TRIPADVISOR BUSINESS ADVANTAGE? 400 EUROS LESS IN POCKET...
Photo Source: Gaetano Sciacca
Well yes... we succumbed to the "system"! Despite our enormous concerns about it
, at the end of the month of In August 2019, we were persuaded to shell out around 400 euros for the TripAdvisor Business Advantage package
. What would we have liked to achieve? Visibility in the default ranking
of TripAdvisor, that is the one relating to the quality / price ratio. Before entering into the contract, to the Business Development Sales Executive
from whom we were contacted and subsequently also to the Senior Customer Success Executive
, we explicitly expressed the sole need to have visibility in the default sort order. We were therefore told that the Business Advantage
package would give us the opportunity to insert our own Special Offer
that would allow us to be included in the ranking according to the quality/price ratio . Was that actually the case? No, because whoever pays more actually precedes us.
How does it really work? In hindsight (and thinking about how many arancini we could have bought with 400 euros), I tried to better understand the mechanism. Despite the extremely favorable score given by the average of the reviews (currently 5 out of 5), to be among the first positions in that system, you must have entered into a contract with a certified partner of TripAdvisor
, that is one of the many Online Travel Agency
(for example Booking, Expedia, Hotels, Trivago). For those who are really white on the subject, these are intermediary multinational agencies to which the management of reservations for all or part of their accommodation is delegated, for certain periods, to which a commission (on average 15%) is owed for every booking was successful. This is what TripAdvisor calls CPC Campaign
The "problem" is that so far at Agricultural Camp Sophia we have never had the need to let others manage "our home". We have our website, we have our online booking system, "business" doesn't go so badly... What reason would we have to entrust the management of reservations for our bungalows to an OTA?
No reason and instead many good reasons to continue to reserve the possibility to decide what we consider most appropriate on our structure and not having to give explanations to anyone if we decide to make, for example, a discount to a customer.
Searching, for example, on Google ("incognito" mode) "camping Syracuse", in third position we find the ungrammatical link of TripAdvisor "The best 10 camping in Province of Syracuse in 2019 (with prices)". By clicking on it you will find yourself on the TripAdvisor page entitled "Camping a Provincia di Siracusa". The default ordering is according to the criterion of the relationship between quality and price. Our special offer
(of which the novelty is that the price is no longer shown) is absolutely (and intentionally, to test if these 400 euros have been well spent) the most convenient. The score determined by the average of the reviews, by selecting the order for Traveler ranking
, gives us, at the end of December 2019, the first place in the ranking. If mathematics is not an opinion, Agricultural Sophia, with a special offer lower than the prices proposed by the competitors
, should not be in first place also in the sorting for Quality- price
? And here the donkey falls ... Because the Agricultural Camp Sophia will always come after the structures that decide to join a certified partner of TripAdvisor
. And pay 400 euros for the site link and the phone number on TripAdvisor (when the most immediate source for this information is the free Google...), choose the order of the photos or the "favorite review" (which among the 'other seems to me really a prank...), for a small company, in my humble opinion, it is almost equivalent to throwing money. I would like to point out the interesting opinion
, from a few years ago but still currently, of the owners of the Preggio Organic Farm, on the usefulness of OTAs for a family-sized farm.
Text Source: Antonino Rampulla
IDIOT TOURIST TAX
While there is talk of reducing the tax wedge and aid to companies as an incentive for job creation, the local political scarcity decides against the trend to increase the rates of the tourist tax. We should roll out a perpetual red carpet to the tourist who comes to spend money to sleep, eat, visit museums, crowd the bathing establishments, because (one really has to be intellectually gifted not to understand this…) if businesses survive, not only can they easily pay already expensive IMU, TARI and various surtaxes but, consequently, they can pay their employees so that they themselves pay their mites...But no! Tourist, do you want to come and visit what pertains to our municipal area? Then we punish you! Here's a nice tax (in our case) of 2 euros and 50 cents per night (for a maximum of 6 nights) if you are over the age of 14 and do not belong to any of the exceptions provided...
HOW YOU REFURBISH THE MUNICIPAL BUDGET AT THE EXPENSE OF TOURISTS. ONLY THAT BY LAW IT CANNOT BE DONE…
Since 24 November 2022, the Municipality of Noto has seen fit to "remodulate" the tourist tax to restore the municipal budget. From a range that until last summer ranged from €1 to €2 for a maximum of 4 consecutive nights, the City Council, through Resolution No. 57 of 11/24/2022, was "forced" to increase it from 2, €5 to €5 for a maximum of 6 nights.
Proportionate and gradual?
Obviously the problem does not arise for those who are willing to pay 200 or 300 euros a night in the center of Noto or for the VIP on duty. However, for a couple of students who pay 20 euros to stay in a tent in July, an extra 5 euros represents 25% of the amount, as well as for a family with two children over 14 who, in the same period, as far as regards, you would realistically pay €39 for the overnight stay and €10 for the tourist tax. Do they seem few to you?
At the turn of August, in the...
CHRONICLE OF THE CLEANING OF MARZAMEMI BEACH AND LETTER TO AN IDIOT
On May 17, 2022, the students of the Erasmus "Think Green" project, organized by the association "Attiva-Mente" of Modica, together with the boys of "The Tree of Life" of Pachino, met to clean up the beach of Marzamemi, in the Spinazza district, collecting everything that does not exactly fall into the categories of shells, sand or algae.Armed with bags and gloves, they then beat every square meter of public beach, filling numerous bags with all kinds of waste (it seems evident that bathers have erroneous beliefs about the biodegradable properties of glass and plastic). Gaetano and I, as companions, crashed into the pleasant collection activity and, between a broken sink pipe and an empty bottle of discount beer, from time to time we took the opportunity to take some photos (him) and enjoy ourselves in strokes in a more than free style among the waves of the sea (me).Everything seemed...
THE SENSE OF OTHERS - REFLECTIONS ON AN ERASMUS
In 1994 Anthropologist Marc Augé published one of his most important and influential literary works: "The sense of others. Current anthropology". Close to the philosophical thought for which "the identification of oneself occurs only in the relationship with otherness", he wrote about how the attempt to understand the Cultural Other was a reflection of the search for one's own cultural identity.In a world that travels swiftly towards supranational political structures, I found I have much less in common with my neighbor than with a Romanian girl or a Georgian boy... In the years when nationalisms are sadly making a comeback, we can still really talk seriously national identity? In other words, are we really sure that the average 20-year-old Russian cares about Putin's "sense" of national identity? This is a purely theoretical discourse, considering the regime's propaganda.I have...
FROM "PANI I CASA" TO "SCACCIA": GENESIS OF A SICILIAN PIZZA
U pani i casa
I have vivid childhood memories in which we "went down" to Sicily, in Pachino, to spend the long summer holidays with my grandparents, during which I had the pleasure of attending one of those social rituals with an ancient flavor several times, handed down for who knows how many generations, common to most Sicilian rural families: the preparation of pani i casa.
Until the end of the 1980s, at my grandparents' house, with the help of my mother first and my uncle then, the pani i casa was made weekly, then much more rarely, up to the almost complete abandonment of the habit (probably due to the spread of bakeries more and more close at hand or, simply, to the evolution of different ways of life). In my grandmother's story there is the nostalgic tone of the ancient, of the flavors of the past which, by dogmatic definition, were better than those of today... My mother,...
ONLY PROPAGANDA? REFLECTIONS ON AN INVASION
I write this third post on the war in Ukraine as a pretext for my personal need to investigate, to understand an event after which the world will certainly be, in one way or another, radically different. The difficulty, ever since concrete winds of war began to blow last year, has been trying to intercept the most "objective" information possible. The metaphor is the recent Bucha massacre : not only do the Russians deny that their armed forces are responsible but even claim that it is all Ukrainian (and Western) hype to discredit them. Putin's "special operation" would have been triggered at the request of the Russian speakers of the Donbass, with respect to whom Kiev, since 2014, would have even planned a genocide: at this point I would rather tend to believe the OSCE observers, of whom I have already written in a previous post, whose narrative is substantially different. If we wanted...
FROM THE ATTRACTIVE OF NATO TO THE ALLEGED GENOCIDE IN THE DONBASS
This "post" is the result of my personal need to better understand the flood of information and opinions that are investing us in these days on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In particular, I tried to understand if the expansion of NATO is really the main engine of Putin's actions, if it is right to force Ukraine to a possible future as a buffer state and if there really has been a genocide of Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass of Russian ethnicity.
BORN BETWEEN LIGHT AND SHADOWS
NATO was formed shortly after the end of the Second World War, with an implicit anti-Soviet function: the isolation of West Berlin in 1948 by the Red Army, which forced the Western powers to organize an airlift to supply it, was the decisive fact at the birth of the North Atlantic Alliance. In the text of the Treaty there is however a constant self-subordination to the United Nations (of which,...
UKRAINE : JUST PRETEND TO KNOW WHAT NOT TO DO
The thousands of people who last night, February 24, 2022, crowded the squares of the main Russian cities to protest against the invasion of Ukraine , aware of the risk of suppressions and arrests (which took place on time), are carriers of the strongest critical and ethical stance of these unfortunate days. It is the evidence of how much the arbitrary historical exploitation, dangerous because if they became accepted customary they would justify any ambition of "D'Annunzio" (including the Chinese claims of Taiwan ), are considered insane even by a good portion of the Russian population. The urgent question to be resolved concerns the rules of relativism .
Speaking only of what I have direct memory of (having personally experienced all the media narrative), I wonder what is "ethically" the difference between the invasions of Kuwait, the abuses of Milosevic, Assad or Gaddafi,...