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Beware Hotel Booking Hijinks!

Program offering users a bonus to quit using affiliates

     
3:14 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Beware, Beware! Do some research, folks.

By way of reference, I am an affiliate for a hotel booking site. They are now encouraging users to become members; by offering a bonus/kickback. The member account login is on *every page*. Prominent graphics on every link.

I wrote to them asking if someone logs onto a "member account", then books a room, do I still get the commission?

Their reply was that if they were referred by you there first time, then yes. Every time after that, no you do not get commission, the member session overrides the affiliate session.

I guess you might call this a poison cookie.;)

I'm anxious to see if other hotel booking sites of that group start following the same procedure ... right after I take all their links off my site!

[edited by: jcoronella at 3:27 pm (utc) on Nov. 9, 2004]
[edit reason] no email quotes, sticky me requests please. [/edit]

4:31 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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and they are doing this on my landing page [pseudo expletive deleted]

Its good old HotelClub of the Cendant Group.

If you're an affiliate ...

[edited by: jcoronella at 1:43 am (utc) on Nov. 10, 2004]

12:17 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That's incredibly poor on their part, we all know they would rather sidestep the affiliates given the chance (without compromising their income) but to make it so blatant!

So essentially hotelclub are paying a one of commission for members rather than bookings.

Thanks for the tip-off, certainly won't be looking at them in the future.

3:19 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That is ridiculous. I know of one affiliate who also has a member program but still pays you on all repeat bookings from the customer you reffered. Basically the track it by email! everytime a booking is made via that email (even if they update it) a commission is paid INDEFINATELY. PM me if you want to know the program!
9:01 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I got an email from a buddy today who told me another may be doing the same thing with a program.

Maybe we all should start looking more closely at any "Bonus" programs, which should probably be called ... nah ...

[edited by: eljefe3 at 9:33 am (utc) on Nov. 10, 2004]

12:09 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hi,

I am the affiliate marketing manager for HotelClub. HotelClub offers a lifetime commission deal for members, so if the user becomes a member after coming through your affiliate link, we pay you for all his/her bookings forever.

For any further information, please contact me on yuryg@hotelclub.com

Yury Glikin

7:38 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yury

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, and to the hardened group of us affiliates that browse these columns. ;) Thank you for your response.

Many of us have known each other for years, so we do take things said here seriously

(HotelClub's) reply was that if they (the customer) were referred by you there first time, then yes. Every time after that, no you do not get commission, the member session overrides the affiliate session.

As I know the guy that wrote that, I certainly believe that he was sent such an email by you. Can you clarify for me:-

1. Was the quote HotelClub's policy when the emil was sent last week, and now that policy has changed.
or
2. The recipient of the email misinterpreted the email, and it never has been HotelClub's policy to "shanghai" punters who have come from an affiliate web site.

It is in HotelClub's interests to clarify the position, and you posting is a little bald. You only have to try "hotelclub conversion" in Google to see what I mean.

Based on the original post, I for one, would never have used HotelClub. Based on your response above, I need a bit more information from you in order to look at it again.

9:23 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

This has been HotelClub's policy for several years. Yes, we do not actively promote the fact that once a user logs in and books, the member session overrides the affiliate session. Nor do we deny it. Many affiliates prefer to send traffic to HotelClub directly regardless, despite losing future members, because conversion is better than if they were to send traffic to a co-branded or private label page.

Those that express concern are converted to a white label and can also utilise the lifetime membership policy we have. In essence, when a user referred by you becomes our member and books with us, you (the affiliate) gets paid a % of that booking...forever.

This is not promoted to every affiliate, but to those with good SEO skills, that might drive traffic to us and not retain the user again after that, but still want some reward for the initial referral.

If you'd life more info, please contact me

Yury

1:04 am on Nov 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This is not promoted to every affiliate, but to those with good SEO skills, that might drive traffic to us and not retain the user again after that, but still want some reward for the initial referral.

This certianly explains the high click thru rate and the extra low conversion. So effectively we have been pumping up someone else's monthly cheque?

I would certainly like to know a bit more about this policy...

>Wilksie

7:52 am on Nov 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yuri

Thank you for that reply, but being as thick as a lump of Cornish granite myself, I still do not understand HotelClub policy. Perhaps you can clarify with these examples (or give some of your own)so that one can see exactly what is happening

Let us assume 4 punters, call them A, B, C & D come to my site and click through to a HotelClub page for an individual hotel. A number of possibilities can happen

1. Punter A, a person that is NOT already a member of HotelClub, books a hotel, and does not join HotelClub, I get commission on that booking. And would get commission if punter A ever went from my site to HotelClub again, and made a booking. But that is all, its a "normal" affiliate booking.

2. Punter B (again NOT a member of HotelClub), chooses to join HotelClub when he makes the booking via my site. This time I still get the commission for the one booking. But I cannot see if I get any future commissions, if he comes to my site a second time and makes a second booking, now being a HotelClub member (ie having joined on his first visit to my site). It apppears that I do not

3. Punter C joins HotelClub on a referral from my site and NEVER visits my site again, and some months later (this takes short term cookies out of the equation) makes a booking at Hotel Club either because he has bookmarked HotelClub directly, or from another site altogether. Do I get commission on that?

3. Punter D, an existing member of HotelClub (did not join as a result of one of my sites), hits a link from my site to HotelClub, and makes a booking. As I understand it, I get NO commission on that booking. Even though they went from my site to an individual hotel page on HotelClub and booked.

4. I am unclear as to whether it is only whether my site is White Label or not that determines the deal, or whether it is whether I have negotiated a "special" deal with HotelClub

5. If you look at this thread [webmasterworld.com...]
we struggled to see what HotelClub actually paid. Perhaps Yuri could make an input on this too, as to whether 4.5% is the right figure

Speaking for myself, if I do not understand the "small print" then I do not sign up for an affiliate scheme.

There are so many affiliate schemes that I could join, that I do not get involved with "individual" discussions unless I am satsfied from the initial reading of their "public" contract that it is as good as, or better, than anything I am currently signed up for.

8:31 am on Nov 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey Cornwall,

My understanding (on what Yury has said) is:

Your point 1:
Correct

Your point 2:
Because B became a member of HotelClub through the referral from your site, you get all commissions for ever and ever and ever!

Your point 3:
Yes you get the commision because of 2 - membership was originally refered by you.

Your point 4:
Correct

Strikes me as a very unfair system - surely a "fairer" approach would be for hotelClub to pay some extra bonus for enticing membership - but otherwise you're effectivly making money for HotelClub out of the goodness of your heart.

HANG ON!

Now I'm really confused, as I just went and looked at the hotelclub site, and in the FAQ of the membership section (not the affiliate section funnily enough) it says that once a user makes a confirmed booking (ie completes a stay at a hotel) they get automatic membership! Now where does that leave us! If they go book again - where does the commission from that sale go?

9:30 am on Nov 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is HotelClub elligible for *lifetime commissions* under the *automatic membership when you complete a stay* rule?

If a member is recruited via an email link, does the emailer get *lifetime commissions*?

4:24 am on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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to clear up the confusion, here is the deal.

1) If you have a white label site, the membership program is not mentioned at all, and all bookings and commission goes to you (the affiliate) all the time. That's all there is to it.

2) If a user comes to the HC site directly and makes a booking, they will be signed up as a member, but you (affiliate) will receive money for that booking.

3) If, at any time (even after arriving on our site through the affiliate UR), the user logs in as a member or they have been initially referred by you, but then came to HC directly some point later and logged in as a member, the affiliate does not get paid, because we already pay member dollars and cannot also pay commission.

This is not advertised on the website.

For anyone with concerns, we have a lifetime membership policy. For every person that is referred by you and makes a booking or joins the membership program, we sign them up as a member. For every booking they make with HC from that point on, you are rewarded 1% of the gross value of the booking as commission...forever.

It really depends on whether your site is brand oriented and you are trying to drive visitors to your website or if you rely on SEO and know that you'd prefer to get the residual income from future member bookings, because the chances of the user finding your site again is remote.

Yury

10:13 am on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yuri

Thank you for that clarification of Hotel Club policy. I think I have almost got it with your commission structure. Sheesh, I bet you are glad most of your affiliates do not have the problems that I have understanding it :)

The only point I am unclear of now is how I can get the future benefits of this 1% in perpetuity.

As you tell it

For anyone with concerns, we have a lifetime membership policy. For every person that is referred by you and makes a booking or joins the membership program, we sign them up as a member. For every booking they make with HC from that point on, you are rewarded 1% of the gross value of the booking as commission...forever.

but also you say

If, at any time (even after arriving on our site through the affiliate UR), the user logs in as a member or they have been initially referred by you, but then came to HC directly some point later and logged in as a member, the affiliate does not get paid, because we already pay member dollars and cannot also pay commission.

Am I correct in understanding from this that if the affiliate wants to get the benefit of this 1% for life, then they need to ask for it "privately" with you, and that they do not get this "automatically" from anyone signing up on the HotelClub web site as a result of a referral from the affiliates own site to HotelClub.

Otherwise, unless an affiliate has this "extra" deal for soliciting HotelClub mambers, they only get the commission from the first booking, after which the punter becomes an "automatic lifetime member" regardless and the affiliate would normally get no more commissions.

In other words I can see where the money coming or not coming from now except in my example above

2. Punter B (again NOT a member of HotelClub), chooses to join HotelClub when he makes the booking via my site. This time I still get the commission for the one booking. But I cannot see if I get any future commissions, if he comes to my site a second time and makes a second booking, now being a HotelClub member (ie having joined on his first visit to my site). It apppears that I do not

Can you conform that I am correct and that normally I would not get any commission under this situation, unless I had an additional (not advertised on the HotelClub web site) agreement on "lifetime memberships".

Sorry to be so dense, but there could be money for affiliates in "lifetime members" but I am still not clear how we get them to have our mark on their foreheads and this 1% for life every time they make a booking from any other site (including I take it HotelClubs own site).

I am not the only thick one round here, I see stuartmcdonald in post #11 has the same problem

 

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