New limits for dining reservation finder - max # of active requests


#1

(Creating this topic so folks on Lines Chat can reference instead of re-answering similar questions)

We're implementing a limit of 2 active dining searches per person on our dining reservation finder. This means you'll be able to look for 2 dining reservations at a time. You can still put in as many requests as you want over the life of your subscription, but you'll only be able to have 2 active at any given time.

The limit should go in to effect this week (June 13, 2016).

If you've got 2 or more active searches, you'll need to wait until one of them finishes (or you delete it) until you can make another request.

What happens to my existing requests?
This applies to new requests only. If you've currently got more than 2 reservation searches active, all of them will be searched, and you don't need to do anything. The limit only applies to new requests.

Again, if you've got 2 or more active searches, you'll need to wait until one of them finishes (or you delete it) until you can make another request.

Why are you doing this?
A small number of travel agencies are responsible for a very large number of requests. Some individual agents have as many requests as 25 average families.

We asked these agents and agencies to limit themselves to a handful of requests at a time. Some did. Some didn't.

We don't have the people or time needed to police these agents on an ongoing basis. The best solution seems to be system-wide limits.

Remember that behind the scenes, we have real people running these searches. And we provide the service for free. We think these limits are the best way to share our staff's time across as many families as possible.

Why not just run 2 requests at a time per user?
We considered this idea - allow someone to enter a bunch of requests at a time, and then run no more than 2 of them at a time. Our concerns were that it would be confusing to many people (and generate emails that we'd need to answer); and that we'd need to implement some sort of priority-based system that would allow folks to prioritize their searches. That seemed expensive, time-consuming, and potentially unclear to a large number of people.

Why 2 requests, not 3, 5, or 10?
We looked at the stats, and most folks have 2 requests. We expect that most folks won't be terribly affected by this limit.

I desperately need more requests
We can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Email webmaster@touringplans.com to make your case. Keep it to one short paragraph, please.

The other thing I'd suggest is to prioritize your requests. Of the 120+ sit-down restaurants that offer reservations across Walt Disney World, about 7 of them are truly difficult to book. Use the dining reservation finder for those, and do the other searches manually.

The most difficult restaurants to book seem to be: Be Our Guest, Cinderella's Royal Table, Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, Le Cellier, Via Napoli, Rose & Crown Dining Room, and The Plaza,

I have a question that isn't answered here
Post the question here and we'll answer it.


Reservation Finder Rant- How do people book so fast?
#2

One suggestion I might have Len is to have it keep looking until the request has been removed or maybe just increase the limit. I've tried using it to get an 8am GG but once it finds an 8:15 or an 8:25 it stops. I'd like to have it keep looking, though I wasn't aware these were being done by people and not an automated system. Perhaps a tick box to only alert if the exact time is found? Still within the limit of 2 active searches.

Also since they are are done by people is there a reason not to include the dessert parties? They haven't released Epcot parties after 10/21 as far as I can tell and it would be great to get notified once they become available.


#3

I also was not aware that it was live people doing the searches. Now I feel bad. The reservations I was looking for were more for whimsy than "must dos". I think I'll go cancel them and wait for something more "must do" to appear before adding another reservation search .

That aside, if travel agencies don't comply, few things work better than a public shaming! :wink:


#4

Thank you for continuing to provide this service @len! It has worked well for my family.


#5

Thank you for continuing this service! I am grateful for it and the work that you and your team do!


#6

I, for one, appreciate the integrity with which TP & @len conduct business.


#7

We'll consider the dessert parties. We've got a few requests for them.

We're not going to be able to do exact-time searches for reservations. The reason is that it makes the back-office searches inefficient.

We combine as many "like" requests as possible into a single search, to keep things efficient. The simplest example is when we've got 2 different families with the same request for Be Our Guest at 8 AM on July 5, 2016. We only need 1 search to solve those 2 requests. That's a 50% reduction in searches.

You can also combine all "Magic Kingdom at 8 AM on July 5" requests into a single search, in case there's anyone who wants Crystal Palace or Cinderella's Royal Table. In fact, you could do all of WDW's 8 AM breakfasts on July 5 with 1 search.

By knowing how Disney's website handles searches, we're able to get a 50-70% reduction in the number of searches we have to make. That's one of the reasons we're able to do this for free. (The other, frankly, is a labor rate in Southeast Asia of around $1/hour.)

I hope that's understandable. Thanks for your support with this.


#8

Haha yes! I feel that this should really be a service used for individual people planning for themselves, not so much for TAs. They are getting a commission after all for doing the work/reasearch, aren't they?


#9

@len I really am grateful for the res finder service as well as all of the help TP provides, makes planning so much easier! Thanks for all your hard work!


BOG dinner reservation trade for December 31st?
#10

@len Thanks to you and the TP team for all you do! I've been a TP reader since way back--too long ago to mention!

I feel like an idiot because the reservation finder has found reservations for me, and I didn't know what I was doing and didn't click on the link. Instead I tried to use MDE to make the reservation for the time that the reservation finder found (say that three times fast!).

Now I know better and will stop wasting the time and energy of all the nice reservation finder finders and will click if they ever find me another one!


#11

Ah, it's okay. Some of that is built into the model. It's really a handful of people for whom we need to have limits. Good luck with your searches!


#12

I really appreciate this service. It helped us find a BOG reservation for our trip a couple of weeks ago. I'm sorry that a few have taken advantage of your site. I value so many of the services that TP offers, and happily renew my subscription each year. Have you thought about making this service available only to those with a TP subscription?


#13

Just a few thoughts from a travel agent.
My understanding of the Touring Plans usage was that you could have a personal and a business account but that you could not use your personal account to conduct searches (or use crowd calendars) for clients. I gift each client with a subscription to your site through your TA program. Therefore I don't create a backlog of requests, as each individual family has to use their own account. If people are violating these terms of service I would hope that they get cut off. They probably don't play fair in other areas of Disney booking either.


#14

Hmm but I have 3...but technically 1.

I want Cinderella royal table I am traveling with extended family which makes us 9. I have request for 9 but also if worst came to worst I was willing for us to be broken down as 5 and 4....how would this be handled?


#15

I am a TA and had no idea this was offered...I actually do my own work. It makes the TA's that DO their own work look bad, by taking advantage of your service. I'm sure those who use it to do their own planning find it very valuable!


#16

Are you actually using live Southeast Asians at around $1/hour to run all these searches?


#17

A request for 9 would count as 1. A request for 5 and 4 would count as 2.


#18

Wasn't kidding. You'll see instances where no searches get run one day because there's a local holiday we were not aware of.


#19

But you're kidding about the labor rate right?


#20

Thanks for the reply. I wasn't aware that there were live people behind the searches. Interesting! I've heard a lot about hiring overseas virtual assistants lately though.