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The publishers of the accommodation guide Portfolio appear to regularly find ways to anger their advertisers, and once again are facing resistance from accommodation establishments, who find the advertising rates becoming more and more expensive, and object to the way they are treated by Portfolio.
At the beginning of May, Portfolio instituted a new commission system for bookings made by tourists through the Portfolio website, by taking not only the 10 % commission for the booking, but now also charging the accommodation establishments the credit card commission for payment received. Such commissions can range from 2,25 % to 5 %, depending on the type of card presented, meaning that the establishments now must pay Portfolio up to 15 % of the booking value as commission.
Had the advertisers known about this new regulation upfront, they might not have been so angry. Portfolio, however, introduced this new commission structure on its web bookings, without informing any of its advertisers, and in contradiction to the contracts signed. When questioned, Portfolio replied that its auditors had suggested that it should not be liable for carrying the commission charges, and that these should be passed on to its advertisers. This is contrary to industry practice.
Accommodation establishments advertising in Portfolio's Bed & Breakfast Guide have also been burdened by a three page set of new criteria Portfolio demands to be met of its advertiser establishments, including evening turndowns, wooden hangers, fresh milk in bedrooms, room fridges, bathrobes, and a ban on plastic pool chairs. These criteria do not take into account that three, four and five star establishments advertise in the Bed & Breakfast Guide, and that the expectations of guests and prices paid vary dramatically relative to the star grading.
Many establishments are unable to afford or unwilling to pay Portfolio's advertising rates, its booking commission, and meeting the newest criteria for their establishments, and are opting to not renew their advertising.
(Reprinted with permission from Whale Tales Newsletter June 2004)
Readers are invited to submit their comments below:
I contacted Portfolio last week by email for their rates and am still awaiting a reply from them!
For an accommodation guide in the Robertson area just consult the chapters: 'The Klaas Voogds Experience' and 'Accommodation' of the website http://soekershof.com
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