For the last year I’d been advertising my holiday rental in Kirazli in the Turkey section of TripAdvisor and it had gone well and we’d had bookings and won awards and hosted really nice guests but now I’ve switched my allegience to AirBnB.
Over the last year I had grown increasingly disenchanted with TripAdvisor, the site was really overcrowded, their mapping was totally wrong (Altinkum south of Antalya? I think not!) and any communication I had to have with FlipKey, the rental arm of Trip Advisor, was fraught and to be honest, on their part, kinda snotty.
When I complained that a couple of my Indian guests were having trouble posting a review I got a high handed demand that the guests supply rental contracts and proof of travel before their review could be approved. That seemed a bit excessive and I didn’t want to subject my guests to the hassle so I blamed a glitch in the system and thanked the guests anyway for a review that would never appear. It was the thought that counted.
When Flip Key put their rates up sky high this summer I knocked advertising with them on the head. It all seemed a bit one sided. The guests would book direct with me, I would look after the guests and they would supply a review to TripAdvisor; as Trip Advisor base their whole business model around those reviews it seemed unfair – I was bringing in the reviews that made their site popular and they were charging me a fortune for it!
Such is the power of a name. Tripadvisor was a fantastic idea, I totally relied on it years ago, now it’s trading off it’s reputation and as a writer I see just how many jobs are advertised for freelancers to “write travel reviews on well know website”! Those reviews on there aren’t that real anymore.
Now I’ve switched my advertising to a new company called AirBnB – http://www.airbnb.com/ and their motto is Travel like a Human!
I really like that motto and the business model they use. You do your job and they do theirs. They manage the money and advertising side of things and you manage the guest side of things and as they specialise in one off unique places, more home stay than soulless hotel room, they suit what we offer as the studio is really a home stay kind of place.
Despite being awesomely efficient they are also sensible and safe; they link into your Twitter and Facebook accounts and as you are often bringing people into your home it is nice to see the safeguards they build in and how much information you get about the people who want to come and stay with you. It really does feel more human.
They are also putting in the legwork that makes sure they are visible and accessible in this high tech world. The website is iPhone friendly, which is good for travellers making last minute accommodation decisions, and good for us as we offer rooms at the last minute. They are spending a lot of money advertising in all the right places and so far I’ve had four bookings with them, three for this month alone and I’m really happy.
They even send you little reminders when your guests are due and if you send them a question real people respond in a really friendly way. Perfect mixture of high tech efficiency and personal service. Rare indeed in this world!
If I could just find a way to import my fantastic (and genuine!) Trip Advisor reviews onto my AirBnB profile I would be a very happy girl indeed.
And if you are in the area of Ephesus and Selcuk and would like B&B somewhere with character and charm and you want to pay by credit card and use a reliable provider – here’s the link to my AirBnB rental page http://www.airbnb.com/rooms/97968
Mi Casa es Su Casa, we would be honoured to have you here.