Along with many accommodation providers in Cumbria, we have recently signed up for the Fair Booking scheme to try to persuade customers to book directly with us, as opposed to using On-Line Travel Agents.
You may or may not be aware that B&Bs, Guesthouses and Hotels have to pay between 15-20% in commission to such sites, levied on the VAT inclusive price.
Millions of pounds of commission are paid to these companies every month across the UK alone, and none of that money is re-introduced into the local economy, it goes to the multinational company's head office not in the UK, thereby being lost not only to the accommodation provider but to the wider UK economy. Payment of this commission is having a direct impact on UK tourism businesses generally, resulting in loss of profits and therefore less money to reinvest in staff, business, trade with local suppliers and in circulation in the community. In the long run, if this is allowed to continue it will lead to difficulties with maintaining jobs and in having the resources for important investments aimed at improving guest comfort and services.
Whilst we agree they have very professional and user-friendly websites a do sell rooms for us, and that they do sell rooms for us, we believe that there are many underhand tactics used by some agencies to 'con' the customer into thinking that they are booking directly with ourselves when in fact they are not. Many of these on-line agencies are global companies able to spend millions of pounds on sponsored website advertising, pushing themselves to the top of the internet search engines lists and pushing us down, below the paid for top spots. We feel that if a customer is looking specifically for Lingwood Lodge on an internet search, then it should be our own www.lingwoodlodge.co.uk site that appears at the top of the list. Even if a customer searches for Lingwood Lodge by name and location, we often end up 5th or 6th or worse on the search results, with the On-Line Travel Agents pages for our guesthouse appearing at the top. This gives the impression to the customer that they are actually going onto our site, which we feel is wrong. They even promise to offer the best prices, guaranteed to further entice you.
These sites cannot guarantee the best prices as we have to publish our room rates at an identical price whether through any on-line agency or through our own website. Please do not be fooled by them.
Fair Booking is a means of trying to help businesses like ours to receive more direct 'fair' bookings so we don't have to pay unwelcome commissions to such on-line agencies. It is all about making customers more aware of these issues and the damage it is having on businesses.
- Should you have sympathy with what you have read here and wish to make a booking with us, as an incentive for booking directly through our website or by telephone contact, please enter or quote the Promotion Code FBSAVE5 when making your reservation to receive a discount of 5% on your booking.
- In addition, Lingwood Lodge has pledged to donate £1.00 per booking to Cumbria Air Ambulance, a vital local organisation sustained entirely by voluntary donations, thereby helping to
support the local community and services.
For further information, please visit the Cumbria Tourism site www.golakes.co.uk
With thanks for reading this important information – Judy & Phil