Why we are NOT on booking engines?

Posted on Oct 29, 2018 in Time out to reflect

[revised January 2024] Some of our guests ask which button on our website they have to click on to book a tour. Well, no button, you have to write an email and we will discuss your plan first. Once we agree on a plan, we will give you instructions to send a confirmation deposit (through PayPal or by credit card/bank transfer),  to book online tickets if needed  and we will send you a final recap of the booked service via email again. Nothing is standard and this might sound “vintage”,  but it’s on purpose.

We prefer not to use  portals and automated booking engines (like Viator, TripAdvisor, Get your guide, Airbnb Experiences ….) because we want to get in touch with you prior to our meeting: choose a standard tour>click a button >insert card details >DONE  sounds very efficient, but erases all the “relationship value” of the communication prior  to the tour. This is the phase when you tell us this is your long waited trip or your honeymoon, when we learn about your children being fans of Percy Jackson, when husbands ask how they can celebrate their wife’s birthday during the trip (or viceversa), when  you express your “devotion” for Italian food and wine … in one word, when we create your perfect trip together, something personal and unique just for your party.

On top of that, we want to avoid any extra cost on middle-persons (or OTA): I suppose you know they charge from 15 to 30% for their mediation job and of course this ends up in an higher fee for your tour (and BTW, Tripadvisor is now an OTA like any other, we are listed there only because it’s the most practical way to collect our reviews, but you have to look  specifically for “A Friend in Rome” as they do not make a hierarchical list according to the value, they only advertise companies who sell through them at their conditions and rates)

That’s why we need an email and the process can be a bit slower than with other companies…. it’s a choice, and we believe this little effort contribute to the success of your tour in Rome!