Hi everyone! It’s April back with the next installment in our blog series. Today I’m going to share some tips and tricks for ways to improve your reservation-making experience! We’re going to talk a little bit about how to find The Berlin Grande’s contact information online, the way search engines work and third-party booking sites, as well as give some insight into the best times to call the hotel directly for an easy, hassle-free reservation-making experience. Ready to get started? Ok, let’s go!
FINDING OUR PHONE NUMBER
I’ve spoken to more than a few frustrated guests who have inadvertently booked with a third party because of the phone number they found online. How and why does this happen?
First, let’s take a quick look at how search engines like Google work…
Did you know that when you do an online search, the top results are paid advertising? (Google’s got to make money somehow, right?) It’s true – and this might make you wonder why our “ad” isn’t showing up in the number one spot – we are the Berlin Grande, after all, and one would naturally assume that if you Google our name you’re going to be taken straight to our information, but that’s not necessarily the case!
Simply put, third-party booking sites have way more spending power than we ever will, period. We are an independent, locally-owned hotel – not a branded or franchised property like Marriott, Ramada, Raddison, etc. and we just don’t have the resources to spend to make sure we end up in the number one spot in search results.
So, when you search the words Berlin Grande Hotel, you will see results similar to this:
The very first result that comes up is for reservations.com - not our website. It can get confusing, especially since you see that the website says berlingrandehotel.reservations.com – but wait, that’s a clue! You can tell by looking at this web address that it is for reservations.com because the word reservations is before the dot com. The berlingrandehotel portion before that is just a page that is on reservations.com. I've highlighted that for you so you can visually see what I'm referring to.
On the right-hand side of the screen is our Google business listing. This is the information that we have on our Google business account. On the listing, there is both a link to our website as well as our phone number, so the information can always be found there. I know those red circles are a little wonky, it’s hard to draw a nice circle with a mouse!
But what if you don’t want to dig for information? I have a little trick for you, and any time you need to look up a business phone number in a search engine, all you need to do is type the name of the business followed by the words “phone number.”
Your search will look something like this:
The first search result still isn’t us (again I highlighted the web address for your reference) and our Google profile information is still to the right – but best of all, our phone number is right below the first listing, in BIG BOLD numbers! This is an easy way to find the phone number of any business you might be searching for.
The easiest way to think about finding the type of information you’re looking for online is to be as specific as possible. For instance, if you were to search “puppies” on Google you would get an overwhelming amount of information and pictures of all kinds of super cute puppies... which honestly isn’t the worst thing to ever happen AND can put a smile on your face, right? But if what you were really looking for was information and pictures of Corgi puppies, you’re going to have to sift through a ton of stuff to get the info you need. Instead, searching for "Corgi puppies" will get you pictures and information on Corgi puppies specifically. Now let’s take it one step further. If you’re looking to add a Corgi puppy to your family and are looking for a breeder, you would want to search “Corgi puppies for sale” or “Corgi breeders in Ohio,” or something similar to that. Again, being as specific as possible will always produce better results!
Oh, and when you do decide to adopt that cutie little Corgi puppy? Don't forget we have 3 pet-friendly rooms here at the hotel so you can bring your pet along during your next visit!
THE BEST TIMES TO CALL
We do our best to avoid putting guests on hold when they call in to make a reservation, but at times it simply can’t be avoided. Like most businesses in the service and hospitality, we have been understaffed for an extended period, which means that often we only have one Guest Service Representative (GSR) at the front desk to not only check guests in and out for the day but also answer all phone calls and fulfill in-house guest requests.
Remember when I mentioned before about us being an independently owned hotel? This fact affects who takes your reservations as well. Unfortunately, we don’t have a massive call center (boy oh boy there are days I wish we did!) with booking agents whose only job is to take reservations all day long.
This might be what you think you’re getting when you call us to make a reservation:
But what you actually get when you call the Berlin Grande is something a little more like this:
We are masters of multi-tasking here at the Berlin Grande!
While we admit that there are some benefits to having a staff of individuals at the ready to sit and take reservations all day, there are some drawbacks as well.
For starters, call centers are rarely located in the area you are planning to visit. This means that those operators don’t have first-hand knowledge of the hotel itself and may not be able to answer your questions regarding room types and the specific needs for your visit.
The other drawback? Being that they aren't local, you'll probably have difficulty getting directions, recommendations for local attractions, and who makes the best fry pies in town (I know, I know…it's subjective and everyone has their personal favorite. But hey, we have eaten all the fry pies and can give you our honest opinion, lol!)
The busiest times of the day are during check out (the majority of guests check out between 9 am-12 pm) and then again at check-in around 3 pm, with Friday nights being especially busy (we often have 90 + check-ins on Friday nights!) Mondays also tend to be our busiest phone call days of the week with Sunday's least busy phone day.
If we do happen to put you on hold during your call, please be patient and know we are doing our absolute best to get back to you as soon as possible – or if you prefer, we can always take down your name and number and call you back when things are a bit less hectic or we have additional staff on hand for the day!
· Mondays and Fridays are our busiest phone days
· Mornings between 9 am-noon and afternoons during check-in at 3 pm we are most busy assisting in-house guests
· Sundays are the least busy phone days, especially after noon
We don’t want to dissuade you from calling any time you want! We just wanted to make you aware of our busiest times so you know what you might expect.
Of course, you always have the option of booking online, which can be done at any time whatsoever at your convenience. To book with us directly, always visit www.berlingrandehotel.com
THE BEST PRICE
Major kudos to the third-party booking sites! They have done a phenomenal job of convincing everyone that when you book through them you will receive the absolute lowest price (genius marketers, they are!).
But did you know that we set those rates? It's true – the rates that you see on third-party sites were set by us. What does that mean for you? Well, at the very least it means that we will price match it! Bear in mind, however, that we can only price match for the EXACT same room type for the EXACT date.
Speaking of rates, have you ever been completely confused when you called in to ask about rates and availability and the rate we have given you over the phone is way more than what you saw online? I’m going to break this one down for you too!
Let’s say that you search “Berlin Grande Hotel rates” or something similar. This is a typical result you would see:
Pay close attention to the dates directly below “compare prices," because it may or may not be the date you're looking to check-in. Notice the different websites listed with a price of $132 next to them. I did this search on Monday, April 18, and the room rates are $7 less than our in-house rate, minus any type of discount. Apply a AAA, AARP, or GOV discount to our in-house rate, and the rate becomes (drumroll, please…) $132. Also note that the prices listed in the online search results are almost always for Standard Double Queen rooms (2 queen beds, no balcony) are based upon double occupancy (see the number 2 I have so poorly starred next to my excellent red circle?). Also bear in mind that we can price match the third-party rates, but are not able to apply any additional discounts.
You’ll also see that TripAdvisor shows a $99 rate, highlighted in yellow. We get quite a few phone calls from guests thinking that the rate is $99 for any day and any room type, and I get it! It can be a little confusing. Just remember, we can match third-party rates, but it has to be for the same date and the same room type. If you were to click on this TripAdvisor listing and enter your check-in date along with the room type, you would most likely see the rate change, unless you’re looking at a Standard Double Queen room with 2 adults on a Sunday. Basically what’s going on here is that they are showing you the lowest rate possible on a Sunday to peak your interest and get you to click through. And honestly, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, we set those third-party rates and there will never be a price differential of $40-$50 per evening. At most you might see upwards of $20, but again we can price match that rate!
So admittedly, this was a lot of information to pack into one post. The bottom line? If you're in question about a rate you see online, please don't ever hesitate to contact the hotel and ask questions or send an email to one of our amazing GSR's at email@example.com. We’ll help walk you through the process and make things as easy and stress-free as we can for you.
So, did you find this information helpful, or learn anything new? Or do you need clarification on something I’ve outlined in this post? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat!
One final thought before I sign off – there's absolutely nothing wrong with booking through third-party websites, especially if you are a frequent traveler and want to rack up those points! But I did think it was important to provide information for those of you who prefer to book direct.
We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you soon.