I won’t say the name of this company as my aim is not to bash the competition (we are not competition for them, to small even to mention).
All I want to do is to inform our Owners and share what I am learning while travelling around Eastern Europe.
Why? Well, if there’s one thing I learned about the internet is that you first have to give and then you shall receive.
In this case what I give is fresh, from-the-road, perspective. What I shall receive I don’t know :)
Who is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com?
Why don’t say their name?
Well, they’re big and could sue me, knock at my door to keep me awake all night and so on.
It’s just not worth it and I am sure you’ll know who I am talking about if you work with them (and see below why it does not even matter who they are).
What I want to tell you is that your problem is shared by others (if you have it of course) and the reason I dedicate an article to this is that it seems to be a widespread, strong, feeling.
So, everybody seems to hate xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com (nope, the number of x is not a good indicator, they are random)
I mean hate.
Not being unsatisfied or suggesting improvements.
It seems to go at the much deeper emotional level.
That’s what impressed me the most.
The conversation normally goes like:
– “where do you get most of your customers?”
– “from [this portal], and [that portal] and [the other portal]. And of course many from xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com”
At that point their face betrays disgust and frustration.
The first time I saw it I asked:
– “why that face? Don’t they send you many customers?”
– “Yes, but they treat us really badly. They force policies on us and never listen”
I thought it was an isolated case but then it happened again, and again.
The main problem seems to be on the customer support level which has become arrogant and unresponsive.
In some cases they even removed the Owners’s policies from their page. Mess followed, of course.
It goes like “we’re big, you wanna work with us? Shut up and do as we say.”
They probably call themselves a “Customer Oriented Company” by the way.
They treat professionals like amateurs
The thing is that they talk like this to professionals owners, who know their job and do it with conscience and love.
I know that as I meet them every day.
Owners who would not accept this under normal circumstances but have to.
This company is too big and sends too many customers.
As this the “Too Big To Fail” banks sucking our money to pay themselves bonuses, this company is “Too Big to Be Told to F*** Off”.
Something is not right here.
One Owner told me this company will eventually die.
It seems unthinkable, but it comes from a guy with 20 years of experience in the field and has seen more than one “Too Big To Die” company…die.
More than that: he hopes they die. As soon as possible.
Now, how long can a company whose providers want it to die, survive?
I think that as long as the end customer (the tourist making the reservation and putting the money on the table) uses them as a reservation platform, they will survive.
Why do you put up with this?
Anyway, let’s forget for a moment this particular company and think about an ideal market where 70% of your customers
– Come from your websites.
– Are returning customer.
In that case you would be in a more powerful position and could simply say “no” (or something less polite) to companies like this.
Are you working on that?
One Owner recently told me “they are so bad but it’s true we could not survive without them and the other portals”.
So, are you working on that?
Think for it for a moment:
You own/rent the apartment, you check-in the customer, you clean the sheets, you answer the phone at 2 am in the morning, you pay the bills, fix broken stuff etc…
Without you, they could not even exist.
So, you probably deserve more respect.
I am not saying these companies should not exits.
Hey, WE are such a company sending customers for a commission and I believe there is always going to be the need for this kind of company.
We’ve been doing this for more than 10 years.
But you should be able to chose who to work with.
So, you know what?
It does not really matter who they are.
What matters is that you have to put up with them and this is not fair.
Monopoly is never good.
So, what to do?
I won’t write solutions here, this article is too long already.
But let me point a direction: direct reservations and cooperation between providers.
The internet was supposed to disintermediate.
You know: Customer buys directly from Provider.
Instead you are still dealing with a whole bunch of middle man companies (us included) who own the market.
You could get reservations directly. But you don’t.
You have it all set up: a nice website, a phone number, you may even have invested in “branding”.
Bit you still get just a small part of your guests directly.
Marketing seems to be everything.
Marketing is the powerful force which is able to place a McDonalds in Florianska street or close to Rialto bridge in Venice.
It’s f*****g criminal if you ask me.
It adds zero value, actually it degrades the street.
Why don’t we put a Colgate advert on the Mona Lisa then?
Let’s for the moment just say that there’s a lot room of improvement.
That’s what I will discuss with Owners in Krakow next week.
It’s going to be interesting.