Booking Fees

Have ‘we’ become blasé about being ripped off eyes wide open, because it is transparent?

Example case in point. A local restaurant and a local vineyard are having an ‘event’ inclusive of a dinner, matching wines, and a talk buy the winemaker. We have been to a few similar ‘events’ over the years but this one is ‘special’. Keep in mind this is a soft sell for the vineyard and a private party equivalent for the restaurant, not a rock show with throngs of eager fans, but that is not my focal problem.

Instead of making a booking with the restaurant or vineyard, they are using Eventbrite to ticket. Eventbrite adds their fee for providing ticketing service. Another company in the business is Trybooking, who only adds about half as much. Neither charge flat percentages and have their formulas, but in this case it worked out to 6.40%.

Their service is essentially taking and processing card payments and keeping track of attendance, and sometimes reserved seats.

Back to ‘is it just me’ but aren’t these services part of doing business? If a meal and wine sales was, say $100, shouldn’t that cover their costs, and if it didn’t wouldn’t the smarter thing to do be to wrap their overhead fees in their ticketed price? Or for the business to contract the lowest cost provider as recognition they are at least efficiently passing their costs to ‘us’?

This seems to be another ramification of the cashless society whereby we are getting ‘billed’ for more and more and the businesses think they are washing their hands as ‘not me mate, just passing on my costs in a transparent manner’.

Is it just me who has my back up on this trend and the ‘execution’ of extracting money like this?


Part of me says they are silly to expose the cost of booking as a separate item - it feels like a duck-shove - but to be fair, they need to have it done properly for it to work, so maybe they need to engage these services to achieve that?

Which brings me to my second and more perplexing point - how do they run a restaurant if they aren’t proficient at taking bookings? I’m no expert in this field, but I’m thinking the ability to take bookings is a key part of running a restaurant - they could still do the pay up front, over the phone - I’ve seen it done, it doesn’t even seem that hard …

My gut feel is that I’d give it a miss, and let them know why :slight_smile:


I would say yes, otherwise it is drip pricing and no different to these folks…


Last year our local Agricultural Show offered savings in time & money on a pre-paid ticket through a booking agency. Otherwise it was queue up and pay full cash on the day. After booking fees (which were not mentioned in the Show advert), the saving was $0.18 and it took longer to get through the gate - queue at the main gate, check printed ticket against listing, issue & sign for numbered band. Half hour wait & 2min x 2 staff.

This year they had volunteers pre-selling tickets in town $5 off. Could go through any gate, flash wristband, 2 minutes max. Much better. Much happier.


I also suppose that this is another form of digital disruption that doesn’t deliver to the customer…only to the booking company to pocket unreasonable fees to boost their own profits.

Digital disruption is supposed to make things cheaper for the same product or service…in realty many forms of digitial disruption only serve those who have the digitial disruption idea…to make money from us (who are the mugs).


This I think is just a facet of moving to a service based economy. It is about producing services rather than producing goods for sale. Like the electricity service in Qld where we have added service industry ie the retail billing businesses between the producers (power generators and supply network) and the consumer. It adds jobs that if it had remained more direct would not need to exist (more boards, more chairman, more CEOs, more senior management as examples), it adds more overheads because of the complexity, it adds new profit taking, it adds more cost to the consumer because of the added staff and profit taking, it adds inefficiency, and it adds donations to political parties among other industry benefits and consumer costs. Very few of the outcomes are of any real benefit to the consumer, rather they serve to increase costs and the clients of these “in the middle services” are the businesses they represent and the customers are just the goods they trade in.

A further example of this “in the middle” service industry look at rental payment schemes such as Integrapay, REconnect & RentPay. What they sell is convenience to the business using them. The benefiting business no longer needs to deal with a client’s money and if something goes wrong it isn’t the business but it is the service business who get’s blamed and they give themselves the out that they will do the best they can but “delays” happen for which they “do not have responsibility for”. So if your payment doesn’t go through in time they deny responsibility for any costs incurred by the payer ie the payer bears all responsibility until it is in the hands of the party they actually had to pay.

Some of these “in the middle” service businesses go beyond just a single industry they serve. Some have inserted themselves into many more areas and as an example look at what Integrapay have offered:

It isn’t good, it adds no real value to the finance chain beyond taking more from the end user (consumer), it isn’t efficient, and it adds deniability to any transaction failure.


I regard Go-Fund-Me type schemes as an over priced service (taking up to 15%). From what I see there is little oversight of campaigns with some scams and questionable ventures allowed to continue raising donations / support. They get free advertising when a ‘worthy cause’ mentions donations can be made through XXX. What happened to rattling the tin (for local causes) to setting up a bank account? End of story is that only 85% actually gets to the flood victims. I hear people talk about fund raising using these agencies as though this is the only way to do it. I know it is easier - no one running a raffle, seeking donated items to auction, etc.


Even the local chinese, pizza etc takeaway use these ordering services and yes you actually pay more using that online “service” as opposed to making a phone call & ordering.
This is just another add on cost that they can get away with.

We went to a local chain cafe on a Public Holiday and while waiting to be served (not table service) I noticed a sign stating there is a 15% surcharge on Public Holidays making an already expensive coffee ($5.30) $6.09. The lady in front noticed the sign at the same time as I did, however she had already ordered & was about to tap her card, she cancelled her order and I just walked away.

Public Holiday rates are built into the Cost of Goods when budgets are done so yes it is a cost of doing business. In this case it was just a rort used by this particular location, our regular location does not do this.

We visited and stayed at Crown Metropole a while back. and they encourage you to charge any Crown Restaurants back to your room, they then charge you a credit card fee that you wouldn’t be paying if you paid at these restaurants. Hence we never charge back to our room.

Problem is when you make a booking and pay online they hit you with a card fee, whether it be a credit card or a debit card. From my experience (back in my bookkeeping days) the Merchant fee for large corporations was a lot less than for smaller users, so in a lot of cases it’s just extra profit disguised as a card fee.

As you said a ramification of a cashless society, however, I think in a lot of instances we are forced into paying by card. Its not safe to carry around large amounts of cash to cover accomodation & restaurants. Even Hire car companies charge a card fee and their preferred method is card because they will not take cash at some of their pickup points. Thrifty Car Hire, Brisbane Airport for one.


This allied thread might be interesting for those who have not wandered through it.


An interesting point to this is the removal of penalty rates and thus a business has no larger overheads on a public holiday than any other day of an ordinary week. If they choose to pay penalty/higher rates then I can see why they might seek to offset that with higher charges but I would think they are a rare beast in today’s world.


Good point. I would put money on them not paying Penalty Rates.


Maybe itnis more correct to say that a reduction in penalty rates rtaher than their removal…

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The other ting I have noticed over the years is not at accommodation rates have increase disproportionately to inflation…and increases with many accommodation types have been significantly more since the accommodation booking aites have started to dominate the market. I can only assume that the increases are to cover the very high costs imposed by the accommodation booking sites. If this is the case, itmakes a bit of mockery of their claims of lower prices as a result of booking through their websites.

It would be an interesting excerise for someone to carry our a assessment of chnages in accommodation prices since the booking site domination of the market…and whether this change has benefited the consumer.

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Kathy2 - The extra amount for services on public holidays was allowed under law to cover the extra cost of staffing on those days and encourage businesses to open. However, if penalty rates have been removed, then surely this extra charge for service on a public holiday should also be removed?


It has been known for some time that if you see a price on one of the hotel comparison booking sites, you could call the hotel direct and get a cheaper price still because they don’t have to pay what amounts to the ‘agent’ fee.

Your comment about being forced into card payments is a valid one. I for one refuse to be bullied into paying by card for items of relativelt little value. I find it preposterous that a supermarket for example makes you pay by card for a newspaper!

Although I understand all the financial implications behind the curtains I admit to enjoying paying for very small purchases by card at the self serves, be it Woolies, Coles, Bunnings or anywhere. They ask, I respond, especially when their costs probably approach or exceed their profit on the sale (and there are no surcharges).


Have you considered the underlying value of an accommodation property is not related to general inflation, but the cost/value of property?

With most accomodation in high value inner city and key tourist centres they are also subject to the greatest increases in property value.

Any new property has to recoup the investment at today’s prices?

Any older property is likely on sold relative to the cost of new for a tidy profit?

General inflation is perhaps only a smaller factor in meeting running costs. However rates, water, sewage and electricity seem to go up without inflation being affected?

If I were the business owner, I would want to employ a third party to make the whole booking thing easier than have to be responsible myself. I’d just bump up my ticket price to absorb the cost of the third party.

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I’ll bet the venue isn’t charging less for their services because they no longer need to take bookings, but they may well have reduced staff numbers. Win win for them. It’s service industries for service industries, and someone will make a nice stipend out of this ‘value add’ for which we will pay if we want the service.

Only a critical mass of people not buying their product will dissuade them from this behaviour. If people keep buying in sufficient numbers to make it profitable, it validates their approach.

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