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
BETWEEN CHRISTIAN'S LEAVES AND BRESSANINI'S SCIENCE
When we tell you that we take care of our blog regardless of the association with our professional activity, do not believe us because we would be stupidly lying. Obviously, without any passion, nothing interesting and credible can come out. But it is clear that if some casual reader, attracted by our content, also ends up intrigued by our business or simply distractedly sees our logo, it doesn't really make us sick ...
To conclude the "festival of the falsely secret obvious", it seems only right to remember that even those who curate a channel on youtube or a group on Facebook, if they offer original and quality content, have certainly taken hours, hours and hours of study and work to offer them anyway for free, and it is sacrosanct if he finally manages to repay at least the expenses or even to earn something with advertising and sponsorships. The only rule to be respected is...
ANCIENT GRAINS BETWEEN OLIVE OIL AND AUTOLYSIS
We are trying to completely abandon the use of non-Sicilian flours for our leavened products, not only for the pleasure of rediscovering those ancient grains that, regardless of the fashion of the moment, our grandparents really used, not only to distance themselves from those standardized flavors that we can now find everywhere, but also because the criteria of wheat production in Italy, unlike the overseas jurisdictions, severely limit the use of plant protection products whose effective harmlessness for man is yet to be proven.
Even if so far we have been supplied by Italian and Sicilian mills, it is obvious that particular strong flours cannot be entirely derived from wheat grown in the Bel Paese, simply due to statistical improbability (given that production in Italian territory of soft wheat covers only 30% of the national needs) and because, for climatic reasons, few areas...
FROM CROCODILE IN NEW YORK SEWERS TO BURNING BLUE IRON TRAYS
If, like us at Agricamping Sophia, you are fond of pizzas in the pan and focaccia, you have certainly received the news or have accidentally read the miraculous cooking skills of the legendary blue iron trays . Out of curiosity, also thanks to the lockdown due to the Covid-19, we purchased a couple, for private use, from different manufacturers. Being aware, through the attendance of specialized forums and the reading of a myriad of articles on the net, of the mysterious burning which should be a preliminary operation necessary to give the green light to their use, we are here uncritically lavished in following to the letter one of the guides found among the first results of Google.
The outcome? A lot of smoke, the smell of burnt oil throughout the house and two apparently ruined trays. Immediately consulted the forums we mentioned, the diagnosis is that we would probably have used...
REFLECTIONS ON THE MOTHER YEAST AT THE TIME OF THE CORONAVIRUS
Cast the first stone anyone who has never kneaded (at least their first time ever ...) with the penem canis , unloading a whole 25 grams cube of brewer's yeast in half a kilo of flour, as if he had had to leaven the bowl too ... And after a couple of hours (miracle!) find yourself munching with difficulty on the biscuity or chewy result wondering why he didn't even remotely remember a pizza ...The "problem" is that, as already more fully explained regarding the phantom autolysis , if leavening occurs more quickly than protein synthesis , that dough loses edibility and becomes more suitable for alternative uses, for example as glue ...
leavening is not the only chemical and microbiological process that takes place in a dough but it is certainly among the most important. And if on the threshold of the "second phase" of the lockdown because of the covid-19, it is even easier to...
FOCACCISM PHENOMENOLOGY: AUTOLYSIS OR POOLISH?
Brutally skip preambles and introduction, if you miss it, read the previous phenomenological examination concerning poolish, biga and proof .
The aim is, sic et simpliciter, to try to understand, through empirical tests, what are the best ways to enjoy one of the most welcome gifts that mother nature and human ingenuity have made us: the focaccia!
What is poolish? It is a preferment prepared with equal parts of water and flour and a minimum amount (as far as I am concerned) of yeast, better if stuffed in the refrigerator ( obviously in a bowl ...), so much the yeasts are active even between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius, for 16 hours (if at room temperature, for much less time but the final quality of the poolish will also be different). The rule of leavened products always applies: if you are in a hurry, the crepes (crepes, for the Francophiles) are prepared in much less time ......
FOCACCISM PHENOMENOLOGY: ORIENTING BETWEEN POOLISH, BIGA AND PROOF
Like a few millionaires of Italians, I am "taking advantage" of this period of forced but inevitable quarantine to test some dough recipes and cooking procedures with a view to improving my versions of some Sicilian leavened products .
A premise is a must: everything that is traditional suffers the limit of being more or less codified and any attempt to introduce an ingredient or to dare an exogenous procedure is mostly attacked and rejected by radical traditionalists. Could this happen for fear of discovering that we can obtain a better version, in our specific case, of focaccia which questions the grandmother's ancient and sacred culinary knowledge? To avoid misunderstandings, this does not mean that grandmothers cook badly, on the contrary ... But that often a little courage is needed, of acceptance that some reassuring culinary certainties can wobble ... Are you willing to take...
TORRE FANO: FOR 2500 YEARS THE SHOULDERS HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT US FROM THE PIRATES
When and why it was built
We know that in 1526 Torre Fano was partially destroyed by the barbarian corsair Dragut (actually admiral of the Ottoman fleet, viceroy of Algiers, lord of Tripoli and Mahdia), habitual of looting and raiding on the Sicilian coasts. The phenomenon of barbaresca piracy (from Barberia, that is the name with which the Europeans from the Middle Ages defined the African Maghreb, inhabited precisely by the Berbers), politically connected to the Ottoman Empire, between the 14th and 19th centuries it was a real scourge for the development of the Sicilian coasts. The barbarian corsairs did not limit themselves exclusively to boarding and raiding ships but were also protagonists of the deportation and enslavement of thousands of Sicilians (for example, in Lipari, in 1544, 9000 people were deported), for them a significant source of income (a young European slave could...
THE PORT OF ELORO
We have already spoken extensively about Eloro here and here. It is no secret that he considers it
among the most fascinating places in the
district and when I have the opportunity, for example to act as a guide to
some friends, I go there with pleasure. Just during one of my last walks along
the "path" that "connects" the beach of Eloro with the
Pizzuta beach, I had the opportunity to focus on some rock formations that,
given their particular shape, have always aroused my curiosity, suggesting not
only that they had nothing natural (and therefore they were linked to the
archaeological remains abandoned behind the fence) but also that that stretch
of jagged coast, between the two splendid sandy beaches, in the past had to present itself in a radically different way.However, I have a duty to clarify that walking that "path" (which I
am not by chance writing in quotation marks,...