f. Hedo Referral Sites

BOOKING.COM

3 of our lodging options are listed on booking.com, Bamboo Bungalow, Kahuna Cabin and the Jungle Cottage. These lodgings are only listed at the NIGHTLY RATE. People who reserve through booking.com tend to only stay for one or two nights.

On the Bookings Calendar we specify when it’s a booking.com guest. With booking.com and other outside referral sites special conditions apply:

  1. Foreign Guests. booking.com is translated into 32 languages so many guests are foreigners who don’t really understand what the Hedonisia Community is about. If they don’t speak English try to be extra concerned about any needs or questions they may have! Use Google Translate if necessary!
  2. Older Guests. Booking.com Guests tend to be more mature and traditional than our usual younger and more ‘alternative’ guests. They are much more ‘touristy’, more demanding expectations and are less eco minded. We could ignore trying to reach such guests. However, if we are to have an impact on eco-tourism we realize that it is these guests we must reach out to. If necessary, diplomatically explain that our usual guests are younger and more eco-oriented so they are less ‘fussy’!
  3. Extra Cleaning. Be extra sure to give an extra special cleaning to the space they have booked. Of course, you can assign this task if you have volunteers to work with that day but the onus is still on you to make sure that the space is indeed spic and span and as close as possible to ‘hotel’ standards.
  4. Direct Complaints. Make sure and let the guests know to contact you directly if they have any questions or complaints. Much better than having them vent on booking.com!
  5. Quiet times. Tell them the quiet times and they can notify you if they feel guests are being loud.
  6. Warn other volunteers/interns. Be sure to let others on the property know that there is a booking.com guest on the property so they can adjust their behavior accordingly!
  7. Payments. Sometimes we charge the customer before they arrive but that is often difficult especially with foreign credit cards. Often they must pay the entire amount UPON arrival. We get a better card rate or if their card does not work then we just get the cash. We then have to pay the commission directly to Booking.com once they depart.

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The Eco-Defense!

Compliment complaining guests on making an eco-friendly choice by choosing to stay at Hedonisia Hawaii! If they are interested you can tell them about our eco-activism in Hawaii. Ask them if they like it to be sure to post a positive review as we are up against the ‘big boys’ of traditional polluting hotel based tourism.

Explain Eco-Community. In the orientation tour emphasize the green aspects of our community as a way of explaining why the rooms are not completely ‘hotel’ like! Be proud of our ‘jungle style’! We don’t have to apologize for it. In fact we want them to be enthusiastic about it.

  • We have slight mold stains because this is a rain forest and there is mold everywhere! It would not be eco-friendly to use bleach all the time.
  • We continue to use old fixtures as long as they work. It is simply not eco to replace taps that are working just fine simply because they have calcium build up.

Other Referral Sites

Though we get the vast majority of our bookings from our own websites we also have referral partnerships with these other sites:

  1. Flipkey,
  2. Hostelworld,
  3. Hostel Bookers,
  4. Airbnb

There are some particular things you should know when processing a booking that originated from one of these sites.

  1. AirBnB: They take the money upfront and then send us the payment AFTER the person has left. So you don’t have to worry about collecting money from an AirBnB reservation.
  2. Hostelworld: They take a 12% commission upfront (which we added to the price). But visitors then pay once they arrive. They will usually have a receipt showing what they owe. That’s fine. Let them pay that!
  3. Booking.com & Expedia.com:  Booking.com has started taking their 15% fee upfront as a deposit, and leaving it up to the guest to pay once they get here. Hedonisia Booking invoices the guest when possible, but if not they pay upon arrival.

DEALING WITH A NEGATIVE REVIEW

As you can see from her reply, despite our best efforts to apologize, this Booking.com guest was not happy with the service and atmosphere of the community on the night of Aug 25, 2013 . . . I have kept this feedback as part of our training manual as she raises many points that we should always be on the lookout for.

Aloha S.,

First and foremost, I would like to personally apologize any discomfort you may have experienced during your stay with us and furthermore let you know that I launched an investigation into the issues that were brought up in the review. The manager who was on duty during your stay had the following report on preparing your space:

“I did prepare the Kahuna Cabin before they checked in, and it was in great condition; I swept it out, tucked in sheets, everything. It is possible that they were referring to the lizards, which are impossible to keep out. Jordie & Andy have stayed in there for days at a time, and none of us have ever seen a frog or a cockroach in there.”

With regards to the noise, there was actually another Booking.com guest who was socializing with the managers that evening. They admitted that things got a bit rowdy and apologized for any excessive noise. Unfortunately they were not aware that they were bothering anyone or they would have quieted down.

In the end, we simply do not have the advertising budget of a big hotel to counter reviews such as this and it impacts us greatly. If this communication has helped to change your perspective on our community I would ask that you please consider altering your review.

As a result of this incident, we are implementing additional protocols to do even more to try ensure that every guest has a pleasant stay with us. We would be happy to offer a complimentary night next time you visit Hawaii as our way of saying sorry and giving us another chance to show what our little community is capable of.

Thank you for your time and consideration and feel free to write to me with any concerns or questions you may have.

Thank you and aloha,
Mojo Mustapha: Community Director
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Aloha Mojo, thank you for taking time to write back. I am not willing to change my review. The bungalow AND the kitchen were disgustingly dirty so i think the kids should be taught what cleaning means. Having dead frogs and roaches and companions is not an indication of spotlessness- not for me. 

A dirty pan full of used oil leaft unattended all night was not an indication of hygiene either, not to speak about the dirty counter space where cats, along with possibly many other visitors, hang out day and night. It was scary to cut fruits there in the morning. NOr dated we sit on the couch to have breakfast. HAve you reecently seen it?And let me say that having the staff smoking cigarettes adn pot in the eating area in the evening and the morning is not an invitation to green living either.

Although I appreciate the idea of trying to offer sustainable accommodation, I know what it takes to have a place truely unsustainable. I live in one. Maybe the US idea of sustainability is VERY far from the New Zealand one. I liked the old note about  toilet paper by the toilet, but that was the ONLY effort I could find in educating and living by light footprint.

I think I saved a lot of these comments out of the public review. Take care and good luck with improvements.
SilviaPhD Marine Environmental Sciences Student of Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy (fourth year)

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