Category Archives: Reservation

Reservation

Mobile First Index for Hotel Website: Reinforce Your Efforts to Foster Rank & Bookings

Hoteliers!
Do you have a hotel website?
And you try to get more visitors there?
As well you pay attention to online website bookings?

Well then, it’s time you have to listen to what Google has to say. Why? Because, recent announcement from Google demands change in the way you have been building up your hotel website and online bookings.

Just a couple of days back, Google declared that they are going to carry out an experiment that would transform entire search results we get for our queries (of course, to provide better search experience)! Tech gurus call it ‘Mobile-first Indexing’. According to announcement, the ranking system that currently looks at desktop versions of a website, will now primarily consider mobile version of a website to rank it in search results.

What does this mean?

In a nutshell, Google will consider what does your website look like when viewed from a mobile device in order to rank it in results. (I know you just picked up your phone to check it ) System will bring those web pages higher in search results that provide most useful content and superior user experience on mobile devices.
Mobile First Indexing for hotel website

Mobile First Index: Game-changer enters the spotlight now!

Following this announcement, Google is introducing latest ranking system that is mobile-friendly and is mindful of content that performs better on smaller screens. Mobile-optimized web pages are indexed and used for displaying search results for both mobile and desktop users.

Why hoteliers need to pay attention to it ?

Well, since you have a hotel website and you always try to keep it on higher ranks in search results; you need to pay a close attention to this.

What hoteliers can do to stay firm in this transition from desktop to mobile websites?

  • Square one: Are you present there in mobile world?
    If you are already up-to-date with mobile-ready website, you do not have to change anything. Still you better how does your hotel website appear on smaller screens!
    Well, if you don’t have a mobile-optimized website yet, get a one ASAP. Preferably, you need to pick a responsive web design for your hotel website.
    This means, your website will adjust itself according to screen size and type of device to deliver uniform experience; without having to build different website for different screen sizes. Relieving, isn’t it!
  • Load time and relevance do matter, because
    Load time and relevance do matter
    To check load time of your property website, you can try using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. You can even get Custom Recommendations to increase your website’s speed. For more information and tools, check this out: How to Create a Better Mobile User Experience
  • What about content?
    When people say Content is King, it holds true always. Ensure that your website contains up-to-date quality content that helps it rank better. It is recommended to keep the content and links of mobile version similar to desktop version. You can use Read More links to put adequate content on smaller screens.
  • Don’t have a mobile site? Don’t mess it up in hurry, take your time to make an accurate one!
    Never launch a broken or incomplete mobile site, it would only hamper your search result rankings. Take good time to properly build it.

Mobiles bring in-store revenue: How this index shifting affects Bookings for a hotel website

Your website is a mechanism that popularizes your brand and transforms visitors in guests; a source of revenue that you cannot afford to bypass.

Google is aiming to make web browsing easier and well-suited for mobiles, by introducing this index. At bottom line, it helps businesses increase mobile visitor traffic on their website. Your mobile website will be primarily used for search engine indexing, which clearly implies that if you don’t have a mobile friendly hotel website;
then your rankings will be affected and consequently ‘bookings’.

Moreover, you might even face reduction in website traffic, also, even guests who reach your website on mobile will not convert and abandon booking process due to poor experience.

It is high time for you to measure the impact of mobile searches done by bookers.
Run the test here to see how does your website appear on mobile

Researches have shown that hotels with mobile friendly websites have higher chances of boosting mobile conversion rate to 5% or above. At such times, an excellent (Responsive!)Booking Engine can prove to be a booking booster. Read how-

  1. Clear and simple booking process and forms
    A quick 3-step booking process to instantly and easily book a room at your hotel from smartphones.
  2. User-driven appearance and UI to fit mobile browsing
    A responsive booking system that blends beautifully with your website theme and contains responsive structure, would provide matchless user experience.
  3. Instantly loading on smaller screens
    It should take no time to load and work smoothly, giving splendid booking experience to mobile bookers.
  4. User Engagement
    Compelling user friendly booking environment makes a visitor stay longer on website, thus reduces chances of booking abandonment.

Alternatively, if one website (your own, of course) is not enough for you; if you want to get more visibility; then you must consider flaunting your inventories on Online Travel Websites. Trust it, this way you can attract global traffic of guests at your property. Wondering how you can do this? Simple, get a Channel Manager and get set with all those highly popular travel sites right away.

Importantly, though started on a small scale, this whole update is in Testing Phase as of now. Hence, you might see the minimal effect initially.
It will take a couple of months for Google to completely launch this index. Meanwhile, you can prepare and arm yourself with knowledge and tactics to rank higher in Mobile First Indexing.

Behind the scenes: Where this all started

Mobile is incredibly changing and dominating the way people access web content. In recent times, the number of people hitting a Google Search from mobile devices has already surpassed the number of desktop searchers. When you want to know more about something you right away look at that smart-phone next to you, don’t you?
Well, Google knows it all. Hence, to make search results more useful, Google is now emphasizing ‘mobile-first factor.’ Therefore, if your website delivers poor user experience to mobile visitors, warning bells should ring in your head.

How mobile is taking over: These stats are enough to say it all

This recent research by Google makes it very clear what role mobile plays in shopping behaviour of millennials. They are more likely to shop for hotels and accommodation on a smartphone right away. These figures tell it all,

2/3 of young travellers plan antire trip on smartphone

64 millenial travellers book a hotel room from smartphone

66 millennial travelles search for flights and hotels on smartphone

Leisure Travellers & Business Travellers

(Source: Millennial Travelers: Mobile Shopping and Booking Behavior)

Now, you cannot overlook power of smaller screens anymore when it comes to capture the Let’s-book-it moments of millennial travellers.

The End Note

For industries like hospitality, dependent largely on digital consumer channels; very soon mobile will be everything. The way number of mobile users in bookings and travel shopping is booming, you should definitely pay heed to your digital appearance on mobile devices to keep up momentum.

Afterthought:

Right now, somewhere your guest is looking at your website from his smartphone to book at your property. Go and see for yourself how does your website look on that smartphone!

[This article originally appeared on ezeeabsolute.com/blog/]

From Better To Best: How Did We Transform Our Booking Engine

Dynamic evolutions in the hospitality industry never fail to grab one’s attention. And so we thought, maybe not too huge, but we do want to bring along a solid uplift in the way our booking engine works.

Considering the plethora of existing booking engines, we contemplated on what’s going to make our booking engine stand out from the aisle of others in the industry. And what will make it a choice for hoteliers world wide.

Ergo, a touch of responsive UI, a pinch of big-league add-ons and a wee bit simplifying the functioning.

That’s all our booking engine needed to get better and finer. By and by, improving user experience brought in the dire need of a bright-eyed mind set and unconventional thought process from our end.

Yes, our goals were basic, but what we desired to give our users was something extraordinary.

Booking Engine Comparison

Our Aim

We planned to develop something which is best fit for any kind of hotel, surpassing the international industry standards.

So, when we decided to produce a brand new booking engine, our major intent was to provide our users with an easy-to-use system and bookers with first-rate booking experience. With varied requirements and growing demands of each business type in the industry, it was truly a challenge to manage all of them through one interface.

We aimed above the mark, to hit the mark.

The Beginning

So, a year ago, we called the shots to change the way our booking engine worked, and flipped the approach of the system.

We began with gathering our team in brainstorming sessions to fixate on the newly included features. We strove to make it better for our users and thence bringing out the best in what we did – instead of adapting with the software you choose, your software should adapt with your requirements. We worked on the suggestions given by our users, and focused on making it a user-oriented product by keeping in mind the needs of disparate business cases.

Our focus determined the forthcoming reality.

We directed our endeavors to develop a booking engine which was not only simple and eccentric but also a booking engine operative from all kinds of devices. Our focus revolved around what our users required and their response to this uplift.

Minimal time-consumption, even lower intrusions in performing daily operations, as well as a responsive UI turned out to be our major objective of this attempt. We intended to reach a level higher than the existing booking engines, such that while dealing with any OTA, one faced no interruptions.

What did we do?

And then we thought, what more work can be done on existing features?
We got our answers by enhancing our search filters, room listings, the review section and myriad of other options, as well as improving on our security aspect. In light of users’ pain points, we were hell-bent on including those features which boosted their revenue. And so it lead to addition of plenitude of new modules and features.

We focused on solutions, and not on the problems.

Complete Process Of Booking Engine Update

 

Introducing this version’s highlight: Responsive User Interface

Contemplating on heaping ideas as we undertook this idea of responsive UI, we created prototypes, and asked for our users’ feedbacks. Absorbing those, we kept in mind the multitude of requirement cases corresponding to all kinds of hotels, as well as this industry’s demand of on-the-go access of applications.

To the user, the interface is the product.

Responsive Booking Engine

Aiming to provide an optimal viewing and using experience, we toiled to create a responsive user interface in our booking engine. Ease of reading, accessing, and minimal navigation through the system across a wide range of devices was the primary agenda behind responsive UI.

Discarding the need of making two different versions of the booking engine to be accessed in desktop and mobile devices, we put forth a system which answered all the questions a user came across. So now, what we created will flex and adapt to the size of screen it’s been viewed and accessed on.

No more having to wait for the system to load on your device. No more having to zoom-in to find the exact content.

All these new features and enhancements in the booking engine, go have a look at them here.

Withal a responsive user interface which will work on all kinds of devices, and an extraordinary booking engine interface accommodating the demands of all business cases.

We started afresh with a new outlook to the whole process, taking one step at a time and eventually pulling off the release of a world-class booking engine.

Takeaways:

  • Team work is the driving force behind any successful product.
  • Revamping a well-established system takes a fresh approach.
  • A user-centered product is the key to best user experience.
  • Change the plan if need be, but never the goal.

We are open to any feedbacks or suggestions from you all. Drop in a mail to reach us here.

Last but not the least, meet our eZee Reservation team behind the whole uplift.

Team Behind The Making Of New Booking Engine

Cheers to them!

Hoteliers – do you want to surge direct bookings? Learn the Amazon way!

Hospitality segment accounts for 9% of global GDP, and there are still enormous scopes to grow business in this ever growing sector. The tourist population has increased twofold in past 20 years and is expected to increase at the same pace for the coming two decades. This is why now it is an exciting opportunity for the hoteliers to bank upon this tremendous growth and the changing face of travel and tourism industry. For this, they have to figure out new and innovative ways to attract more travelers to their properties.

With Google and TripAdvisor adding the ‘Instant Booking Function’ it will be easier for hoteliers to facilitate bookings directly on their web portal

With Google and TripAdvisor adding the ‘Instant Booking Function’ to the myriads of other services they offer, it will be easier for hoteliers to facilitate bookings directly on their web portal. It will be similar to booking from an OTA website. However, in order to reap the benefits, the hoteliers will now need to create a smart plan to keep up the pace with competition for direct bookings.

Of late,with the intrusion of OTA’s and middlemen, a feeling of compromise has germinated within independent hoteliers. The OTA’s spend heavily on online marketing and customer acquisition, leading to their stronger presence, due to which there is a growing sense of anxiousness for hoteliers. In this scenario, the hoteliers- in most occasions- have to give huge commissions to them and eventually compromise with their room tariffs.

A majority of travelers these days conduct an online research on the internet for their travel planning with search engines like Google

Google and TripAdvisor contribute significantly in the decision-making process of the travel planners. A majority of travelers these days conduct an online research on the internet for their travel planning with search engines like Google. TripAdvisor helps them further to have a concrete assessment before finalizing the entire trip. With Google entering the instant booking segment, it has a direct competition with its giant advertisers. TripAdvisor, so far, had claimed to be an independent review aggregator which may now not hold true as it has entered the direct booking segment too.

3

Now coming to Amazon, it depends largely on user generated content with the prime objective of fostering sales.

Let us see how Amazon manages this so efficiently:

THE STRIDE TO TRIUMPH IN AMAZON STYLE

Be the owner of your own user generated content

Amazon does not rely on or allow other agents to participate in collecting user-generated content (UGC). This automatically paves way for a direct relationship with customers by procuring their data for direct communication. Similarly, as an hotelier, you can find multitude ways to gather UGC. The front desk staff can politely request the guests to contribute in UGC capitulation activity. In addition, the hotelier can grant access to the connection on signage across the premises for the guests to participate and share.

Empower the customers to share content effortlessly

Amazon gives the customer a platform to share their experiences in the form of text, photo, star ratings, video, etc. This allows the customers to generate a genuine review quickly in a manner which they are comfortable. Just like Amazon, even hoteliers can pleasingly appeal their guests to share their story without imposing unnecessary hiccups.

Channelize reviews to attract organic traffic

With the increase in a number of reviews on the website, more visitors are likely to land up on the website. Amazon masters the art of sharing these reviews quite effectively providing value addition for website visitors. Hoteliers too can utilize this approach and work towards receiving direct feedback from the guests so that the management can assess the shortcomings and improve on them.

Independent hoteliers will have to pay more attention to website and content layout

The procured database of new guests will certainly be the most valuable assets for the hotel. Demographics, purchase behavior and buying preferences of the guests available from the data can take the management far in preparing strategies to deliver higher conversions on their future campaigns.

Google and TripAdvisor have recognized a new revenue generating way that goes hand in hand with their existing specialties. In contrary to that, the independent hoteliers will have to pay more attention to website and content layout in such a way that it ultimately compels the guest to book.

The Magic Billboard Effect On Your Hotel Business!

The Billboard Effect

Hotels that reflect and feature on the websites of ‘Online Travel Agents (OTA)’ clinch an additional benefit of getting more reservations over and above direct sales. This advantage, in the hospitality industry, is often referred to as ‘Billboard Effect ’ through which hotels observe an upswing in the number of direct reservations through various connected distribution channels and hotel’s website. This effect not only quantifies the number of direct bookings but also enriches hotel’s online search. Numerous hoteliers over the globe have adopted this marketing technique to wangle an astonishingly great number of reservations through the middlemen.

Let’s see step by step what magic can the billboard effect do for your hotel business

Be as visible online as any other bigger brand

Modern travelers tend to surf dominant OTA websites before finalizing their travel plan for the sake of comparison between different hotels, locations, visitor reviews as well as best deals.Ultimately, this increases the chances of traveler visiting the hotel’s own website to seek more information once he finds it acceptable on the travel site. Essentially, Billboard effect is all about being present everywhere, as these travel giants splurge a huge amount of money in marketing and advertisements which eventually help you building your brand stature vis-à-vis the bigger established brands.

BILLBOARD EFFECT AND THE MAGIC IT CAN DO FOR YOUR HOSPITALITY BUSINESS!

Save yourself from extravagant marketing costs

Prominent OTAs spend a herculean amount on online advertising; this has significantly affected the increase in sales trend of the hotels. The precipitous rise of hotel OTAs is also because of the fact that these travel sites offer a wide range of hotels to bookers in a single place to select from instead of conducting a long and exhausting individual hotel search. Even though the booker found your reference on the OTA, many of them will still visit your website before finalizing the booking. You can easily take advantage of this opportunity to attract the guests directly while saving a lot on marketing expenditures.

Access reliance on the Billboard Effect can get a little sour

We all are aware that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, use of the Billboard effect is a little bitter-sweet as trying to be present and managing a huge number of distribution sites can go little awry as well. Quite often, things go out of control when hotels receive a massive number of booking but are unable to update their inventory on all the associated site. It can lead to over-bookings which…. let’s face it, is a sticky and very unpleasant situation. Additionally, with an upsurge in the bookings through the OTA, the commission the hotel has to pay increases as well.

What should a hotelier to do? How can you take advantage of the billboard effect without facing the negative impact of the approach?

What you need to do is a complete analysis of the current situation and apply a few well-tested approaches that attracts more direct bookings compared to the OTA.

Offer the most competitive rate

When the bookers visit your website, make sure they are aware that they will get the best price while booking directly with you instead with third-party agents.

Take advantage of guest reviews

Make sure to have a lot of positive reviews on OTA portals as well as your hotel website, this will definitely impact your sales positively and attract new guests to experience your hospitality.

Responsive website and content marketing

One of most obvious methods of converting lookers into bookers is offering a smooth and user-friendly booking experience with your website. At the same time, don’t forget the importance of content marketing either through promotions, a fresh and new travel blog series or newsletter.

To conclude

Thus, it is beyond doubts that the ‘Billboard Effect’ can work in your favor enchantingly well to enhance your brand reach and online visibility. Part of the magic formula is to be unswervingly represented across all influential OTAs, succouring to strengthen your brand reputation while not losing control of the situation to maintain a win-win situation.

This article was originally published on ezeeabsolute.com

Expert Q&A: Importance of Mobile Booking Engine

One of the biggest trend today in the industry is the rise of mobile bookings. More hotels are starting to take advantage mobile bookings and experiencing a rise in their bookings. Taylor Short, market searcher at Software Advice, who recently did a report on Hotel Booking App User Interface. The report included eZee Reservation’s mobile booking capability and strengths of its User Interface.

eZee Reservation - Mobile Booking Engine

In our first ever Q&A session, we spoke to Taylor short who shared his views on mobile booking engine and eZee’s mobile booking engine.

What are the key factors for a good mobile booking engine?

Travelers are tethered to their phones more than ever, and use them for all kinds of purposes on a trip. Offering functions like real-time rates and information about the area in a convenient and streamlined way is the best way to deliver value through a booking engine.

On what basis or standards did you narrow down the top 5?

When narrowing down the list of best mobile booking interfaces, I put myself in the shoes of a traveler and looked for a system that is eye-pleasing, simple to use and full of useful features—something I would find invaluable while traveling.

Should hotel focus more now on mobile marketing?

Absolutely. Mobile bookings are increasing as more and more travelers use their phones or tablets to plan vacations and trips. Hotels can draw significant business from these consumers by offering an engine that makes bookings fast and easy.

What should hoteliers look for in a mobile booking engine?

Hotels should prioritize two main factors when developing or choosing a booking engine: breadth of functionality and ease-of-use. Users should be able to access every function necessary to make their booking, such as maps, local information and a press-to-call feature, all while being simple to navigate.

What did you like most about eZee’s mobile booking engine?

The first thing I noticed about eZee Reservation’s mobile booking engine is its clean interface and large buttons that clearly show what functions are available, as well as the photos that hotels can use to maintain consistency throughout the booking process.

Where do you see the trend going in next couple of years?

I think mobile booking will be an increasingly important revenue channel for hospitality in the future, and the ones that standout will be those who offer potential guests the most convenient, feature-rich option.

About Taylor Short

Taylor Short is a Managing Editor at Software Advice, where he does market research on hotel management systems. Before joining Software Advice in Fall of 2013, he worked with various newspapers covering local government and freelanced for Reuters News Agency.

[This article originally appeared on ezeetechnosys.com]

How Content Marketing Can Help Your Hotels and Tourism Businesses

The word “Content Marketing” has been the industry buzzword for quite some time now, specifically in the last few years and there is definitely a valid reason for it. When done right it can do wonders for your business and increases brand value and build customer loyalty.

Businesses cannot stick with the old methodology when it comes to creating content and it is especially true for the hospitality industry. The industry that is as diverse as the businesses which offer different products and services.

There is neither a specific method nor any kind of rule that you need to follow when it comes to the creation of content and distribution of it. So how does one know if they are producing the right content and distributing it through the right channels? The answer to that question is a little more complex because getting the most relevant content to the correct audience at the very right time is no easy task and that too through the right channels.

So what exactly is Content Marketing? Content marketing is basically a practice of creating and distributing valuable content to attract the target audience. The practice of sharing the content in forms of text, images, videos, etc. and distribute it via websites, mobile apps, and social media channels.

Below I am breaking down the 3 most important things to keep in mind for Content Marketing.

Identifying Target Audience

Identifying the target audience for your hotel is the first step towards a successful content marketing strategy and then comes the segmentation of the target audience which is equally important. You will have to go back to the basics; you have to know what kind of travelers are choosing your hotel and for what reasons. This will help you to identify other aspects of your business, i.e. is your strength and weakness of the services you offer. Once you have identified your strengths, it becomes easier to reach your current and potential customers as you will be putting your brand’s best foot forward.

Content Creation

Now that we have figured out what our target audience is and what they expect, we come to the next step that is creating content. There are no fix parameters when it comes to content creation, but one needs to follow a simple rule of thumb that is to create engaging content which has a clear purpose that is to meet an organization’s goals. First, you have to identify the form in which the content will be published; today there is no limit in what form content can be published in, web pages, blogs, videos, brochures, etc. there is an immense amount of options to choose from.

But how does one know which is the right content and in which form? To be honest, you don’t and for that matter no one does either and that is perfectly fine. Initially, you will have to experiment quite a bit and majority of the time it might not even connect, but that’s okay. You have to remember that no one knows your products and services better than you and what worked for a different organization will not necessarily work for you and vice versa.

It is very important to make the content in the simplest form possible which can be understood by your audience as you do not want your audience to lose interest. Keep it simple, keep it relevant and keep experimenting.

Content Distribution

This is one of the harder steps in content marketing as the way organizations communicate and distribute content keeps changing with constant evolution in technology. Given the prominent rise of social media, the consumers themselves have become content creators and publishers. So now hotels will need a combination of traditional distribution channel such as print media and a mix of website, mobile app and social media channels to engage their target audience.

Trying to make sense of all the options available today for distribution of content in different forms can be very overwhelming. The best approach is to try out as many as options as available and see which one connects the most with your target audience.

Once you have gone through the cycle, you will start getting more clear idea about your own products and services and your audience. Content marketing is the best way to build relationships with the audience and keep the growth constant for your hotel.

This article was originally published on ezeetechnosys.com

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design

There is enough said and written about importance of mobile presence for businesses for the hospitality industry. As the sheer amount of mobile devices and tablets to connect the web is increasing daily. A Responsive Web Design (RWD) becomes more important, as businesses have to deliver their end users a uniform experience across various kinds of devices of all screen sizes.

Responsive Web Design is basically a technique to build web pages by using CSS3 media queries. It has a single URL and HTML code for the page which works uniformly across all the devices regardless of their screen size and type.

RWD provides whole range of benefits for businesses especially in the hospitality industry and perfect tool to drive traffic to hotel websites.

Superior User Experience

Imagine your website adjusting itself on different devices according to the screen size; the layout will automatically realign, the font size will change, and the images will resize. That is the main benefit of responsive web design, offering users a superior experience regardless of the device they use.

Easy Maintenance

Traditionally, the practice was to build a different website for mobile devices and desktop, then came the tablets, now you have to worry about 3 different websites. So when you have to update content on your website, you have to triple your efforts which is time consuming and hard on your pockets. RWD solves that issue right off the bat, you have a single HTML code to worry about, and you update that and that all it takes. This allows you to update content and keep making changes to the website according to changing requirements without much effort and keeping it relevant for a longer period of time.

Recommended by Google

Google recommends responsive web design when it comes to websites for desktop and smart phones. Reason being, it is more efficient for Google Bot to crawl the website, index and organize the content that is available online. It makes it easy for Google to locate your business as there is a single URL and HTML code. Responsive Web Design will not only give your business a higher visibility in searches but you can just maintain a single SEO campaign for your website without having to worry about users using different devices.

Conclusion

Responsive Web Design will have a great impact on overall impression of your website’s functionality and user experience. It will greatly improve the satisfaction of end users and generate higher traffic for your website across all devices. It provides the perfect unified approach to maintain a competitive edge and making your website more relevant over longer period of time.

This article was originally published on ezeetechnosys.com