#BOOKDIRECT – How to beat the system

Here at Cycle Cities, we are launching #bookdirect, a new campaign designed to empower people to… you guessed it… book direct! We want you to book your bike tours directly through the people providing them on the ground level, rather than through a big online reseller like Tripadvisor.

Why?

Well, not only are you helping the business owners keep on doing what they’re doing – providing amazing experiences – you’re helping to create a more positive, ethical future for the industry. Booking direct will help keep prices where they should be, rather than forcing tour operators and hotels to hike their prices to match the big commissions from agencies. They’re taking fat cuts of the profit, and these will only get bigger and juicier over time.

Whenever you book a bicycle tour, a hotel, or any kind of experience, you have a decision to make – and probably you won’t even think about it. You might just click the first link you see, suckered in, perhaps, by the promise of a cheaper tour or a big brand name. But don’t – because booking direct is easier than you might think… and it could end up saving you money.

The why, then, speaks for itself. But how, you might wonder, do you make sure you’re booking direct, and aren’t getting lured in by a crafty online reseller?

We all know about the big sites like Booking.com and Get Your Guide. But there’s so many online travel agencies and resellers out there that it can be hard to cut through the thickets and see the light of the real company through the dense jungle of Google’s search results.

Ironically, there’s even a reseller out there – bookdirect.com – that’s actually an online reseller! We want to reclaim the hashtag #bookdirect for actual direct booking websites like ours. We want to help business owners and lovers of bike tours reconnect. And booking an experience through bookdirect.com actually feeds into the problem. So, uh, don’t do it.

Better yet, when you see someone using the #bookdirect hashtag incorrectly and promoting resellers, call them out publicly!

Here’s what you should do.

When you’re booking, it generally pays to ignore those top results marked with that little giveaway green box that says ‘Ad’. If someone has to pay to make sure you book their experience, is it really the best tour on the market? Don’t click them just because they’re there. Spend an extra thirty seconds scrolling down and find the website of the bike tour company, hotel, or tourist experience you’re looking for. It’s not hard! Let’s have a look, using an example of a quick Google search for a bike tour in Dublin:

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Avoid the first result. It’s an ad, posted up and paid for a reseller. When you click through here you’re just lining the pockets of big agencies and not helping the actual provider.

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 18.10.00The next website down is TripAdvisor. Our issues with TripAdvisor are well documented – read more here. But the bottom line is, while they used to exist just as a place for travellers to leave reviews, recently they stripped away the contact details of the companies there and started charging a commission to sell tours and other experiences. Fair? No. Ignore, and keep scrolling.

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It’s only when we get to the third result that we find the site of Dublin City Bike Tours, our operator in the city. Look at the URL in green under the title – The real operator. No ads, no TripAdvisor, no BS.

Another helpful tip to make sure the link you’re clicking is helping you to #bookdirect is to check the map. Online resellers won’t have a physical location in the city you booked – online the actual bike tour business will, the ones lugging bikes in and out of sheds and making sure you get the best of your city break on wheels.

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When you look at the map, the Cycle Cities operator Dublin is the first result. Coincidence? We think not.

Now that we’ve cracked the why and the how, what about the who?

Cycle Cities partners run the best bicycle tours in the world. They’re regular people motivated by a love of making people happy and creating amazing experiences on two wheels. Between the cobblestones of twisting inner-city alleys and the wide, flat cycle paths along beachfront promenades, they love putting smiles on people’s faces with the best tours on two wheels that money can buy.

They’re not big businesses, and don’t have the money to compete with huge multi-national corporations. Our operators’ money doesn’t go on advertising – it goes towards the constant improvement of their bike tours and services to the public.

And if you’re still struggling to separate the wheat from the chaff and discern who the real bike tour business is, head to Cycle Cities. We feature all our partners on our site, and will direct you in a couple of clicks to the right people in the city of your choice. We don’t sell tours, and there’s certainly no commission. We simply connect you to the guys and gals grafting to give you the greatest cycle tours in the world.

Don’t book blindly. Book direct!

And when you do, shout us on Twitter or hashtag #bookdirect to help us start a movement. And make a positive change to the industry, from the seat of a bicycle.