Well House Manor isn't listed on public agency sites.
There's a big market in connecting hotels and hotel rooms with guests, and many companies provide a valuable service in that area. But the major part of that market, where customers book through an agency which then claims a commission payment, aren't for us. There are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, we want to keep our prices keen
. If you
pay us £95.00 for a room, we want to spend as much of that as we can on you
. The government already requires £15.50 VAT, and if an agency requires £10.50 of the gross
+ VAT, we're left with just £66.50 ! There's not a lot we can do about the VAT (except to ensure that we reclaim VAT on purchases, which in effect brings a percentage of that back), but we can save the booking agency fees if we can persuade you to book direct. And we can also save ourselves a lot of time-consuming expense and admin work in handling the booking fees; these may be fair enough for a 30 room hotel, but as we've got just five rooms it becomes almost "every booking a different case" at times as some agents take payments direct, others invoice for commission. Some pay by debit or credit card, others by BACS or cheque (and sometimes up to 60 days after you have stayed). And that's more of what you
are paying being spent on - well - something that's not really needed.
Secondly, we want to keep our pricing and products simple
. Listing on an agent's website may attract custom, but each listing will differ a bit. Is the price to be quoted in pounds or US Dollars? Are we setting up pricing on a per-night basis, or for the whole stay? How do we ask if you prefer Shower or Bath, Twin or double, if you would like to be collected from the local railway station, or if you have special dietary requirements? Can we appply our cancellation and payment terms, or do they percollate through from a site standard?
Thirdly, we don't want to dilute our limited room availability
. With our own booking system, availability's on our server and whether you phone us, ask at the front desk to book your next stay, or visit us online you're buying and checking from the same pool of rooms. We're not big enough to be splitting our stock across a number of web sites, and we certainly don't want to put the same limited supply up for sale in two places at the same time - we've seen from local experience how such a policy can lead very easily to double (and in one case, treble) booking, and very unhappy would-be customers, and we're simply not going there.
Fourth, we want to talk to you directly
, or at least have the opportunity to do so. Special requests, messages, why you're coming to Melksham is information which gets dulled at best, lost at worst, as it's passed through intermediaries. Far better for us to be as informed as you, the customer, wishes before you arrive. Then we can make the sensible decision as to which room best suits, perhaps have a taxi pre-booked. And our receptionist can so often say "I remember speaking with you on the phone when you booked - did you have a good journey".
And finally, we don't want to oversell
. It would be possible for us to generate more potential business. But then a lot of that business would have to be turned away, and there's little point in investing time, money and effort into a scheme that's going to fill the jug so full it spills over in a spectacular fashion. Looking a week ahead, we're already full for two nights, we've got just one room free on a third night, and just two rooms on a fourth.
So - do we not advertise? Well - yes we do, a little. Do we want new people to hear about us? Yes - absolutely - especially the people for whom our niche hotel is exactly right. And we want those people who have heard about us to be able to get an independent view of us as well.
So .. you'll find a link alongside articles like this in our archives - which people find online when searching - to Trip Advisor
. Now Trip Advisor has a mixed reputation, but it's going to be a darned sight more balanced than a hotel's own carefully selected reviews on its own web site. You'll find us listed on very specific web sites such as Friendly Places
, which (yes) we pay for, but which refer interested enquirers through to our own site and booking systems so they can ensure that we are
what they want. And you'll find us advertising in the Melksham Independent News
; that's not so much to get local people to stay with us (!!), but to help raise the local profile so that our friends in Melksham will be reminded of us from time to time and say "how about Well House Manor" when they have guests coming to town.
And you can find Well House Manor [HERE]
... and go direct to our booking engine [HERE]
. (written 2012-08-04, updated 2012-11-04)
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