I have been spending the last few days working on setting us up on Laterooms. Until last year, we did not use an online agent. However, with so many people preferring to book over the internet, we decided to take the plunge and signed up to Eviivo. The unfortunate thing is that Eviivo takes a commission of 6% plus VAT for any bookings off our own website, www.blenheim-lodge.com. If anyone books on any of their distributor sites that we are advertised on, the company takes a commission ranging from 6% to 17% plus VAT.
Now, we have decided to try another online agent as our accountant is horrified at the amount of commission we are paying, particularly for bookings off our own site, through which we get most of our bookings. To that end, I have been in touch with an online agent that allows commission-free bookings on our own site but charges a small amount on top of any commission payments made out to other internet booking agents, such as Laterooms. So, over the past 4-5 days, I have been spending my time registering and setting up our property on Laterooms.
The last few days were tough while I was trying to upload our details, but today as been the toughest. Before me were rows and rows of numbers, dates, symbols and blanks. I had to fill in our availability, rates and minimum stay periods. With 11 rooms to fill in and columns of numbers to look at, my eyes began to hurt and my head to ache. Even more problematic was the fact that I kept inputting information in the wrong places. My goal had been to finish off this aspect of Laterooms today, but I have given up. I am not usually defeatist in nature, but I can sense an impending disaster when I see one!
So here I am, taking a break and resting my eyes. I really want to advertise our guest house more widely, but I have this feeling that I will not be able to do it myself on Laterooms, because I am so afraid of making mistakes. (I find their screen very difficult to read, unlike some other sites, where the screens are easier to read and navigate.) The other web-booking site I mentioned before allows me to update availability not only on our site, but but also simultaneously updates any of their other partner sites that we might sign up to. The bugbear is of course the cost of commission. With the government taking a 20% VAT cut as well on all bookings, it is quite possible to find that if we are not careful, we can pay out a total of 37% costs plus VAT before any of our ongoing and specifically incurred costs, such as utilities, linen, and breakfast goods are even being taken into consideration.
Spring is round the corner and I had hoped to advertise our guest house on Laterooms. Perhaps I will feel differently tomorrow when my eyes have had a rest. We need to let people know that we are offering special discounts with 10% off forward bookings and late availability deals from £40 each per night for Bed and Breakfast. Aye, I think I will leave it till the morning now. My four eyes – yes, four! two natural eyes, and a pair of spectacles – will have slept the night, and perhaps I will feel more refreshed in the morning and more eager to beaver on.
Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’
Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com
Telephone: 015394 43440