Plan B

VisitScotland Urged to Change Online Booking Policy

10/07/2012

Over the past three or four months we have tried very hard to keep our comments private with regards to the new VisitScotland.com website and extranet. However as deadlines come and go with increasing regularity we have sent the following content to all of our booking engine clients explaining the situation. The content is relevant to all accommodation providers throughout Scotland and we are asking for support in ensuring that the current situation regarding the VS booking process is changed.


Dear Accommodation Provider

You will all no doubt be aware that in April of this year VisitScotland launched their new website and supporting extranet package.

As part of the contracted proposals VisitScotland should, at the same time as launching the new website designs, have launched an integrated channel management style process which was to allow for the integration of the accommodation’s availability and price direct from their own preferred booking engine. This was in fact one of the major changes to the system and was to ensure that accommodation providers could compete fairly and utilise their own booking engine without being forced to use VisitScotland’s proprietary system.

Whilst it was denied at that time by VisitScotland themselves, it became clear to us in late 2011 that this was clearly behind schedule and the programme for integration of SuperControl, FreetoBook, Bookassist and others was not likely to be ready for the March launch; it was then put back to the first week in June and we now have no definite date for this most important integration.

At a meeting in May of this year we were advised by the VisitScotland digital team that the intention to create in-house “channel management” software to allow operators to link their own availability directly was being seen as extremely expensive and problematic - a position that had been made clear to them on several occasions over the previous two years – and that they were now in discussions with English based Eviivo to utilise an off the shelf channel management solution. Whilst we still have serious commercial concerns over this option it was, we were advised, a solution that could be implemented quickly.

Nearly two months on from that meeting and in the middle of the tourism season we have now been advised that there are still no timescales for this integration and the position remains that the only way to update availability on VisitScotland.com is through a single system charging commissions and increased cost of sales at a time when everyone is feeling economic pain.

It was a critical part of the new website development plan that has taken place over the past two years that the integration of third party booking engines was put in place to ensure that accommodation providers were able to sell their rooms direct at the lowest possible cost. VisitScotland have failed in this important commitment to the accommodation sector and as a result hotels and B&B’s are being once again forced to use a VisitScotland booking engine tool that is neither fit for purpose nor offers any completion.

Bookassist in line with other booking engine providers have become increasingly frustrated with the position that VisitScotland are taking and we now believe that they are impacting directly on the revenues (and costs) of the accommodation providers by not offering the promised integration.

We believe that the current position should not be allowed to continue and call on VisitScotland to implement the easiest of solutions, and one that could, and should, have been in place at the relaunch of the new website. We are simply asking for a direct link to the accommodation providers own booking page to replace the Book Now button currently in situ.

Having been involved in various meetings with VisitScotland through the development process we are aware of how this could easily be done with little or no cost nor time delay and we are calling on the industry to get behind this call.

What is Being Requested

Currently there is a Book Now button on accommodation providers page that links ONLY to VisitScotland’s availability.

We are proposing that where the accommodation provider chooses this button should be replaced with a Book Direct button that opens a new frame opening up the booking page of the accommodation provider directly.

The link would be inserted by the accommodation provider in the current Extranet area. This would only require a simple insertion of a field and button by VisitScotland in the current extranet.

This may not provide the integrated search that VisitScotland wish to have but it does in the short term allow the visitor to access the best available and rates direct from the accommodation provider. This in the end reduces cost and improves service for both the visitor and supplier and increases the attractiveness of the VisitScotland distribution channel.

At a time of difficult market conditions, booking direct remains the lowest cost of sale for all Scottish operators and we think it is incumbent on the national tourism body to facilitate ease of booking for the site visitor and where possible assist in reducing the costs of sales to accommodation providers. Given the comments we have had from accommodation providers in relation to the problems updating the new booking extranet this may be a very popular decision amongst accommodation providers.

We believe that the inclusion of the Booking button could be implemented without any disruption to the new site layout with the addition of a different field pointing the booker to a window or frame. VisitScotland currently link to third party booking sites already without warning the visitor that they are leaving the site so this need not even be seen as a change of strategy and be a quick, convenient and logical fix to an issue that otherwise appears complicate, convoluted and expensive.

We have been pushing for the integration of the Bookassist booking engine for two years now and with the latest delays we felt we now had to seek your support in applying pressure on VisitScotland to change their processes. This can only be of benefit to both the site visitor and accommodation provider.

We are therefore asking you to reply with your own comments indicating whether your support the above statement.

Please add any comments you may have regarding the new VisitScotland extranet as this may assist in producing a stronger case.

Thank you in anticipation for your time.

Plan B

Website Privacy Statement

This privacy policy sets out how Plan B uses and protects any information that you give Plan B when you use this website.

Plan B is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

Plan B may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from March 1st, 2016.

What we collect

We may collect the following information:

  • name and job title
  • contact information including email address
  • demographic information such as postcode, preferences and interests
  • other information relevant to customer surveys and/or offers

What we do with the information we gather

We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:

  • Internal record keeping.
  • We may use the information to improve our products and services.
  • We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided. 
  • From time to time, we may also use your information to contact you for market research purposes. We may contact you by email, phone, fax or mail. We may use the information to customise the website according to your interests.

Security

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

How we use cookies

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used by anybody for direct marketing purposes
  • if you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to us.

We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so. We may use your personal information to send you promotional information about third parties which we think you may find interesting if you tell us that you wish this to happen.

If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible, at the above address. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.

Plan B

Website Terms and Conditions

Your use of the Plan B Web Site is subject to these terms and by using the Site you show your agreement to such terms. If you do not accept our terms, please do not use the Web Site.

Ownership of Web Site

This Web Site belongs to Plan B.

Headings

Headings used in these terms and conditions are for convenience only and shall not affect their interpretation.

Trademarks

The images, logos and names on this Web Site which identify Plan B or third parties and their products and services are proprietary marks of Plan B and/or the relevant third parties. Nothing contained in this Web Site shall be deemed to confer on any person any license or right on the part of Plan B or any third party with respect to any such image, logo or name.

Alterations

Plan B reserves the right, at any time and without prior notice, to remove or cease to supply any product or service contained on this Web Site. In the event that such removal takes place we shall not be liable to you in any way whatsoever for such removal.

Phone Calls and Emails

Telephone calls using the telephone numbers provided on this Web Site and email correspondence with Plan B at the email addresses accessible through, or discernible from, this Web Site may be recorded or monitored. By using such communication methods you are consenting to the recording or monitoring of the same.

Telephone charges

The price of calls may vary depending on your telecoms supplier. Please check with your operator for exact charges.

WEBSITE POLICIES

Commercial use

This Web Site is for non-commercial, personal use only. The services contained on this Web Site may be supplied on a commercial basis on payment to Plan B or its service or product suppliers of its charges from time to time. Please contact us.

In the event that you use any of the services contained on this Web Site for commercial use, Plan B shall be entitled to charge you at its applicable rates in respect of such commercial use.

Copyright

The copyright in the material contained in this Web Site belongs to Plan B or its licensed source. Any person may copy any part of this material, subject to the following conditions:

the material may not be used for commercial purposes;

the copies must retain any copyrights or other intellectual property notices contained in the original material;

the products and technology or processes described in this Web Site may be subject to other intellectual property rights reserved by Plan B or by other third parties with no license granted in respect of those intellectual property rights); images on this Web Site are protected by copyright as its text by IPR and may not be reproduced or appropriated in any manner without the written permission of their respective owner(s).

Changes to Terms and Records of Agreements

We reserve the right to change these terms and conditions at any time by posting changes on the Web Site. It is your responsibility to review the Web Site terms and conditions to ensure you are aware of the latest terms and conditions. Your use of this Web Site after a change has been posted will be deemed to signify your acceptance of the modified terms and conditions. We recommend that you print off and retain for your records a copy of these terms and conditions from time to time and a copy of any terms and conditions relating to any product or service which you apply for online, together with any related application form completed and submitted.

Any amendment to terms and conditions must be agreed in writing by us, or, if appropriate, by the relevant company or individual supplier with whom you contract.

Disclaimers

Whilst Plan B has taken due care and attention in the preparation of the contents of this Web Site, this Web Site and the information, names, images, pictures, logos, icons regarding or relating to Plan B or our products and services marketed on the site (or to third party products and services), are provided on an 'as is' basis without any representation or endorsement being made and without any warranty of any kind, whether express or implied, including but not limited to, any implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, compatibility, security and accuracy.

To the extent permitted by law, all such terms and warranties are hereby excluded. In no event will Plan B be liable, whether in contract or tort (including negligence or breach of statutory duty) or otherwise for any losses sustained and arising out of or in connection with use of this Web Site including, without limitation, loss of profits, loss of data or loss of goodwill (in all these cases whether direct or indirect) nor any indirect, economic, consequential or special loss.

Plan B does not represent that the information contained in this Web Site is accurate, comprehensive, verified or complete, and shall accept no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this Web Site or for any reliance placed by any person on the information.

Plan B does not warrant that the functions or materials accessible from or contained in this Web Site will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected or that this Web Site or the server that makes it available are virus or bug free or represent the full functionality, accuracy, reliability of the materials.

If any of these Terms and Conditions (or any terms and conditions relating to a product or service referred to in this Web Site) should be determined to be illegal, invalid or otherwise unenforceable by reason of the laws of any state or country in which such terms and conditions are intended to be effective, then to the extent of such illegality, invalidity or unenforceability, and in relation to such state or country only, such terms or condition shall be deleted and severed from the rest of the relevant terms and conditions and the remaining terms and conditions shall survive, remain in full force and effect and continue to be binding and enforceable. Nothing in these terms and conditions shall exclude Plan B's liability for death or personal injury resulting from negligence of Plan B.

Intellectual Property Rights

All Intellectual Property Rights (including, without limitation, all database rights, rights in designs, rights in know-how, patents and rights in inventions (in all cases whether registered or unregistered and including all rights to apply for registration) and all other intellectual or industrial property rights in any jurisdiction) in any information, content, materials, data or processes contained in or to this Web Site belong to Plan B or its licensed source. All rights of Gailes Hotel in such Intellectual Property Rights are hereby reserved.

Jurisdiction and Law

Gailes Hotel makes no representation that any product or service referred to on or through the Web Site is appropriate for use, or available in other locations. The information and other materials contained in this Web Site may not satisfy the laws of any other country and those who choose to access this Site from other locations are responsible for compliance with local laws if and to the extent local laws are applicable.

These Terms and Conditions and any terms and conditions relating to products or services described in this Web Site shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of Scotland. Disputes arising in relation to the same shall, unless otherwise expressly agreed, be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Scotland.

Links to other Web Sites

Certain (hypertext) links, advertisements or suppliers promotion will lead you to Web Sites that are not under the control of Gailes Hotel. When you activate any of these links, you will leave Plan B Web Site by opening a new window and we have no control over and will accept no responsibility or liability in respect of the material on any such other Web Site. By allowing links with third party Web Sites Plan B does not intend to solicit business or offer any security to any person in any country, directly or indirectly.

Force Majeure

Every effort will be made to carry out the contract but its due performance is subject to cancellation by Plan B or to such variation as we may find necessary as a result of inability to secure labour, materials or supplies or as a result of any act of God, War, Strike, Lockout or other labour dispute, Fire, Flood, Drought, Legislation, or other cause (whether of the foregoing class or not) beyond the sellers control.

Plan B

Website Accessibility

We have tried to make this website as accessible as possible and easy to use for everyone, regardless of circumstance or ability.

All our page templates comply with the WCAG Priority 2 checkpoints as a minimum requirement. And we make every effort to ensure that all the content on our site meets this standard too. We are making every effort to ensure that we don't exclude any users. For example:

  • We try to use clear and simple language.
  • We use alternative text for all our images 
  • Were possible the HTML we produce conforms to the standard: XHTML 1.0 Strict
  • We have tested the colours we use in the design for contrast.

We try to publish all our text content as accessible HTML rather than in other formats such as PDF. Where we do publish PDFs or other formats our policy is to make them as accessible as we can.

Please feel free to share the content of this page with your friends – simply click on where you would like to share it.

Sign Up to our Mailing List to receive our Latest Offers