Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mobile Booking is Now Essential

Still not gone mobile? You're not alone but you really should have gone mobile by now. There is no excuse anymore.

HotelMarketing.com this morning featured an excellent article by Eye For Travel outlining why its well worth doing.

"The more user friendly and ‘hassle’-free a company’s mobile booking service is, the more time and measurable ‘hassle’ they’ve gone through to make it that way. So the big question is this: is making the mobile reservation as smooth as possible worth the effort? EyeforTravel’s Ritesh Gupta finds out.
The modern traveller on the go expects a mobile booking service to deliver a turmoil-free experience while they search for, check availability and complete a booking. With mobile traffic on the rise, hotel companies run the risk of losing bookings if they don’t improve their mobile conversion rate - and mobile bookings are on the rise. Since 2011, 63% more travel suppliers saw mobile booking volumes increase, according to the EyeforTravel.com Social Media and Mobile in Travel Distribution Report 2013.
So yes the hassle is worth it but there are steps hotels companies should be taking to make the most of this fast growing channel. By learning how to convert and format content to work on any mobile device and finalise an appropriate real-time booking engine interface for users on the go, for example, the risk of attrition in the booking process becomes less of a problem. There are several crucial aspects that should come together for customers when choosing mobile booking engines.
A mobile booking engine should:
  • Feature a user-friendly interface that works with all platforms, and also identify the device automatically and present the apt custom interface.
  • Allow users to search, view availability and book a room seamlessly. Users should also be able to offer content, pictures and rates the way it is done for websites.
  • Allow hotels to manage inventory easily for mobile-related bookings to pave way for promotional pricing, room upgrades etc.
  • Allow hotels to track progress by, for example, tracking search terms or pay-per-click to shape full management reports.
So what can you do?

Bookassist Mobile Solution Ticks All The Boxes

Bookassist Mobile solution is already providing mobile websites for a number of clients in Scotland and are delighted to offer all of the above as standard from as little as £500 plus VAT.

The solution can be live for current Bookassist web booking engine clients within 48 hours but even for non Bookassist users it is a serious option as Ian McCaig from Bookassist Scotland points out.

"We are quite surprised at just how few hotels - even city centre destinations - have engaged with the mobile user for easy to make bookings. The OTA's are providing high commission models through their distribution channels but hotels really need to offer low cost booking on their own site for all the usual reasons. It is easy for any hotel to use the Bookassist mobile solution in the same way they would use other channels. The key difference however is that the mobile booking is a DIRECT booking at a fraction of the cost of the OTA sales. From enquiry to set up for a hotel not using Bookassist would normally take less than a week and the management of the ongoing rates and availability couldn't be easier."

If you're not mobile already you need to accept that your customer is.

There is no excuse why you shouldn't be picking up last minute business from all those mobile phones and tablets.

Contact Bookassist now on 0845 150 1314 for further information or better email them for an information pack

Download PDF Briefing Document

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vive La France!

The trading practices of the big OTA's is being questioned by the French. Good on them! Full article at The Telegraph is worth a read.

"France's biggest hotel employer's union, UMIH, argues that Booking.com – the largest online hotel reservation website in the world – Expedia and HRS, are breaking French and European competition rules by forcing hotels to give them their lowest rates, and then barring them from offering discounted rates elsewhere, including on the hotels' own websites.
It took its complaint to France's competition authority, adding that the commission imposed by the companies is becoming extortionate.
"The online hotel booking platforms have become a crucial channel of distribution for French hotels, notably the smaller ones," said UMIH. However, it added, "the advantages offered by these platforms have gradually been cancelled out by the harmful effects of commercial practices that violate European and French competition laws."

We couldn't agree more...