THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF AN EMAIL SENT TO A HOST WHO HAD RESERVATIONS ABOUT BECOMING A HOST. PLEASE DON'T USE IN IT'S ENTIRETY. JUST USE AS REFERENCE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIONS.
Thank you for getting back to me.
You have raised some very good points and I would love to address them all for you.
I hadn't realised when we spoke that you weren't the empire.
Firstly, sorry if I wasn't clear on the phone. I always introduce myself as Phil from TheatreDigsBooker calling on behalf of the theatre we are representing so I apologise if this wasn't as clear as it could have been.
I also hadn't realised when we spoke that you charge a 10% booking fee. Both of my brothers tour, which is the reason I offer my room, as I know I can provide safety and comfort at a reasonable price. To ask for 10% of that I think is a little much. I ask very little for my room as I know that every penny counts to these guys and they don't know where they are going or who they are going to. I appreciate that you are running a business, but I think I will pass on the kind offer to use your site.
Thank you for your candid feedback. Just to dispel any idea that we are a faceless corporation trying to squeeze money out of the already stretched theatre professionals, I too am an actor and singer and I toured for more than 7 years. The fact that you offer a room at such great value to help support travelling theatre professionals is fantastic. This is the reason why I have spent the last 4 years building this site - to make people like you easier to find and book with.
As you can imagine (and as I had no idea about at the time), creating a site like this is very difficult and extremely expensive. Rather than charge theatre professionals any additional fees, we charge the Hosts a 10% commission out of which comes a 1.9% PayPal charge and, of course, all of our development, staffing, marketing, admin and hosting costs. We are in our 4th year and have only just begun to break-even.
Other booking sites charge lower commissions but then add on cleaning fees, booking and credit card charges. We don't do that. The advertised price set by the Host is the total price paid by the Guest. Some Hosts increase their fees slightly to 'share' the cost with the Guest but the combination of additional bookings and ease of use often mean that Hosts are happy to pay the commission to receive bookings through the site.
You also mention that '...they don't know where they are going or who they are going to...'. This is why we have photos, maps, distances from theatres, Host profiles and reviews written by Guests. We also constantly update the site to remove Hosts who don't come up to scratch. Theatres have no incentive to put this kind of effort into their digs lists.
To give an example of how outdated the existing theatre digs list model is, when calling the Empire's digs list less than 50% of Hosts answered the phone and over 10% no longer offer digs. This is so frustrating for the touring theatre professional who is trying to book several month's worth of digs at any one time. And for the Hosts - being unavailable on the phone or at the bottom of the alphabetically ordered list, means missing out on bookings. If you are lucky enough to be at the top of the list, once your rooms are booked for a big tour's visit, the rest of the cast have no way of knowing this and continue to call, leaving the Host with lots of frustrating calls to receive.
With TheatreDigsBooker, your availability is automatically updated each time you receive a booking which means no double-booking. You can receive bookings in your sleep (and you'd be surprised how many bookings are made at night). We send a text message (after 9am) and an email to let you know you have a booking request to respond to.
As you can tell, as with all the team here, I am very passionate about this site and you only need to read our tweets to see how much Guests love it too.
Since listing is free and easy and you only pay commission on the bookings you accept, there really is no risk to you. Why not give it a try? I realise it is a paradigm-shift in the way you think about offering your digs but that shift has already occurred in over 5000 Guests who have registered with and use the site to book their digs online.
We'd love to welcome you as a new Host - if not now, then soon. We are here 9-5, Mon-Fri to answer any questions you might have.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Phil Barley - Founder
T: 01335 818025
Registered in England and Wales. No: 7274436.
Registered Office: 20 Tresilian Avenue, London. N21 1TJ