The reservations market can be a scary place for anyone looking for a booking system. We’ve heard our fair share of horror stories: blood-sucking companies with high commissions that run into quadruple figures, pay per click diversion and impossibly long contracts.
The latest scream-worthy stories are courtesy of new kid on the block, Quandoo, who recently emerged on the market placing themselves as an OpenTable alternative. With a somewhat forceful sales tactic, they are gathering customers by promising high volumes of new diners and a great system at an extremely low cost.
We recently saw an email a Quandoo rep had sent to one of our customers. (Sneaky!) They describe Quandoo as being a partner to restaurants and a cheaper and better alternative to other commission-charging services. Personally we think this is a better yarn than a Bram Stoker epic so let’s dissect the claims…..
“We market our partners business to our databases”
Now Quandoo, it’s lovely that you help customers out with a bit of marketing, sending info on their deals and delicious menus to your database. However, where did you get this database from? Ah yes, from other restaurants. So, a loyal customer dines at their favourite restaurant and their details are used to promote other venues in the area – effectively you are handing over your customer database to your local/new competition.
We also noticed that one of the top searched terms for the company on Google is “Quandoo unsubscribe”. A quick scan of Facebook and Twitter shows many a disgruntled diner unable to stop the deluge of emails about nearby venues and Quandoo services. Twitter users were especially unhappy:
Just a couple from pages and pages of complaints. Facebook is no better with one furious customer saying:
So your customer books online, wants to come to your venue and is stuck with Quandoo’s marketing emails, not information about your restaurant. With ResDiary, your database belongs to you. No taking your customers and sending their details out into the unknown: it’s all yours.
“The only commission you pay is when a reservation is generated from our platform.”
We have heard this before before from OpenTable – it’s incremental business and you’ll only pay a small amount of commission from their platform.
Pull back the mysterious shrouds and we discover there is nothing incremental about this business or how these covers are generated from the Quandoo platform.
It seems you have been applying pay per click advertising to on your customer’s restaurant names, Quandoo. You’ve mentioned this in the email, making it sound like a good thing. It’s not. PPC is an unethical tactic carried out by commission based companies on restaurant’s own names and brand terms. The customer, who already wants to go to a restaurant and is specifically searching their name, is directed to Quandoo via an ad above the restaurant page. The operator then pays the £2 commission charge which can be a stake through the heart of tight margins. We’ve also heard that getting an itemised bill that details exactly where the commission is coming from is harder than exercising a demon!
We’ve had a slew of Quandoo customers talk to us recently about being locked into agreements they want to leave. One lady found that her emails about cancelling during her grace period had mysteriously disappeared into the mist. She eventually escaped but only after months of arguing with her rep. Thankfully, she’s now a happy ResDiary customer, enjoying her rolling monthly contract.
So restaurateurs; forget about commission, ‘incremental’ marketing, long vicious agreements and questionable tactics. Before you sign that Quandoo contract, take a look at ResDiary and, perhaps, Quandon’t.