FAQ - Commission-Free Booking Engine on VisitTruckeeTahoe.com

October 24, 2023
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Visit Truckee-Tahoe's commission-free booking engine is live. Explore Truckee lodging at lodging.visittruckeetahoe.com. Independent STR Homeowners can APPLY NOW to be listed in the booking portal.

Why? Receive Commission-Free Bookings

Receive bookings (reservation + credit card) from Truckee’s official tourism authority, Visit Truckee-Tahoe (VTT). Pay no commission while you benefit from large-scale promotion, special offers, advertising and traffic to the official Truckee tourism website VisitTruckeeTahoe.com. 

How Much Does it Cost? 

FREE for Option B (most popular choice), below unless you decide to use an ecommerce system (Option A) see below.

The software setup, development, project time and organizational management is paid for by TTBID dollars managed by Visit Truckee-Tahoe. See About Us.

To receive bookings (reservation + credit card), your costs are any fees that you normally pay for credit card transactions, property management and/or channel management services (which may vary depending on your connectivity).

Just like other channels, you receive the incoming booking with credit card information, directly into your customer flow whether that is automated via an API Connection or manual notification to your email inbox. If you accept bookings manually, processing the guest's credit card information requires a two-step login/verification to the backend of the booking engine. You are the merchant of record, not Visit Truckee-Tahoe or the software provider.

If you do not use a property management and/or channel management service, the cost is your time and your own credit card transaction fees.

What & When

Visit Truckee-Tahoe's commission-free, lodging booking portal displays Truckee hotel rooms and short-term-rentals (content, inventory, rates and availability) all in one place. This booking software allows VTT to incentivize travel during shoulder season and midweek. The booking engine completes Phase II for VisitTruckeeTahoe.com, originally launched in June 2021.

Who & How - Automated (API) Connection (Applies to Property Managers)

Visit Truckee-Tahoe is in an agreement with Ripe, a state-of-the-art software system that enables tourism authorities to display all lodging for their destination in one place. (Display only, not transact like a merchant).

Ripe technology, fully branded to Visit Truckee-Tahoe, securely delivers guest reservations, including full guest name, contact information, and payment (credit card) information, directly to the lodging supplier, who becomes the merchant of record. After confirming the reservation and running the credit card, the guest is in your (the lodging supplier’s) hands. The guest agrees to your policies as set by you, the lodging supplier.

In order to pass bookings (reservation + credit card) from the booking portal, Ripe uses established API (application programming interface) connections.

A connection securely pulls your property’s content (images, amenities, descriptions), policies, rates, and date availability from another online source (i.e. your own website) into the booking portal so that the user (who is browsing on lodging.visittruckeetahoe.com) can view all lodging available in Truckee on a trusted, official website. Alternatively, (without an API connection) you can manage your property(s) manually and directly on Ripe. See next section: How - Manual, No Connection.

On the booking portal, the guest makes a selection, agrees to your (lodging supplier's) unique terms and policies, then provides a credit card and “books” to submit. This immediately sends the guest’s information to you, the lodging supplier. It is then the lodging supplier's responsibility to confirm the booking and run the credit card.

If a value-add, special offer, or incentive is provided by Visit Truckee-Tahoe, that will be fulfilled behind the scenes and does not require a lodging supplier to do anything other than help promote the offer as presented on VisitTruckeeTahoe.com in order to get more bookings sent your way. 

The goal is to connect your STR property(s) or hotel rooms using a Ripe API that avoids paying a commission (as you do for an OTA). This will take communication to set up between you, acting as the lodging supplier, and Kassi Harris, Lodging Supply Specialist at Ripe. kharris@bookripe.com

BookRIPE APIs available today are Sabre GDS, TravelClick, SiteMinder, Inntopia, Escapia, Track and Streamline.

Expedia: Following the step-by-step prompts on Expedia Partner Central, you can successfully list your property. This will generate an Expedia ID. Once Ripe obtains the Expedia ID, they can connect, and you will benefit from a fully automated connection on the e-commerce platform. Expedia commission would apply.

Vacasa: There is no anticipated connection with Vacasa on the horizon, as that service has not published an API or announced plans to.

How - Manual, No Connection (Applies to Independents)

Three options are most applicable for Independent Homeowners on Airbnb, VRBO, etc. who do not use a channel management service and/or do not wish to connect and pay commissions to Expedia, Booking.com, or VRBO. 

OPTION A - If you choose to not use a Ripe Automated API Connection, you can manage your property(s) images, descriptions, policies, rates, and availability manually.

Once your property is built out by Ripe and approved by you, you will have user/pw access to your property’s dashboard on Ripe in order to manage your home profile and take in bookings. 

If someone books your property on the the portal located on lodging.visittruckeetahoe.com, you will be immediately notified via email. You will then login, accept the booking, run the credit card and serve as the merchant of record. In other words, you are acting as your own business entity, handling e-commerce transactions, and must have the means to run a credit card. 

The booking portal is not a like-for-like replacement for Airbnb, and does not provide e-commerce services, guest ratings, reviews, or add-ons such as insurance. 

CALENDAR TIP- while managing your rates must be manual, Ripe can connect and display your calendar availability (only) from Airbnb and VRBO. Ripe can not connect back (two way) and remove inventory. You will need to do that yourself.  Ripe will require access to your calendar link from either Airbnb or VRBO.  Remember, if a booking is sent to you from the booking portal on lodging.visittruckeetahoe.com, you will need to manually remove booked dates from Airbnb or VRBO. Ripe will not remove inventory from those sites. 

OPTION B - Just want your property displayed on the  booking portal located on lodging.visittruckeetahoe.com, and have all leads go straight to your listing on Airbnb or VRBO to handle your entire ecommerce process, including commission/costs? You can do that. Your property will be setup with an outgoing link that goes directly to your Airbnb or VRBO page. 


Why - Learn More

Differentiate your property(s) as a Sustainable Truckee Eco/Green STR

Visit Truckee-Tahoe has developed a set of STR Green Standards, inspired by the California Green Business Network and modeled from Hawaii's Ocean Friendly restaurant initiative. Properties that meet the criteria (self-attested compliance) are filterable as "Green/Eco-Friendly" in the booking engine. Apply now - Become an Eco/Green Lodging property and receive:

  • A Sustainable Truckee Eco/Green Lodging gift bag which includes a two Reusable Green Boxes for the first 50 qualified applicants, branded beanie, stickers, certificate, window cling, TART magnets, BCycle brochures, and the NEW Sustainable Truckee Pre-Arrival Guide for Guests.
  • Premium placement on the Visit Truckee-Tahoe Booking Engine as an Eco/Green STR.
  • Print and digital license for use of the Sustainable Truckee logo.
  • Two Reusable Green Boxes from Keep Truckee Green to offer guests (available to the first 50 qualified properties).

Differentiate the Truckee Brand

Truckee is unique and merits custom content, maps, filters, and more, all in Truckee’s "brand voice” that resonates with our social communications and VisitTruckeeTahoe.com. We expertly market our destination and will maintain that quality of service through the customer’s planning and booking journey.

Promotion of Sustainable Truckee - Driving Responsible, Mindful Visitor Behavior

By driving all traffic to the booking portal, Visit Truckee-Tahoe is able to highlight properties that are committed to eco/green best practices in addition to disseminating and sharing information about how to be a responsible visitor while here. Learn More.

Visitor Experience: One-Stop-Shopping for Truckee Lodging

Our goal for lodging.visittruckeetahoe.com is to be the best and most comprehensive lodging portal for Truckee. Guests can sort by filters, get in-depth information, and explore the area via an interactive lodging map, all while staying on the official tourism website for Truckee. 

Visitor Experience: Incentives & Value Adds for Truckee Lodging

Visit Truckee-Tahoe, the tourism authority, can offer and manage incentives to book lodging midweek and shoulder seasons. That may include unique packages and value adds to promote soft dates, special events and marketing campaigns. 

Promote Booking Direct, Truckee Lodging Partners Are Merchants of Record

Visit Truckee-Tahoe helps drive bookings and web traffic to our lodging partners. Understanding the cost pain of high commissions to Online Travel Agencies, our goal is to run a portal that's easy to connect to and allows lodging suppliers to be the merchant of record in accordance with their policies.

Collect Valuable Data

Having our own lodging booking portal gives us access to valuable data on travel and search trends.

Watch a 45-Minute Overview Webinar

Still wish to understand it a bit more? Watch this webinar conducted in March.

Next Steps - Apply Now

Independent STR Homeowners APPLY NOW by filling out the Google form. Once we receive your application, Ripe will begin building your property listing.

Unsure of the best way to connect your property? Email Kassi Harris at kharris@bookripe.com, Lodging Supply Specialist with Ripe, who will help connect your home or rental inventory to display on the booking engine.

Got questions for Visit Truckee-Tahoe? Please reach out.

This Frequently Asked Questions article was last updated on October 24, 2023.

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