Motel Mingle Forums Online Bookings The New Wotif

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  • #3365

    O.K. guys, Wotif has moved to the new hybrid Expedia platform. But, check it out. Do not trust these guys to have done the right thing. Gone is the old user friendly Wotif we all new and loved. Now we have an Expedia look-a-like.

    Firstly, a number of operators have been moved across, but are displayed as ‘sold out’ even though they have availability. Make sure you are not one of them. I am and have e-mailed Expedia for an explanation.

    The ‘review’ scoring looks a little strange as compared to what Wotif was originally showing. I was showing 39 reviews with a 4.3/5 score. I now show as 4.4/5 from 53 reviews. Magic!

    Now look at the description script written by Expedia/Wotif of you establishment. Instead of being 3 minutes walk from the shopping centre; I am now 30 minutes from everything!

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    • #7428

      BusybeesBusybees

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      • Topics Started 22
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        This happened to a colleague,

        Just received a booking via Expedia where we were charged 24.5% commission or rather how Expedia explained it 15% plus a 10% discount to existing Expedia customers.

        Apparently Expedia recently sent an email to all properties advising of the promotion with an oft out availability. We have not seen this email so I am guessing that other properties may not have received the email or may not have acted upon it.

        Can I suggest that to ensure that you are not caught that you immediately contact Expedia and opt out of the promotion.

        I did send an email and said that I wanted to opt out BEFORE you joined me up as I have never and will never agree to these types of promotions.
        So far touch wood i have not had this happen!

        • #7434

          PortlandcabbagePortlandcabbage

          Participant
          • Topics Started 2
          • Replies 22

            I got hit with the same thing from Expedia. I was not impressed. They said that it was a promotion that I was signed up into when I joined Expedia. I advised them that I will cancel my contract with them unless this promotion was removed from from my bookings. They went on about how I will get more bookings by offering it, but bad luck about the less money I will make! I was then advised that I could opt out of this promotion if I so wished to do so. I opted out and have had no further problems. It is a rort just for them to get more people to use their booking service.

        • #3746

          Applegum

          Participant
          • Topics Started 2
          • Replies 21

            Hi, Our website has a “Special Loyalty Rate” option set up by our provider where we can offer either a dollar or a percentage discount over what is shown on the OTA’s as well as equal rates, the guest has the option to choose which rate to book, we have not had any of them question us on this yet and as mentioned by Ballina Colonial we can always shout “Fair Trading”. on a positive note we have finally had all 113 reviews filter through onto the “New Wotif” after weeks of hounding them. it was amazing how quickly they came back to us when I made a comment on Facebook instead of phone calls that were not answered and emails that were ignored. The power of social media.

            • #7437

              Angimon

              Participant
              • Topics Started 14
              • Replies 80

                Hi
                So, I’ve looked further in to their “mates rates”. This, from what I can see, is an extra 10% discount on SELECTED properties. My property is not one of these. I am unsure whether guests, once signed up, receive incentives such as credit towards future bookings from all properties they book, or only from specific properties.

                However, it seems that there is some type of loyalty program with Expedia; whether it is called “mates rates” or not I am unsure.

                I am lead to believe that when a guest that is a member of this loyalty program books with me (or anyone else NOT signed up to any promotion), they get an incentive including credit towards a future booking. The guest told me that, by booking my property at $124 via Expedia, when he took in to account the credit Expedia give him, the booking only cost him $100 in real terms. I was unable to match the $100. He booked through Expedia, leaving me with around $110 after commission. In other words, he could book my property cheaper than I could offer it to him direct. This is where I have the issue. Expedia, due to their size, can offer deals like this so that we don’t get direct bookings and thus we become more reliant on them. This is why I was wondering if the ACCC have heard about this… also, of course, the guest may have stretched the truth on the real term booking cost; either intentionally or unintentionally 😉

              • #7431

                Angimon

                Participant
                • Topics Started 14
                • Replies 80

                  Hi Busybees
                  Thanks for that. I have called Expedia and my property is not part of any promotion. I have asked for info regarding their “mates rates” promotion, but the person I spoke to knew nothing about it, although if you go to Wotif.com to search for accommodation there is a link to sign up for it. I asked for them to send me an email to explain it…and I got cut off. Well done Expedia!!

                  • #7440

                    Angimon

                    Participant
                    • Topics Started 14
                    • Replies 80

                      Looks like it is called Expedia+

                • #3734

                  PortlandcabbagePortlandcabbage

                  Participant
                  • Topics Started 2
                  • Replies 22

                    Hi Angimon and Ballina, I have taken the same approach as you Ballina and have not as yet signed up to Wotif. I have till the end of the month. I have decided not to sign with them as I refuse to pay their fees and I also don’t like them telling me that my own rates cannot be cheaper than theirs. I did the same as Mountain Man (May 7th) and upped my rates on all OTA sites to cover the commission charges. Then I signed up with TripAdvisor for a Business Listing which then includes my Motel Name, Address, Phone, Email, Website and any Specials I want on my TripAdvisor webpage. My specials are advertising to book direct for a cheaper rate! Customers can click on my details and this takes them straight to my own website where I got SiteMinder to set up a Booking Button for me which includes a page with rates and availability. I have put reduced rates (no commissions) on this site and so far it is working really well, I am getting direct emails and bookings from my booking page from people who go to TripAdvisor and connect with me through there. I am still getting bookings from Booking.com as well and I will stay with them as they are my biggest OTA. Hopefully I will not notice the difference when Wotif finishes with me, but if it causes too much damage then I figure I can re-sign up with them later, I would rather do that than sign up now and be locked into a contract and regret it.

                  • #3731

                    imageBallina Colonial Motel

                    Participant
                    • Topics Started 10
                    • Replies 87

                      Hi Angimon. I’ve not heard of ‘Standalone Bookings’. Is this the same as their ‘Hotel Collect’ which is basically a mirror image of Booking.com , where you decide when to collect the monies. Be aware that some of these deals only give you exposure to Australia and NZ and not world wide. There is for example a 10% commission deal that does just that Oz + NZ.

                      We have the ‘Hotel Collect’ with 100% taken at time of booking (better the monies in my pocket than theirs), but beware ‘YOU ONLY HAVE 72 HOURS’ from the time of the booking in which to cancel the booking if the Credit Card is declined. I fell foul of this the other week by just one hour and it then took seven days of haggling with Expedia to get it cancelled. If fact they were unable to do so till they had contacted the client and they had agree to cancel!

                      I did read somewhere that the OTA’s were running scared of the ‘parity rate’ issue and not enforcing it and if challenged by them you only had to shout ‘Fair Trading’ and they would run away.

                      I am thinking of discounting my ‘booking button’ prices, maybe by way of a ‘permanent promotion’ and see what happens.

                      • #3740

                        Angimon

                        Participant
                        • Topics Started 14
                        • Replies 80

                          Thanks Ballina Colonial

                          The contract I have calls it Standalone Booking. I’m not with Booking.com so am unfamiliar with how theirs works. Oz & NZ is good for me as I don’t think I’ve ever had an overseas booking through WOTIF from anywhere else. I was also thinking of how to do the promotion thing, and think PortlandCabbage below might have hit on it as I have a TA Business listing but am not currently the Special Offer!

                      • #3728

                        Angimon

                        Participant
                        • Topics Started 14
                        • Replies 80

                          OK, I have until 31st of this month until the old WOTIF is scrapped for good (apparently). I am thinking of going with what they call ‘Standalone Bookings”. This is the 12% commission rate where I do all the work. Has anyone signed up with this model, and what are your feelings about it? Is it worth the 3% saving or is it a total schmozle? Has anyone taken the other paths where WOTIF/Expedia take the money and you do the virtual card or the old invoicing method? How are they working for you? Any ideas about how to get around not being able to advertise a lower price? I would gladly ditch all OTAs… realistically how does this work out for anyone that’s done it?

                        • #3553

                          BusybeesBusybees

                          Participant
                          • Topics Started 22
                          • Replies 232

                            Every time the guest check ins that has booked online I tell them how we don’t charge cc fees or booking fees or cancellation fees, and explain that it us that give those tariffs to the OTAs and that we will match them should they book directly with us. Plus you also get all the information when you book directly.
                            I know its going to take FOREVER to convert everyone, and then there will be some that will just continue to book online BUT if EVERY motel did the same thing it would get the message out there faster and reinforce it.
                            I have been saying since I joined that I wish all booking and cancellation, policies were the same. That all motels adopt the same practices so that the guest IS informed and knows what to expect instead of me hearing. ” oh you’re the first motel that said that” or “I was allowed to at my last motel” So now to add to this I wish every motel would inform their guests to book directly and not with OTAs.
                            I know … I live in a dream world!!

                          • #3550

                            Mountain Man

                            Participant
                            • Topics Started 2
                            • Replies 26

                              I think the only way to take power off these thieves is to refuse to use them. I know some of you take a lot of bookings through these sites (which we didn’t) so it may be a case of easy to say. We had all sorts of issues with these sites and in the end we decided they just weren’t worth it.
                              12 to 15% commission is just outrageous, especially when their contracts say that your own site’s rates can’t be lower.
                              We just upped the rates on their sites and nobody said boo, then we decided that advertising ourselves on their sites with inflated rates was counter-productive……we ditched them all and haven’t been happier.
                              The questions I would ask: What is your profit margin? Because 12-15% takes a big bite out of it I would suggest. Is the extra traffic really good for business or are you just making your occupancy stats look better? Are you just attracting bargain hunters who wear out your rooms for no return?

                            • #3548

                              Angimon

                              Participant
                              • Topics Started 14
                              • Replies 80

                                As this is by far the most popular topic on this site, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas of how we can ‘fight back’?
                                Public sentiment and news items at the moment are focusing on overseas companies not paying tax in Australia, and how hard the current climate is for small business. So, I was thinking of putting a dreaded sign up in Reception (and believe me, this idea didn’t come easy, as I am a sign-hater!) My sign (to be finalised) will go something like this…
                                “Did you know that many third-party booking sites pay no tax in Australia? They take between 12 and 15% of any booking…. that’s money that isn’t taxed and doesn’t go in to maintaining or improving our motel. If you would like to support small business and improve our facilities, please remember to book direct… and remember, we can offer you the same rate!”
                                It would be great if we could start a bit of a revolution, and get guests to book with us direct and take some of the power back!
                                What do you think?

                              • #3544

                                Mountain Man

                                Participant
                                • Topics Started 2
                                • Replies 26

                                  Start of rant:
                                  Third party booking sites are little more than un-deserving leeches on our revenue. We no longer use them, and don’t feel that we have suffered as a result.
                                  End of rant.

                                  • #7424

                                    Angimon

                                    Participant
                                    • Topics Started 14
                                    • Replies 80

                                      So, it looks like Expedia (WOTIF, HOTELS.COM and all their associated websites) now have a new weapon against all of us small businesses. Their loyalty program (I think it’s called Mates Rates or some such thing). Now, when booking, guests can get discounted rates and earn points towards free stays…. A guest told me he was able to book via EXPEDIA and taking in to account the incentives given to him, it worked out at a rate that would put us out of business. Now it seems that when we say ‘book direct for the best rate’ we may no longer have the best rate. Just wondering if anyone else has encountered this, and whether the ACCC are on to this. Previously the OTAs were holding us to ransom, now it seems that they are slitting our throats.

                                  • #3536

                                    imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                    Participant
                                    • Topics Started 10
                                    • Replies 87

                                      Stay247 is a great little OTA website and very friendly. Unfortunately, after being on it for three years we received not one single booking! Thus, just at the beginning of this year when I reviewed the performance of all our OTA, I dumped them.

                                    • #3534

                                      Applegum

                                      Participant
                                      • Topics Started 2
                                      • Replies 21

                                        Hi All,
                                        Just signed up with stay247.com, local company 10% commission and when I emailed about some issues I was having with the setup I received a phone call within 2 minutes to help me sort out these issues and get up and running. I am still waiting for a reply to an email I sent to Wotif on Monday and I’m not holding my breathe on that one.

                                      • #3532

                                        imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                        Participant
                                        • Topics Started 10
                                        • Replies 87

                                          Brumby hi

                                          There is a good reason why you got a booking through the ‘old’ Wotif. That is because the affiliated websites that Wotif used haven’t or can’t be converted over. This may be legal or contract reasons. So for example Lastminute.com still exists and that is why we were told to maintain the inventory on ‘old’ Wotif in order that these offshoots have information.

                                        • #3481

                                          Brumby

                                          Participant
                                          • Topics Started 3
                                          • Replies 30

                                            Hi Guys, I have received several calls to sign up to new Expedia contract. I sent them written questions but they refuse to respond in writing, only to discuss on Phone. Finally a threat,
                                            Here’s new take on rate parity…http://guestadvisor.altervista.org/planned-failure-booking-otas-almost-venere-booking-expedia-hrs-initalia-co-advent-tripconnect-abolition-parity-rate-fears/?utm_campaign=UpCloo&utm_medium=inline-grey&utm_source=it-mt96DQeao-guestadvisor.altervista.org

                                          • #3478

                                            BMM

                                            Participant
                                            • Topics Started 6
                                            • Replies 46

                                              Further to my last post on April 20th, after some shouting and complaining, we finally are up and running on Expedia.

                                              Not necessarily by choice, but we will grin and bear it, and hope that it gets us more business

                                            • #3475

                                              BMM

                                              Participant
                                              • Topics Started 6
                                              • Replies 46

                                                Have just been enforced to join EXPEDIA and list with them.
                                                Bad News- My WOTIF page shows SOLD OUT even though we have inventory loaded.
                                                3 days and many emails, and still no reply and still not fixed.

                                              • #3467

                                                Brumby

                                                Participant
                                                • Topics Started 3
                                                • Replies 30

                                                  I have just received a booking from the old Wotif with with CC and all. Expedia must be resurrecting it again.

                                                • #3456

                                                  Brumby

                                                  Participant
                                                  • Topics Started 3
                                                  • Replies 30

                                                    Just received this email. For those who receive new contracts read carefully and contest it. See what happens.
                                                    “The below email is an automated reminder – I have passed your feedback to management. For now, we will leave you on your current agreement.

                                                    We will be in touch.

                                                    Should you require assistance or have any queries in the interim, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself.”

                                                  • #3452

                                                    PortlandcabbagePortlandcabbage

                                                    Participant
                                                    • Topics Started 2
                                                    • Replies 22

                                                      I am with you. I told Wotif that I am not signing up with the new contract. Wotif supply less customers to me than Booking.com and I am now encouraging guests to phone the motel direct. Here is an article regarding Rates and competition:

                                                      HOW TO GET THE BEST HOTEL RATE:

                                                      Full story at news.com.au

                                                      IF you ring a hotel, what are the chances of getting a better price than Wotif? High — and rising.
                                                      With online travel agents’ commissions on the way up, accommodation providers are offering to split with guests what they would otherwise pay to the likes of Booking.com or Expedia.
                                                      You may well ask why — in this time-poor, digital age — must we go to the trouble of phoning? Can’t the hotels just offer a lower, commission-free rate on their own websites?
                                                      Unfortunately they cannot. Most have been contractually prohibited from promoting prices cheaper than what can be found on agent websites.

                                                      RELATED: How to get the most out of credit card rewards programs
                                                      But this “parity clause” does not apply to private discussions.
                                                      “If someone was to book over the phone then the online travel agents wouldn’t be able to chase the parity issue,” said Best Western Australasia’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing Steve Richards.
                                                      Australian Hotels Association spokesman Bradley Woods said: “Contacting hotels directly and asking for a competitive rate will generally allow consumers to save on the price of accommodation.”

                                                      Phone versus computer … phone wins.

                                                      When News Corp Australia asked Expedia if its advertised rates could be undercut with a phone call, it declined to answer the question. Instead, in a statement, spokeswoman Kelly Cull said “customers choose to book with Expedia for a number of reasons … (including) the ability to book how and when they want via the web, mobile, tablet or phone, access to special rates by booking a hotel and flight together, the option to pay now or pay later for a hotel and earning points for their travel through our new loyalty program”.
                                                      Ms Cull said: “We aim to give Australian travellers choice and make researching and booking travel as easy and relevant as possible, however, it’s ultimately the traveller’s choice of where they choose to book.”
                                                      Another way accommodation providers get around parity clauses is by asking guests who have booked with online travel agents for their email address on departure.
                                                      They then write to the guest offering, say, free breakfast during their next stay — provided it is booked direct.
                                                      A third involves “qualified” offers, such as discounts for seniors card holders or loyalty club members.
                                                      These are exempt from the parity clause because they are not generally available.
                                                      Best Western’s loyalty club membership had grown 225 per cent in the past year, Mr Richards added.
                                                      While the legality of a rate parity clause has been called into question in other countries such as Germany, it has yet to cause major concerns for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
                                                      The watchdog did seek industry views on whether it could be circumvented, as part of its scrutiny of Expedia’s $700 million purchase of Wotif last year.
                                                      Ultimately the ACCC waved the deal through, saying there wouldn’t be a “substantial” lessening of competition.
                                                      Hotels had warned the acquisition would lead to higher online commissions.
                                                      These concerns now appear well-founded, with several trade publications reporting multiple agents’ commissions have been jacked up by a quarter to 15 per cent.

                                                    • #3451

                                                      Brumby

                                                      Participant
                                                      • Topics Started 3
                                                      • Replies 30

                                                        I have received a new contract. Apart from 15% commission there are many issues that I have concern. This is the email I have sent them. Has anybody signed up to this contract? I urge caution. No urge total boycott of Expedia. Any takers?
                                                        Hi Christine,
                                                        I refer to your phone call and was surprised to learn that Wotif was experiencing financial problems which resulted in it’s sale. Goes to show that we mere mortals do not know what is happening behind the scenes.
                                                        Just some quick notes on the New Contract.
                                                        Room, Rate and Availability
                                                        1 b I have difficulty with this as this would be uncompetitive practice and we could run foul ACCC rules. Can you assure me that this is a valid clause. I make this observation in light of this article http://www.accomnews.com.au/industry/154-news-in-brief/4981-ban-likely-for-ota-rate-parity-deals

                                                        1 c What would be the situation where error is made by Expedia? We are in a remote area, and our office closes 9-10 PM. Who will bear the costs where a guest ignores the check-in times?

                                                        1 d I have major concern with is clause. What if the complaint is frivolous and invalid? Who will adjucate? There has been cases frivolous claims and demand for reimbursement or a bad review on trip advisor? There has also been complaints at checkout of matter that could have been fixed overnight if brought to our attention. There are numerous such issues and this clause does not cover it. You are waving a big stick with this one.

                                                        1 e Should we have a need to offload distress inventory at the last minute on our website, would I be contravening this clause?

                                                        1 b I have an issue this clause. At present we do not charge a credit card surcharge on Master or Visa but impose surcharge on all other cards including Amex and Diners. It is common practice to do so and accepted by Reserve Bank of Australia. This clause this clause there fore is ultra vires

                                                        1 d We are licenced to display AAA star rating only.

                                                        1 e Where Expedia offers a lower rate by discounting, we may than be in breach of BPG with other OTA. What then?

                                                        4 a In a situation where the last room is sold at the front office just as the booking is taken by Expedia, what happens then?

                                                        4 b I have difficulty with cancellation with no penalty for after check in.

                                                        4 c Where a guests agrees to receive communication from us, I see a conflict with clause.

                                                        4 e Will Expedia guarantee that it will comply with Australian Tax Laws and hold us indemnified from any claims for any transaction made by Expedia?

                                                        4 f What is OFAC?

                                                        4 g Will Expedia also provide a similar insurance to protect the property from any claims as per h?

                                                        4 i As this contract is entered into in Australia, shouldn’t Australian Law apply?

                                                        Generally I feel the Contract is unfair and may contravene ACCC guidelines (attached). I am seeking counsel and will revert to you.

                                                        • #3547

                                                          Angimon

                                                          Participant
                                                          • Topics Started 14
                                                          • Replies 80

                                                            Hi Brumby
                                                            I have just received my contract. How did you go with your email above? Many of my concerns are the same as yours. Did you sign subject to the above, or are they not willing to do so?

                                                        • #3450

                                                          imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                          Participant
                                                          • Topics Started 10
                                                          • Replies 87

                                                            News of the day. Expedia/Wotif introduced a new commission basis on Tuesday. Called ‘hotel collect’ it mirrors Booking.com at 12% and we collect the money, rather than a virtual credit card.

                                                            I am beginning to think that Expedia underestimated Australia as a simple push over. The people power of the industry and its supporting Associations was more than it bargained for and its six months of planning has been shot out the water and they are back-tracking as fast as they can. Next on the agenda; the removal of the unfair anti competition parity rate contract, where they have already lost the case in Europe. But only our Government can help us there.

                                                          • #3448

                                                            PortlandcabbagePortlandcabbage

                                                            Participant
                                                            • Topics Started 2
                                                            • Replies 22

                                                              I am having problems changing my Featured Photo on the Wotif site. Anyone know how I do this??

                                                            • #3437

                                                              imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                              Participant
                                                              • Topics Started 10
                                                              • Replies 87

                                                                Angimon hi. I don’t think you should castigate Star Rating Australia (SRA) too much on this one. They have taken the initial legal step to force Wotif/Expedia to differentiate as between STAR and Self-rated (a world 1st), but only to the extent that you have a valid contract with Expedia.

                                                                Without that contract, you are exposed to Expedia’s whim and cannot be protected by SRA. I suspect that ultimately Wotif/Expedia will give those that have not signed up 30 days notice, at which point those that have still not signed will be deleted from the system?

                                                              • #3435

                                                                Angimon

                                                                Participant
                                                                • Topics Started 14
                                                                • Replies 80

                                                                  Question answered. I just went to the customer site, and sure enough, show as self-rated… I guess I’ll be on to AAA after Easter to get them on to it… we don’t pay that money for a third-party to misrepresent our property.

                                                                • #3434

                                                                  Angimon

                                                                  Participant
                                                                  • Topics Started 14
                                                                  • Replies 80

                                                                    Hi Ballina Colonial

                                                                    Sorry, are you saying regardless of whether we’re AAA rated, if Expedia haven’t signed us we show as self-rated on WOTIF?

                                                                  • #3433

                                                                    imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                                    Participant
                                                                    • Topics Started 10
                                                                    • Replies 87

                                                                      Even a worm will turn and it looks like Wotif/Expedia are doing just that.

                                                                      As of today, a world first for STAR Ratings Australia who, through their trade mark ownership of Australia of ‘STARs’ have forced Expedia to show ‘dots’ for Self-rated properties for the first time. This has yet to filter through to the Expedia OTA site, but has now happened on the new Wotif.

                                                                      In addition, those properties that have yet to sign up with Expedia are also shown as Self-rated ‘dots’.

                                                                      There is still some way to go to get the site fully compliant, but this is a HUGE win for Australia over the all powerful American owned Expedia.

                                                                    • #3429

                                                                      Mr PetersenMr Petersen

                                                                      Blocked
                                                                      • Topics Started 4
                                                                      • Replies 61

                                                                        3 hours later and I have an update !

                                                                      • #3428

                                                                        imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                                        Participant
                                                                        • Topics Started 10
                                                                        • Replies 87

                                                                          I have also found Wotif/Expedia slow to update, but the saving grace was that if I went in and tried to book a room that was showing as available, but was in fact sold out, it did not let me book the room.

                                                                        • #3427

                                                                          Mr PetersenMr Petersen

                                                                          Blocked
                                                                          • Topics Started 4
                                                                          • Replies 61

                                                                            Hi Angimon.

                                                                            Ill do that tomorrow. I tried to call tonight but no-one home.
                                                                            In the past I have found that WOTIF is always the slowest for updates and where many are 4-5 mins, WOTIF has been around 10 mins. Right now, I am not getting updates ( I have been checking for two hours).

                                                                          • #3425

                                                                            Angimon

                                                                            Participant
                                                                            • Topics Started 14
                                                                            • Replies 80

                                                                              Mr Petersen
                                                                              I found that if you ring them and give them a bit of a serve they correct the availability. I had this issue last week, and after phoning they adjusted. I too have noticed updates seem to be pretty slow though… perhaps someone could ask what time-frame to expect for updates to take effect next time they do ring 🙂

                                                                            • #3424

                                                                              Applegum

                                                                              Participant
                                                                              • Topics Started 2
                                                                              • Replies 21

                                                                                I agree about carrying on as normal, when we are providing accommodation in Australia I believe the ATO would see that as a GST supply. As for updating Wotif that is a whole other story for us. Being part of a chain that has come to an agreement with Expedia we are locked out of our own offerings as far as Wotif goes, the listing only shows the rates from the chain and we have almost zero input.

                                                                              • #3423

                                                                                Mr PetersenMr Petersen

                                                                                Blocked
                                                                                • Topics Started 4
                                                                                • Replies 61

                                                                                  I have edited my listing in the WOTIF, using the Extranet access, as we always have. Nothing has changed there.
                                                                                  I have waited for an hour and the updates don’t seem to follow through. I have also tried updating through our GuestPoint software and Resonline, again, no changes on the site. I am sure it will change at some stage but an hour to add an availability for a room. In the meantime I could be losing bookings.

                                                                                  Anyone else have any luck with editing or changing rates?

                                                                                • #3422

                                                                                  imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                                                  Participant
                                                                                  • Topics Started 10
                                                                                  • Replies 87

                                                                                    I am not convinced that the blog comments I read on AccomNews under the article ‘OTAs (Expedia) must pay Hawaii taxes etc’ were correct and having done some research, I posted the following:

                                                                                    ‘I do not believe that either you or Expedia have got this correct?

                                                                                    An extract from the ATO website reads as follows:

                                                                                    Other exports generally include supplies of things other than goods or real property for consumption outside Australia, such as services, various rights, recreational boats, financial supplies and other professional services.
                                                                                    There are specific rules that determine whether such a supply is GST-free.

                                                                                    Broadly, a supply of a service is GST-free if the both the recipient of the service is outside Australia and the use of the service is outside Australia.

                                                                                    Example: Service used in Australia. A school in Australia provides tuition to overseas students in Australia. However, it bills the overseas parent of the student directly. As the supply is being made to a student in Australia the supply is not GST-free.’

                                                                                    I think that we carry on as normal until we hear otherwise from our accountants or the ATO.

                                                                                  • #3421

                                                                                    Applegum

                                                                                    Participant
                                                                                    • Topics Started 2
                                                                                    • Replies 21

                                                                                      Having just spent an hour on the phone to the ATO they seem as confused as we all are, there was no answer that they could find but they did suggest applying for a private ruling on the matter.

                                                                                    • #3420

                                                                                      Applegum

                                                                                      Participant
                                                                                      • Topics Started 2
                                                                                      • Replies 21

                                                                                        I remember reading somewhere in the last week about an OTA receiving a ruling against them for unpaid taxes and someone was pointing this out to the ATO.

                                                                                      • #3419

                                                                                        Angimon

                                                                                        Participant
                                                                                        • Topics Started 14
                                                                                        • Replies 80

                                                                                          So, does this mean on the new Wotif BOOKING CONFIRMATION/TAX INVOICE, it shows no GST? Do the guests pay no GST on the transaction?

                                                                                        • #3418

                                                                                          imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                                                          Participant
                                                                                          • Topics Started 10
                                                                                          • Replies 87

                                                                                            O.K. so it looks like my BAS return just got a little more complicated!

                                                                                            On this basis, by my calculations, we are way ahead. Even at 15% commission rate from Wotif/Expedia and with no GST to pay or recover on these transactions, we are 8% better off.

                                                                                            So why is everyone winging about a 15% commission rate?

                                                                                            We could in fact afford to pay Wotif/Expedia 20% commission to break even with the old Wotif 12% commission rate.

                                                                                            I quite like the Expedia financial model. They win, we win, but oh dear, the Government just lost out big time. ACCC were warned, but ignored or did not understand the issue. Wotif had a turnover of $1.14 billion last year; you do the sums. Could build a lot of ‘super schools’ with that or reinvest in tourism.

                                                                                          • #3417

                                                                                            imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                                                            Participant
                                                                                            • Topics Started 10
                                                                                            • Replies 87

                                                                                              I have just read a blog that has brought something to light that I had not realised. The move of Wotif to Expedia now means that you do not have to pay GST on the room ‘sale’ and conversely cannot claim it back on the ‘commission’.

                                                                                              Because payment is being made by ‘virtual credit card’ to an overseas entity, you are in effect making an ‘Export Sale’ (as per your BAS return) under the contract.

                                                                                              This also applies to rooms sold through the old Expedia, Agoda and any other overseas based OTA where a ‘virtual credit card’ is used. This does not apply to Booking.com, as you collect the money from the client, but remember that you can’t claim back GST on the commission you pay Booking.com.

                                                                                              What do you think? Am I a bit slow on the uptake, or has the industry as a whole not realised this?

                                                                                            • #3416

                                                                                              Mr PetersenMr Petersen

                                                                                              Blocked
                                                                                              • Topics Started 4
                                                                                              • Replies 61

                                                                                                The “old” WOTIF is now gone and access is only to the new version.
                                                                                                I guess that Expedia have just eliminated WOTIF. All we have is the domain name.
                                                                                                WOTIF phone number on listings is Expedia.
                                                                                                I haven’t tried to log in to change details, yet. I’ll try that next.

                                                                                              • #3410

                                                                                                Applegum

                                                                                                Participant
                                                                                                • Topics Started 2
                                                                                                • Replies 21

                                                                                                  A guest recently told us the phone number on Expedia for our listing was not our number, I tried the number today and got Wotif! A quick check shows all motels have the same phone number showing on Expedia.

                                                                                                • #3409

                                                                                                  Angimon

                                                                                                  Participant
                                                                                                  • Topics Started 14
                                                                                                  • Replies 80

                                                                                                    Thanks for some sort of logical explanation Ballina Colonial.

                                                                                                    I rang to have some details adjusted and my availability corrected, and asked when Expedia bought WOTIF. I was told by the WOTIF rep that this happened in November (which I think the offer was probably there but waiting for ACCC decision?). I then asked why they had changed to the new platform without any advice to the suppliers of how to get their listing to display correctly. Six months in the pipeline and not a word to us… craziness! So, my listing looks terrible and many details are incorrect… hopefully it just pushes people to book direct.
                                                                                                    Also, using Expedia for reviews is unfair as we are not all listed on this and therefore don’t have the option to take a higher score other than the .3 they give us.
                                                                                                    PS I must say how much I love all the Americanisation – talking about cribs etc! Great Aussie company WOTIF… NOT!

                                                                                                  • #3408

                                                                                                    imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                                                                    Participant
                                                                                                    • Topics Started 10
                                                                                                    • Replies 87

                                                                                                      Applegum hi

                                                                                                      Both the old and new Wotif exist. The old can only be accessed via any of the Google AddWords or Banner Pages (side advertising) or lastminute.com. So if you Google searched for ‘Wotif’ and then hit the top or side advert you get the old, but go to the first searched item gets you to the new.

                                                                                                      Anyway, this is the link to the new Wotif front page: http://www.wotif.com/

                                                                                                      The link to the old Wotif is now: http://www.wotif.com/?cid=SEM-6038&s_kwcid=AL!1912!3!62780311681!e!!g!!wotif&gclid=CjwKEAjw0LmoBRDHuo7UkaKXhn8SJADmDTG0reJJ9UEIm4cumufEAYDtbICZWOMD1MMMSnP7a_dlqRoCePPw_wcB&ef_id=VGbLswAAACFL@Go-:20150322222120:s

                                                                                                      Hope this helps.

                                                                                                      Yesterday I did an analysis of the 26 Ballina accommodation providers now loaded on new Wotif. Only 6 are 100% correct and only because they were correct on Expedia. In effect everything they loaded from old Wotif is incorrect for some reason. Amazing.

                                                                                                      This analysis also clearly demonstrates how they have fudge the ‘review scores. Their logic was that if your Expedia review score was greater than Wotif’s , use Expedia’s, if not, use Wotif’s and add 0.3 to the score. How bad is that?

                                                                                                    • #3407

                                                                                                      TIDYWAZZA

                                                                                                      Participant
                                                                                                      • Topics Started 12
                                                                                                      • Replies 94

                                                                                                        I can see both old & new versions. Old style from my saved search in Google Bookmark and the new version from a regular Google search.

                                                                                                      • #3406

                                                                                                        Angimon

                                                                                                        Participant
                                                                                                        • Topics Started 14
                                                                                                        • Replies 80

                                                                                                          Hi Applegum

                                                                                                          You must be one of the lucky few… when I look for my area it is still the new format!

                                                                                                        • #3405

                                                                                                          Applegum

                                                                                                          Participant
                                                                                                          • Topics Started 2
                                                                                                          • Replies 21

                                                                                                            Seems there has been a (temporary?) reprieve to the Wotif website update as it all seems to have reverted to the former layout, even when I look ahead a few weeks. I guess with so many issues they couldn’t ignore the outcry. it will be interesting to see what their next step will be regarding content and how much input they will enable us to have in our listing.

                                                                                                          • #3399

                                                                                                            imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                                                                            Participant
                                                                                                            • Topics Started 10
                                                                                                            • Replies 87

                                                                                                              A quick follow-up on the above. I sent AAA a copy and they have accelerated the issue and forwarded it to the Expedia Executive they have been talking too.

                                                                                                              I will likely get excommunicated from Expedia and Wotif as a result!

                                                                                                            • #3397

                                                                                                              imageBallina Colonial Motel

                                                                                                              Participant
                                                                                                              • Topics Started 10
                                                                                                              • Replies 87

                                                                                                                I thought I was alone on this one, but looks like other feel the same as me. I even got a survey from AAA to complete on the subject, so I guess there are some serious rumblings going on. And they want to charge us 15% for what?

                                                                                                                Below is an e-mail I have just sent to our local representative at Expedia:

                                                                                                                Fabio hi.

                                                                                                                Thank for sorting that out for me and a few others, but I see that there are still a load of others that remain as ‘sold out’. Mostly are in Byron, but also a Ballina’s Holiday Parks.

                                                                                                                I am sure that you are way distanced from the decision making process on this, but to me Expedia has basically destroyed everything that was good about the Australian entity of Wotif. I am already hearing noises from the industry that people are far from happy.

                                                                                                                Now can I raise the couple of other points I mentioned last week?

                                                                                                                Firstly, not all my ‘room types’ were transferred over from Wotif. I presume that unless there was a match with the existing Expedia, they were ignored? I have see nothing come through from you guys to advise that this is the case and that you then have to load those ‘room types’ onto Expedia yourself?

                                                                                                                Secondly ‘reviews’. Something has been fudged here? On the old Wotif, I had a score of 4.3 from 39 reviews. The new Wotif gives me a 4.4 from 53 reviews. How can that be? Coincidently Expedia shows me as 4.4 from 52 reviews! I have analysed this with other operators that were on Expedia and exactly the same has happened to them. Of the others that had not been on Expedia previously, their scores have all leapt. One had a 3.9 from 80 and now reads 4.2 from 97. Another has moved from a 4.4 from 101 to a 4.7 from 99. These are huge.

                                                                                                                Thirdly, why does a Ballina search have to include Byron accommodation? Now there are only 26 of use but 65 of them. The basic search will put Ballina operators first, but if you then sort by any of the criteria like ‘price’, ‘rating’, ‘class’ etc. we are just dumped in with everyone and lost. This would have to be a big turn off for customers, who would likely just move on to another OTA. Can we get this corrected? p.s. Lennox Head is even more extreme, as they only have 5 accommodation providers but are being swamped by 54 outsiders!

                                                                                                                Fourthly, who wrote the motel description script? My wife almost a heart attack when she read it. Attached is what is written in Expedia and then what has been written in the new Wotif. I have highlighted a few areas of concern. It reads that I am now 30 minutes from everywhere in particular the Shopping Centres, to which I am the closest at just 3 minutes walk. Ceiling fans seem to be more important than air conditioning; this is Australia and at this very moment the temperature is over 30 degrees. Room service sounds like a hotel, which we aren’t and don’t provide. Yes, we do provide breakfast to you room, but that is not the same thing. Can we get some of this corrected. p.s. have just sorted (I hope) the ‘room service’ by un-ticking the box on the extranet.

                                                                                                                Lastly and something very close to my heart, STAR Rating. I have just spent a year working with STAR Ratings Australia to get OTAs to display the correct STAR or Self Rating and keep the playing field level. The old Wotif, Booking.com and others worked together on this, but not Expedia. Now, to add insult to injury, the new Wotif not only does not use ‘dots’ to denote Self-rated, but overwrote the correct old Wotif STAR Rating with the incorrect ones that existed on Expedia! This has got to be corrected, as it is a trade mark breech not to display the correct rating. So we have Riverside Holiday Apartments who are 4 Self-rated not 4.5; Comfort Inn All Seasons who are 3.5 STAR Rated not 4; Ballina Island that are 3.5 STAR Rated not 4; Leisure-lee Holiday Apartments who are 3 Self-rated not 3.5. Can we get something done about this?

                                                                                                              • #3376

                                                                                                                TIDYWAZZA

                                                                                                                Participant
                                                                                                                • Topics Started 12
                                                                                                                • Replies 94

                                                                                                                  I have had my call this week to partake of the new agreement. I was very vocal of how the new screen shows properties and the plug in dates to see availability ect. It reminds me of Booking.com and I already hated their lay out, not to mention the overdone security logins every time I turn a page. I intend to elevate our internet displayed prices and rationalize the available rooms. I do not have prices displayed our a booking button on our website so selling cheaper at the door should not offend the OTA’s . Please return your agreement to the new contract to us by Friday was the request. Looks like a rocky road ahead for me as well.

                                                                                                                • #3374

                                                                                                                  Applegum

                                                                                                                  Participant
                                                                                                                  • Topics Started 2
                                                                                                                  • Replies 21

                                                                                                                    Hi,
                                                                                                                    I have looked at our “new listing” with the move of the Wotif platform and it is the worst, most out-dated listing you could imagine. I have contacted Wotif, Expedia and Best Western but of course each wants to shift the blame to the next one and none of them seem able to help with loading our photos we previously had on the listing which were 12 – 18 months old unlike the ones we now have which are over 10 years old. As for our ratings and reviews, they have not even filtered through so we have lost our 4.1/5 from 112 reviews. Because the current dates are still loading in the old format it is only when I skip forward 2 weeks the extent of shambles that Wotif has become is really apparent. We are not expecting too many bookings through Wotif in the future so I guess it is their loss commission wise.

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