay. So I called TotalStay and they said that they worked with countless affiliates, but that they got most of their information through Expedia.
NOTE: Keep in mind that when you sign up to be on websites like Expedia, you’re also signing up to work with their hundreds of affiliates. Expedia wants to cover all possible bases. They don’t fully bank on guests landing on their website all the time to book. As a result, they outsource your information.
So I called Expedia. They told me that any information that I see on the Internet, like my rates and the pictures of my hospitality, need to match the origin of that information. That brought me to my final, most important question: “How come affiliates like Travel by Inspire are getting away with these higher rates?”
The answer is that affiliates will sign up to get your information sent to them and then keep it after the affiliate program expires. Those rates may not be correct, but they’re what the affiliate will continue to display.
If the rates or pictures on affiliate sites are incorrect, let Expedia know! They will either contact said affiliate to update their information or they will cut off the link. Problem solved!
When you face this issue, treat the root cause. Make your calls and go to the source of information – Expedia, in my case – and explain the circumstances. They will help solve the problem.
One way to avoid this problem in the first place is by educating your guests to book directly through your own website. Marketing helps with education, but be patient. It takes some time to catch fire.
I’ve made a YouTube video on how to stop affiliates from ripping off your guests. Watch it here!
If you would like more info or have any questions, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out my other training videos here.