All posts by eZee Technosys

Introducing Price Widget feature

The brand new version of eZee Reservation is out now!
Know which new features were added with other enhancements.

Charge your Booking.com guests via 3G DirectPay

Especially for your guests who make their booking from Booking.com, you will be able to charge them on their credit cards directly through 3G Direct Pay payment gateway.

As a result, the payment process will be convenient for you as well as for your guest, leading into a hassle free transaction.

You can use this feature from:
Booking List Action View Reservation At bottom click the button “Charge Now”.

Let your guests save their bookings for later

At times, your guests may get interrupted by higher priority tasks leading to an incomplete booking process. As a result, your guests can get disappointed and may cancel their bookings at your hotel.

Considering this fact, we have introduced a new feature in this version of booking engine, which will help your guests continue the booking process from where they left off.

This feature, will ask for an email address from your guest, and further send a link on that email address, following which will help them continue with their booking later at their convenient time.

You can enable this feature from:
Setting Booking Page Visibility Settings “Show save for later feature on billing page”.
This option on being enabled, will be accessible on the billing page of your booking engine.

Note: This feature is available only with the Responsive UI of eZee Reservation.

save-for-later

Price Widget: Compare rates with OTAs

Occasionally, while making a booking from the booking engine page, your guest might get a need to see your room rates on the OTAs your hotel is listed on.

And so, we have introduced a Price Widget feature on your booking engine page, wherein you will be able to display your room rates from OTAs like Make my trip, Expedia, Agoda, ClearTrip and Goibibo.

This feature will let your guest compare your room rates and further urge them to make a direct booking easily.

Note: This feature will work only if you are using eZee Centrix channel manager.

price-widget-final

What’s more in this release:

  • Display particular packages directly on your website, following which your guest will be able to easily book a room with a package offer.
  • You’ll be able to distinguish special requests and child age by showing them separately and not in the remark section.
  • You now have an option to select a Business Source on Add Reservation screen.
  • You can set limitations on the number of rooms your guest can book in one shot. Enable and configure this option from: Settings Booking Page Booking Engine setting “Number of rooms that booker can book in one booking” Enter the no. of rooms you want to set for this option.
  • Additionally, you’ll be able to set limitations on the number of inventory to display on the booking engine page. Configure this option from: Masters Manage Rooms Room Type “Inventory to be displayed on Booking Engine”.
  • Change the reservation type as per your needs directly from the system. Additionally, you can also opt to get notified on changing the reservation type.
  • We have developed a feature, using which you will be able to hold a booking right from the Add Reservation screen. Furthermore, you will also be able to send an email to the guest on Room Hold details.
  • You can now choose to hide or show your promotional codes on the billing page, as well as to hide or show rate plans from booking engine page.
  • Track the IP address from where your users login in the system.
  • The booking engine page now comes with new fonts in the responsive UI.
  • Quick filters for room types and rate types in monthly deals.
  • Enable promotions only on selected dates.
  • Send your guests reservation confirmation emails when they book a room through a Travel Agent.
  • Two new SMS integrations: MsgClub and ExpertTexting
  • Several additions in Payment Gateway integrations: CCAvenue MCPG, PayU Nigeria, BML/MPG, Virtual Card Services, Stripe, MPU card option on 2C2P PG, PayZen and eGHL.

Quick FAQs

How to get the new version of booking engine?
Since eZee Reservation booking engine is a cloud product, you do not have to follow any steps to download and install the new version into your system. Just sit back and relax, and your system will be updated in no time. As soon as the update is out, you will be able to avail new enhancements on the latest version of the booking engine.

What will happen to my data after the update?
Your data will remain unchanged after the update. You can begin using the system from where you left off, immediately after the update.

Quick Links

Have any queries or doubts with the system or facing trouble using eZee solutions?
Submit a Ticket Download Release Notes Contact eZee Live Support

Our Booking Engine Just Got Secure

eZee Reservation version 1.0.49.54 has released and available now.
Make the most of these features, enhancements and pile of more highlights in this latest version.
Read on to know more!

Booking Engine Now Secure With HTTPS

When you work in an environment where payments are a major part of everyday transactions, security becomes a dire necessity.

In account of this practice, we have secured our booking engine with HTTPS secure link for all our users. Because of this change, your information will remain confidential, thus saving it from any unauthorized access through cyber attacks.

https

Check Availability Before Adding A Reservation

Manual additions in a system can always lead to confusions or result into a haphazard condition of the system. Ergo, when you opt to add a reservation manually through the Add Reservation screen, the system will check availability of the selected room type for the selected duration. As a result, you will directly be able to know when to take a booking.

This feature will display a calendar in the screen which will indicate the available rooms as per the dates.

check_availability

Split Room Cases : Not A Worry Anymore

Split Room Cases are a true cause of inconvenience for a guest. Not only does it leave a negative impact for your hotel, but also spoils your guest’s experience during his stay.

So, in the previous version of booking engine, we had developed a feature wherein you will be able to give an intimation to the booker about the Split Room Case while he performs the booking. Continuing with the same, we have built a new option – Discard Inventory of Split Room Case, which if chosen, will not show the booker any inventory if his chosen room type and stay duration contains a split room case.

This will save you from a disappointed guest as well as the guest from hassles of changing rooms during his stay.

Note: This feature is useful exclusively for users who are utilizing eZee Absolute and running inventory on Live mode.

discard-inventory

Link Your Instagram Page With Your Booking Engine

Social Media poses as a natural extension of your hotel’s website. With increasing number of travelers being active on social media, it’s a must for hotels to mark their social media presence and engage with their guests.

With Facebook integration already a part of our booking engine, we have moved a step ahead, and provided an option to link your Instagram page with your booking engine in this version. This will work similar to the Facebook page link, and display an Instagram widget on your booking page, with a link to your Instagram page.

You can enable this option from: eZee Reservation Configuration Panel Property Setup Property Details Instagram Account Link

instagram

Introducing Date Wise Validity Deposit

Occasionally, it might happen, that you incur different deposit amounts for your guests depending on the season they arrive in.

At such times, taking date wise deposits can be the best bargain. Keeping this thought in mind, we have enabled the system to fix the deposit amounts as per the dates. Additionally, the system used to allow taking Rate Plan level deposits, but due to this feature, the system now has the facility to take up different deposits on Package level.

You can avail this feature at: eZee Reservation Configuration Panel Marketing Packages

Something more in the latest release:

  • Manage Payment Types for manual booking easily through the enhanced Payment Type Module.
  • Set a promotion’s limitation as per the current date.
  • Get better search results using new filters in Package Module and Rate Plan Module.
  • Display the minimum stay duration of each room type right on the booking engine page.
  • We changed the details to be sent in the Reservation Confirmation Email sent to the guest.
  • The Hotel List API will also display Country Alias, Booking Engine URL, Email Address and Hotel’s Currency Code details.
  • You’ll be able to change reservation type right from the reservation panel.
  • The Add Reservation Wizard now includes the Credit Card Information tab in order to accept the credit card payments and save the information while taking a reservation manually.
  • You can now identify the metasearch engine from which any booking was made at your hotel. Thus, the audit trail instead of displaying API call, will now reflect the metasearch engine.
  • From this version onward, you will be able to set Credit Card as well as a Payment Gateway as a payment option simultaneously.
  • Similar to Package level, we have enabled date wise deposit validity for Rate plan level too.
  • You can perform a group booking right from the Add Reservation screen.
  • New Payment Gateways Added:
    1. CC Avenue Payment Gateway
    2. Public Bank Berhad Payment Gateway
    3. Razorpay Payment Gateway
  • New SMS Integrations:
    1. SMS 4 U
    2. Cute SMS
  • eZee Reservation is now available in 3 new languages:
    1. Icelandic
    2. Turkish
    3. Japanese

Quick FAQs

How to get the new version of booking engine?
Since eZee Reservation booking engine is a cloud product, you do not have to follow any steps to download and install the new version into your system. Just sit back and relax, and your system will be updated in no time. As soon as the update is out, you will be able to avail new enhancements on the latest version of the booking engine.

What will happen to my data after the update?
Your data will remain unchanged after the update. You can begin using the system from where you left off, immediately after the update.

Quick Links

Have any queries or doubts with the system or facing trouble using eZee solutions?
Submit a Ticket Download Release Notes Contact eZee Live Support

Want to lure the honeymooners to your hotel? Know exactly how!

Honeymoon is the most memorable holiday for a married couple and they love to make this period the most enjoyable, enthralling and spunky one in every possible way! They look for a stellar place and accommodation where they can enjoy in abundance as well as create some indelible memories to cherish forever. Honeymoon is not just about traveling for a couple, but also a golden opportunity to spend and devote quality time together without any extrinsic botheration.

For hotels, depending on their location, this serves as a great opportunity to attract the honeymooners to their property

For hotels, depending on their location, this serves as a great opportunity to attract the honeymooners to their property and give the newlywed couple a grand reception to make their honeymoon very special in a way that they remember it nostalgically for the rest of their life!
Here are a few tips to make your hotel an ultimate destination for the honeymooners:

 First impression is the last impression – A grand welcome

Almost all the travelers believe that the first impression of the hotel will give a basic idea how their overall stay is going to be – and same stands true for the honeymooners as well! With a smile on the face of the front-line staffers, the check-in formalities for these couples should be friendly, personalized and genuinely quick. They can be offered a refreshing welcome drink upon arrival while they complete the check-in process and a bottle of chilled champagne or local wine for their use during their stay along with fresh fruits to create an all-embracing great welcoming atmosphere.

Awe the couple with great room decor

Once the newlywed couple enters the room, they should be amazed with joy to see the visible efforts that the hotel management has made to serve them with some of their exclusive arrangements to make the room ambiance ultra-romantic. These arrangements can include slow instrumental music, dim lights and battery operated votive candles around the room with a bouquet of fresh flowers on the desk. The path leading from front door to the bed can be sprinkled with flowers (preferably rose petals). Chocolates are always an ideal catalyst for all romantic occasions. Placing a heart shaped chocolate box in the honeymoon suite for the honeymooners can be an excellent gesture by the hotel management. Last but not the least – elegant room fragrance will serve as icing on the cake to make the entire atmosphere amorous.

honeymoon2

Organize a romantic candle-lit dinner

Dinner dates play a very significant role in love and romance. It is something so special that brings two new lovers closer, relighting the love for a seasoned romance. It’s about adoring each other’s company in the warm glow of love on a salubrious night. The hotel management can make this moment all the more special by arranging candle-lit dinner for the new couple either on the pool-side or on the beach with artificial glowing candles and heart shaped red balloons surrounding the dinner table.

Offer a romantic jaunt

Arranging for a special sightseeing romantic trip for the honeymooners could be an important gesture from the hotel management. This can be planned at some incredibly peaceful, a little secluded and in a highly romantic surrounding to make them feel momentous. On returning from the jaunt, they can be offered relaxing massage and aromatherapy bath along with flower bath filled with petals of numerous red roses!

If you want to tap the niche market of honeymooners, focus your marketing and digital advertising more on unique offerings for new couples

If you want to tap the niche market of honeymooners, focus your marketing and digital advertising more on unique offerings for new couples as well as inclusions you will provide them to make their experience as buoyant as possible. Sharpen your advertising efforts through media channels catering honeymoons and weddings. In addition, reach out to travel agents, attractive gift registry programs, wedding planners and other entrenched networks.

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.

Alert your bookers of room change with eZee Reservation.

Each of this and more is in the latest version of eZee Reservation booking engine.
Read on to know!

Provide your guests a pleasant stay by checking same room availability

This enhancement is exclusively for users utilizing eZee Absolute PMS and running inventory on Live Mode.

Every so often, your guest may select such stay dates when there are chances of split room cases which may lead to a situation where your guest might have to perform room move. For example, if your guest selects a stay duration of 15th March to 20th March for Presidential Suite, and Presidential Suite 1001 is available from 15th to 18th and Presidential Suite 1002 is available from 19th to 20th. If at such a time, your guest makes the booking; he won’t be intimated about the definite room move he will have to do once he arrives.

When such kind of situation arrived, the booking engine page displayed the rooms as available. However, in this version; to save your guest from the troubles of room move, we have a drop down list for you on how do you want to show the inventory on the booking engine page in such cases.

This drop down list can be viewed in:
eZee Reservation Configuration Panel Settings Property Assign Rooms Check Live Room Availability/Inventory: There are two options for you to choose from.

Assign_Rooms

    • Normal: In this case, the booking engine will not consider such special cases of split room availability, that is, the booking engine will show inventory of both rooms and if the booker tries to make the booking, then the system will not give any intimation of room move. This is the selected option by default.
    • Normal but give intimation: This case is similar to the normal case, but when booking is being performed, the system will give intimation to the booker; that he might have to change rooms once he arrives.

If your property is working on option 2, there will be an option of “Don’t book room when different room is available” on ‘Add Reservation’ window. So, in case when split rooms are available and you have check-marked this option, the system will not take booking and display inventory as not available. whereas if you have not check-marked it, then even though split rooms are available, the system will take booking.

Live rooms 3

Added Prepaid, Non-Cancel, Non-Refundable option for Packages

So far, the booking engine gave you a provision to apply Prepaid, Non-Cancel, Non-Refundable option for Rate Plan only. However, from the latest version, you will be able to apply these same options for packages too.

You can enable this feature from eZee Reservation configuration:
eZee Reservation Configuration Panel Marketing Packages

Refund_Non_Refund_Policy

Fail credit card processing information now on booking list

Every now and then, when a booker performs a booking at your property and proceeds to make payment; the payment might get successful from the payment gateway but eZee system might not get updated with the same.

To differentiate such bookings from incomplete bookings; we have added a new category of bookings named Failed Credit Card Processing. This category of booking will list out those bookings for which the system has not received any response from the payment gateways.

Failed credit card processing

 

 

 

Failed credit card processing2

Through this list, you will be able to remain updated with such bookings, contact the payment processing team, and verify the records accordingly.

View the Update Logs screen in a new style

Update Logs screen in eZee Reservation configuration displays details of all updates done on inventory, rates, etc in the system. The logs will give the time at which the update was done along with the user who performed the update.

In the latest version of eZee booking engine, we have enhanced the user-interface (UI) of the Logs screen to trace the update logs easily and make it more understandable.

Update_Log

New Payment Gateways added

Several new payment gateways have now integrated with the booking engine, which include:

      1. Bardo Payment Gateway
      2. KBZ Bank Payment Gateway
      3. DOKU Payment Gateway
      4. First Atlantic Commerce
      5. eGate Payment Gateway

Know what’s more in the latest release:

      • You can now select and choose various information as mandatory to make a booking on Add Reservation screen.
      • All the incomplete bookings are now displayed separately on Home and CRS Dashboard in order to differentiate between complete and incomplete bookings.
      • New Privileges introduced: eZee Reservation Configuration Panel Users Edit Privileges
        1. ‘Access to create User Role’ to restrict users to create new user roles.
        2. ‘Access to Edit or Delete User Role’ to restrict users to edit or delete user roles.
      • Get to know the date and time of the last verification request sent to verify any email address, from which you want to send email using SMTP.
      • From this version onward, you will be able to form a new email template (content) for PDF attachment and other email template for confirm booking email.

Quick FAQs

How to get the new version of booking engine?
Since eZee Reservation booking engine is a cloud product, you do not have to follow any steps to download and install the new version into your system. Just sit back and relax, and your system will be updated in no time. As soon as the update is out, you will be able to avail new enhancements on the latest version of the booking engine.

What will happen to my data after the update?
Your data will remain unchanged after the update. You can begin using the system from where you left off, immediately after the update.

Quick Links

Have any queries or doubts with the system or facing trouble using eZee solutions?
Submit a Ticket Download Release Notes Contact eZee Live Support

Offer discounts to your visitors by Facebook sharing

All these features along with myriad of other enhancements in the most recent release of the booking engine. Here’s a quick highlight.

Stay updated with guests arriving at your property

Busy work schedules of a hotelier may make him forget about being in line with the arrivals and departures of guests at his property. Moulding our PMS which is suitable for all types of users, we have developed a feature which will let you be updated with guest arrivals at your hotel.

You will be able to remain posted on the number of guests arriving at your property through this feature. In this latest version, we have introduced a new aspect to send you the guest arrival list of two days in email after the Night Audit operation has been performed. For example, the night audit has been performed for 12th January, then you will receive an email of the arrival list for the dates of 13th and 14th January. This feature is added keeping the requirements of a busy hotelier in mind.

You can enable this feature from the configuration section as follows:
eZee Reservation Configuration Panel Settings Booking Page Log & Notification

Arrival_email_Template

Note: For properties using booking engine with eZee Absolute, this option will be available in eZee Absolute configuration.

Manage the booking and check-in timings effortlessly: Cut-off time

Cut-off time indicates the time limit set at a property to take reservations for the day. We have instated a new feature of Cut-off time in the booking engine, using which you will be able to set up a certain time limit for guests to perform bookings, and accept only same day bookings up-till a specified time. Subsequently, the system will now allow the guest to book a room after the decided time on that particular day. This setting will not have any effect on check-in timings.

In this feature, you can set up any time until which you want to accept bookings. This is exclusively for those hoteliers who do not want to allow late night bookings at their property.

You can configure the cut-off time by following the mentioned path:

eZee Reservation configuration panel Settings Property Booking Page Booking Engine Settings

CutOff_Time

Attract your guests with offers through Facebook

Social Media Engagement is in trend these days. It provides a platform for hotels to engage with guests and cultivate excellent guest relationships.
And so, we have introduced a new feature which will help you in promoting your property on Facebook. By means of this feature, a pop-up will be displayed on the booking engine page of your property, asking the visitor to share your property page on Facebook.

You can enable this feature from eZee Reservation configuration as shown below:

eZee Reservation configuration panel Settings Property Booking Page Promotional Discount on Facebook Share Configuration

Facebook_Promotion_Final

Through this, you can bring the visitors of your property booking page to share the configured link of your property through their Facebook account and in turn they will be able to avail different promotional discounts or rewards whenever they perform any reservation.

Engage your visitors while leaving the booking engine page

Visitor engagement on your website is a way to attract them to your hotel’s facilities and services. In line with this thought, we have developed a feature in this version to help you engage your visitors. Via this feature in the latest version, you will have various methods to stop and engage the booker while leaving your page. That is, when a booker tries to leave booking engine page of your property, then a pop-up window will be displayed showing a coupon code and other schemes to attract the booker to make the booking. The content of this pop-up window can be customized and configured in eZee Reservation configuration.
You can enable this feature as below:

eZee Reservation configuration panel Settings Property Booking Page Booking Engine Settings

Alert_On_Closing

On activating this feature, when the visitor tries to leave the booking engine page, he will get a pop-up as shown below carrying discounts or promotional offers, thus trying to engage him and convince him to perform the booking at your property.

Now, new Payment Gateways at your doorstep

In the latest version, we added new Payment Gateways synchronized with the booking engine, thereby giving various options of payment to the guests. These Payment Gateways are:

  1. E-Billing solutions
  2. Instamajo
  3. WebPay
  4. expressPay
  5. Zweb
  6. Sentry Other
  7. iPaymu

There’s more in the latest release:

  • On including children in a reservation as per Child Age policy configured in your booking engine settings, the details including the age and number of the children will be shown as a remark in the booking voucher of that particular reservation.
  • We added a new drop down list as a filter criteria to select rooms to be displayed depending on the minimum nights configured, to avoid the scenario of changing guest’s chosen room in between his stay.
  • We have provided an option to create a duplicate package, if the new package has only a few changes than an already existing one.
  • In this latest version, you will be able to control visibility of child in the booking box of booking engine page. This is especially for those who want to hide selection of child from the booking box but show it on the room list and billing page.
  • Now, you can set a count of rooms, after which are occupied; you can display “Limited Rooms Available” on the booking engine page.
  • Whenever you want to display the package only and not its rate plan,then the rate plan associated will be hidden from the booking engine through a new setting in the booking engine.
  • In the Guest Stats screen, which gives a detailed flow on how booker interacted with the booking engine; you will now be able to see the Reservation Number too if the booking was done by that guest.
  • You will now receive an email on your configured email address when auto room assignment feature fails from Auto Room Assignment failure notification configuration.
  • The Booking Engine from the latest version will run on Maximum Occupancy settings, that is, number of adult and child will not be allowed to be greater than the maximum occupancy of that room.
  • To engage more guests and take an advantage of packages and deals, we added a restriction for guests to use Advanced Deals based on arrival date.

Quick FAQs

How to get the new version of booking engine?
Since eZee Reservation booking engine is a cloud product, you do not have to follow any steps to download and install the new version into your system. Just sit back and relax, and your system will be updated in no time. As soon as the update is out, you will be able to avail new enhancements on the latest version of the booking engine.

What will happen to my data after the update?
Your data will remain unchanged after the update. You can begin using the system from where you left off, immediately after the update.

Quick Links

Have any queries or doubts with the system or facing trouble using eZee solutions?
Submit a Ticket Download Release Notes Contact eZee Live Support

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

Hotel Management Software Buyer View | 2015

Hundreds of hospitality professionals contact Software Advice each year to find software that meets the needs of their properties. Digging into these interactions provides us with a great deal of insight into industry trends and buyer behaviors.

In this report, we analyze a random sample of buyer interactions from the past year to uncover the factors that drive new hotel management system (HMS) purchases.

Key Findings

  1. Hoteliers want to replace systems or automate daily duties: 34 percent are replacing a current HMS while 25 percent seek new software to replace pen-and-paper methods.
  2. Many buyers seek more advanced, integrated software: Those replacing an HMS primarily say it lacks functionality (13 percent) or doesn’t integrate with other systems (12 percent).
  3. Hoteliers seek to maximize their exposure to online travelers: More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents ask for online booking functions.

Introduction

In response to increased demand for lodging, bolstered by a growing class of millennial travelers, the U.S. is in the midst of a hospitality construction boom. This boom began a few years ago, as the recession tapered off: New hotel construction jumped by nearly 50 percent between 2012 and 2013, increasing about 16 percent more in 2014.

Overall travel spending has slowed in the first quarter of 2015, but it’s still rising by 2 percent annually, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. And U.S. business travel is expected to reach $295.7 billion in 2015—in due to the growth of millennial travelers, who take an average of three more trips each year than older age groups, and are 62 percent more likely to extend business trips into vacations.

This data paints a lucrative picture for hospitality companies—but without adequate software in place, they’ll be ill-prepared to handle the growth. Using an HMS can help:

  • Streamline daily tasks, such as checking guests in;
  • Manage reservations effectively; and,
  • Facilitate online bookings.

In this report, we’ll explore these and other benefits by looking at the current methods, common pain points and most requested functionality among a sample of prospective HMS buyers.

34 Percent Use Software, One-Quarter Use Paper-Based Methods

When asked what methods they use to manage their hospitality business, the largest percentage of buyers (34 percent) say they already have a hotel management system. Another one-quarter use pen-and-paper methods and 16 percent say they have no system in place at all.

Prospective Buyer’s Current Methods

Prospective Buyers’ Current Methods

Travelers today expect a certain degree of personalization when staying in a hotel. Many companies use software to handle daily tasks so they can focus on adding a human touch to guests’ stay. A software can streamline the check-in and check-out process, generate financial reports, manage housekeeping staff and more—freeing the general manager to greet guests and address their needs.

A PMS can also store and organize guest data to help hotel staff provide personal touches. A general manager might notice, for example, that a guest orders a particular wine during their stay. When that guest books another stay in the future—even if it’s at a different location of the same hotel brand—the manager can review the guest’s information and leave a bottle of the wine in their room.

Scott Sussman is the hotel and marketing director at The Peacock Inn; a 16-room independent luxury hotel with a fine dining restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey (part of the Ascend Hotel Collection by Choice Hotels). He says he’s surprised that so many buyers are using manual methods because software offers so much in terms of the “sheer organization” of reservations, guest information and distribution of hotel rates.

“[Software offers] organization not just for today and tomorrow, but for months ahead,” he explains. “It gives you the ability to handle rates and see what’s coming up.”

In this way, an HMS can help hoteliers prepare for the growth that’s expected to continue in the market.

Many Buyers From Independent Hotels Seeking Online Booking Engines

Among those replacing an existing HMS, the top response, at 14 percent, is that it’s missing necessary features and functionality.

Others say their system isn’t user-friendly (13 percent), or note that they would like an integrated system (12 percent)—meaning they want a comprehensive HMS that can perform all necessary functions, instead of using different systems for different tasks.

Top Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management SystemTop Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management System

Of those who cite missing features, one-quarter says they would like a system with an online booking engine. Our demographic information may help explain why an online presence is so important: 34 percent of buyers in our sample are from independent hotels while those from motels make up the second-largest percentage (16 percent). A combined majority of buyers’ properties also have fewer than 50 rooms. (Charts can be found in the Demographics section below.)

As we’ve noted in past reports, millennials are the travelers hotels want to attract most. According to data from the Pew Research Center, they also make up the largest age group in the U.S. workforce—and many of them have now reached a comfortable position in their careers, with more time and money to travel for both business and pleasure.

Boutique and independent hotels offer the type of authentic experience millennials seek, as opposed to the corporate luxury hotel offerings that dominated the hospitality industry decades ago. In response to this demand, the boutique hotel market is booming: It’s expected to grow by about 6 percent per year through 2019, according to a report by IBISWorld.

So, we can see that independent hotels are aware that having an online presence is important to attract new guests, especially millennials. They must maintain consistent rates across all online travel websites, where millennials are likely to read hotel reviews before booking. An HMS with functionality to add an online booking engine to the hotel’s website can help achieve these goals.

On an average, a traveler reads between 6-12 reviews before making a booking, making the online booking engine a crucial part of the PMS. The brand promise and expectation should be carried onto other travel websites, and it’s important for them to have a booking engine to maintain rate parity. Rate parity—meaning a hotel’s rates are consistent across all distribution channels, such as Expedia and Orbitz—is especially important when competing with other hotels in the same area.

Majority of Buyers Seek Online Booking, Reservation, and Housekeeping

Overall, more than three-quarters of buyers in our sample (both those with and without software) are looking for an HMS with online booking capabilities, while 75 percent request reservation management.

Housekeeping management (61 percent) and front desk management (58 percent) rank third and fourth in terms of desired functionality. Top-Requested Hotel Management Software Functionality

Top-Requested Hotel Management Software FunctionalityTop Reasons for Replacing Existing Hotel Management System

Reservation, housekeeping and front desk management are all core applications every hotel needs to access on a daily basis. Hospitality staff must ensure that reservations are entered into the system, that housekeeping staff is organized and on-time and that guests are checked in quickly. Aside from pure organization, these HMS applications offer several additional benefits.


Use Case: For example, below we see the reservation Stay View in eZee FrontDesk color codes for reservations can be customized—here, we see in-house guests in purple, future reservations in green and out of order room in peach. This offers a high-level look at reservations for a month ahead, allowing management to make decisions based on occupancy. Maybe a manager sees that multiple corporate groups will be arriving in a few weeks. This could prompt him to divert some housekeeping staff to clean and prepare an additional conference room. Alternatively, she might notice that many families with children are staying soon, and add more kid-friendly options to the breakfast menu.

A color-coded Stay View in eZee FrontDesk

eZee FD Stay_View

Managers can use housekeeping management functionality to keep track of which rooms are clean and ready for check-in, which are currently being cleaned and which haven’t been attended to. Overall, this helps hotels more efficiently prioritize cleanings, so guests always arrive at a clean room on time. Also, with mobile devices in hand, housekeeping staff can update a room’s status immediately after cleaning, adding to the real-time data in the system. Below, we see a PMS screen showing the status and availability of rooms and which worker is assigned. This allows managers to make informed decisions so that guest satisfaction isn’t impacted by a dirty room.

Housekeeping view in eZee FrontDesk

eZee FD House Keeping View


Finally, online booking engines give potential guests the ability to book a room from a hotel’s website, which feeds the reservation data directly into the HMS. As an added bonus, online bookings made directly through a hotel’s website allows the hotel to avoid the 15 to 25 percent commission it must typically pay online travel agencies for each booking.

Sussman reiterates how important online booking is in today’s hospitality industry.

“No one wants to call anymore,” he says. “People want to do things online, without talking to anybody—so having that option available is huge.”

Conclusions

The data provided by the HMS buyers in the sample confirms overall trends in hospitality today: Independent hotels are popping up to attract the millennial crowd, and they want to aggressively market themselves online.

Buyers should make sure the software they purchase can help them stay on top of daily responsibilities, such as managing check-ins, room cleanings, and reservations while also offering crucial online booking engine functionality.

With daily tasks streamlined by software, hotel managers can spend more time on increased personalization, which requires careful attention to individual guest behavior and habits. Travelers today expect a seamless experience—one that hotel management software can help provide.

Demographics

As mentioned above, the demographic breakdown of the sample shows that 34 percent of buyers are from independent hotels, followed by 16 percent from motels and 14 percent from inns.

Prospective Buyers by Property Type

Prospective Buyer Size, by Number of Rooms in Property

Prospective Buyer Size, by Number of Rooms in Property

Prospective Buyers by Property Type

The statistics in the above article were originally researched and analyzed by Software Advice.

[This article originally appeared on ezeefrontdesk.com]

Exploring TripAdvisor Programs: TripConnect Instant Booking and TripConnect CPC

 

Connecting the world of travellers with prospective hotels, inns and B&Bs to formulate their upcoming travel plans, TripAdvisor TripConnect introduced 2 powerful programs of TripConnect CPC (cost per click) and TripConnect Instant Booking. Launched in 2014, both programs quickly became a market favourite for accommodation providers as well as travellers all around the world. TripAdvisor truly believes that both programs will significantly increase monetization, as the travellers all around the world establish a direct relation with the hotel through the trusted medium of TripAdvisor.

However, understanding the difference between both the services can be a little bewildering. Nonetheless, I will help you differentiate between TripConnect CPC (cost per click) and TripConnect Instant Booking and get a hang of both the services.

Explore the TripAdvisor programs to increase hotel revenue

TripConnect Instant Booking

Being one the largest review platform, TripAdvisor enjoys more than 10 million unique visitors on daily basis. Travellers from all over the globe rate, review and now even book travels with the online review giant. The unique feature of Instant Booking allows hoteliers to take advantage of their ‘pay-per-booking commission’ model and enrich their online bookings. Instant Booking offers the traveller opportunity to immediately confirm the booking at your hotel without even leaving the metasearch site of TripAdvisor.

Functions of TripConnect Instant Booking

Along with hotel reviews, the metasearch engine also allows the traveller to compare the real-time rates and availability of your property. Furthermore, the Instant Booking model offers the booker to instantly confirm the hotel booking by clicking on ‘Book on TripAdvisor’ button. Adding to the advantage, TripAdvisors delivers all the guest information to you from the first point on, and you are directly in contact with your guest without any interference of the middle agent.

As the entire concept works around the ‘pay-per-booking model ’, you only pay commission for the confirmed booking. Additionally, the travel giant offers you 2 different commission rates to choose from, 15% commission per booking ensures that you receive half of the bookings received on TripAdvisor. On the other hand, the commission rate of 12% brings in the hotel on 1/4th of the booking through Instant Booking. The remaining booking which are not claimed by your hotels is passed on to the OTAs connected to your hotel with you ultimately paying the OTA commission.

Moreover, the simple yet innovative service of Instant Booking requires no bidding, no deposits and the commission to the company is only paid after the guest stay.

Click here to enrol your property with TripConnect Instant Booking.

TripConnect Cost-Per-Click

Another program introduced by TripAdvisor is the TripConnect Cost-Per-Click (CPC). Similar to Instant Booking, this program also allows travellers to view real time rate and inventory of the property. However, instead of offering the traveller option to book from TripAdvdisor platform, TripConnect CPC offers direct booking to the hotel by redirecting the booker to your hotel’s website.

Functions of TripConnect CPC

Contradicting the Instant Booking plan, the TripConnect CPC program works on ‘cost per click ’programme which requires you to bid the amount you pay per person, visiting your website through TripAdvisor. The hindrance here is that the place of your hotel on the price comparison search bar is determined by the price of your bidding. Thus, the bidding structure gets a little complex here, as the highest bidder is placed on the top of the price comparison search bar as you are once again competing with the might OTAs ( you are connected with) for direct bookings. The CPC model ranks your hotel’s position according to your bidding, and higher your ranking more you get noticed. As soon as the booker clicks on your property’s website link, he is redirected to your hotel’s website to further confirm the booking. In this policy, your hotel is charged for the click regardless if the traveller actually completes the booking or not.

You can refer to TripConnect CPC user guide

You can enroll your property for TripConnect CPC programme from TripConnect website.

Which program is better for your property- TripConnect Instant Booking or Cost-Per-Click?

Through both the programs, TripAdvisor is offering hoteliers a power and low costing platform for gaining a tremendous online exposure. Identifying on you requirements and expectations you can choose either of the programs to increase your online sales or you can benefit immensely by strategizing a combination of both.

image 2 - Explore the TripAdvisor programs to increase hotel revenue

The eZee Connection

eZee is a Premium Partner of TripAdvisor TripConnect and has established a seamless interface between eZee Reservation and TripConnect Instant Booking. As a result, our clients would be able to easily update rates and inventories directly to TripAdvisor and increase hotel revenue by receiving direct bookings from the massive number of travellers visiting TripAdvisor.

This article was originally published on ezeetechnosys.com

Do’s and Don’ts for enhancing online hotel booking conversions

Over the past few years, hoteliers have adapted to various sources to receive maximum hotel bookings. Although various studies suggest that more than 20% of hotel’s revenue is sourced from OTA’s (Online Travel Agents), bookings can come from any where, it could be from online travel giants such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, InstantBooking, hotel’s own website or even the hotel’s Facebook page. Thus, eZee has accumulated few guidelines of do’s and don’t that will help hoteliers receive more booking from the online world.

ezee-tips

Below are a few of things to ‘do’ which will enhance hotel’s online reputation:

blue-check-mark-th  Dazzle your guest with lucrative Visual Content:

To enhance online visibility and increase bookings, let the visitors view exactly what they are booking. With various high definition images and instant gratification of a descriptive video displaying the best features of the property, the guest will be able to easily view the type of room they require. Additionally, visual content will enhance hotel’s visual appeal which will further draw the guest in.

blue-check-mark-th  Accurate and Compelling Room Description:

It is essential that you provide a compelling room description, that will extensively describe the room and amenities offered by the hotel. The detailed room and hotel description will enable the guest to make quick and informed booking decision.

blue-check-mark-th  Optimize room rates and enticing booking packages:

The room rates are the most important information the traveler is looking for. In the very competitive hotel industry, the best way to attract more bookings is to offer the most optimized and competitive room rates and attractive booking packages. Additionally, while describing the packages, use appealing descriptions like the best room with complimentary breakfast instead of simply mentioning hotel room with a continental package.

blue-check-mark-th  Decorate your services and add a little extra:

Appeal to the guest by offering a few complementary add-ons like free WiFi and airport pick up. At times, some travelers who are booking from OTA’s visit the hotel website for to get for information on the hotel. At this stage, you can even draw the guest in by providing enticing deals and packages on booking directly with the hotel.

blue-check-mark-th  Seamless connectivity with distribution channels:

Get a dynamic and robust channel manager that provides 2- way XML connectivity between the channels and hotel’s front-desk. The seamless connectivity will result in efficient distribution and diminish the risk of overbooking. The captivating and swift booking experience will enhance the guest interaction with the hotel and build up the guest relation.

blue-check-mark-th  Target your audience and provide them an exceptional booking experience:

Offer your guest a dynamic and efficient booking engine that is flexible yet simple to use. Every hotel has a specific target demographics, to get the maximum output select a booking engine that offers a variety in GUI, which is alluring to your target audience. Moreover, a smooth and efficient booking experience will further enhance guest loyalty because the guest may not remember the price he paid, but rest assured he will always remember the ease and efficiency he experienced while booking with you.

blue-check-mark-th  Responsive website and mobile friendly booking engine:

As an hotelier, you have to comprehend that the modern traveler is quite tech-savvy and demand the best service on their finger tips. Therefore, it is essential that hotels provide a responsive website, which is compatible with all type of devices and a booking engine which is secure and mobile friendly.

While the above points are things hoteliers can do to boost revenue, there are few issues that can drive the traveler away from booking at your property. Avoiding these issues will ensure you make the most of the online resources and lead to increase in bookings.

Below are few arrangements to avoid to increase online bookings:

avoid in hospitality  Broadcast correct data at right place:

Make sure the information you are publishing is appearing in the appropriate panel. Displaying room description under cancelation policy is not the correct way to go and will simply confuse the booker with chances of him starting to look for other options.

avoid in hospitality  Be direct and transparent about hotel policies:

One of the driving forces to book a room is the easy availability of complete information such as nightly rates or hotel’s terms and conditions should be easily accessible. Transparency in hotel policies like cancelation and refund procedure helps the booker to have faith in the hotel and make the booking readily.

avoid in hospitality  Keep it simple and savvy:

Since travelers can be from any part of the world it is not necessary for all of them to comprehend The English language. Avoid using a lot of jargon or abbreviation while publishing description or policies. (like CXL for cancel or PAX for number of people). keep the language brief and simple to understand.

avoid in hospitality  Shun away from using uncommon symbols and unnecessarily terminologies:

Avoid using infrequent symbols like (•) in the descriptions, rates or policies as they can make it difficult for the booker to understand your content. This can confuse or mislead the booker or may even head them towards abandoning the booking.

avoid in hospitality  Don’t ignore a negative review, instead start engaging with the guest:

According to many hotel industry experts, one should always respond to an online hotel reviews irrespective of it being positive or negative. This will minimize the damage and refurbish hotel’s reputation. Furthermore, hoteliers can even acquire recurring business by responding a review with supplementary discounts or packages for next stay.

Conclusion

While the do’s of the list are essential to attracting guest, the don’t of the list have a pretty critical implications as well. In the midst of the competitive hotel industry, it is vital to stay abreast of the upcoming trends, prioritize strategy and work towards the methods that drive exponential bookings and upsurge hotel revenue.

This article was originally published on ezeetechnosys.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 to Increase Bookings with TripAdvisor

Everyone knows and most likely have heard of TripAdvisor at this point in time. For the uninitiated, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site with up to 280 million unique visitors each month, 32 million members and over 150 millions reviews and opinions available online.

It is traveler’s first stop to learn about a hotel they are looking into and see what other people have to say about it. And it is only growing with 90 user generated reviews per minute allowing travelers around the world to be make more informed decisions.

TripAdvisor with its Business Listing service give options to hoteliers around the world to take complete advantage of the exposure they can receive. With a Business Listing you can share your hotel’s contact information, special offers, website link, and directly connect with your guests. In addition, your contact information will be displayed on your mobile listing page as well.

Business Listings will give hotels access to:

  • Direct Contact Information:

Add up-to-date contact details to your hotel’s profile page making it easy for your travelers to book directly.

  • Special Offers:

Perfect place to highlight special promotions and offers attracting more travelers.

  • TripConnect:

This service will allow hotel subscribers to appear in Hotel Price Comparison search showing rate and availability to users.

  • Property Dashboard:

As a Business Listings subscriber, you get exclusive access to Property Dashboard which lets you access important analysis such as competitor metrics, local market trends, visitor details and overall performance of hotel on TripAdvisor.

  • Sideshow and Announcements:

This will let you post important updates and news for the readers. In addition, the photos uploaded will automatically be converted into a slideshow for your travelers viewing pleasure.


So now you got your hotel in Business Listings, So how can you make the best use of the tools provided? Read on to find out

  • Reply To Reviews:

Probably the single most important thing you can do is to reply the reviews posted by users, after all that’s what people read the most on TripAdvisor. Regardless if your hotel has received a positive or negative review, it is very important that you reply to it no matter what. Just a simple a reply can put big impressions on travelers. If possible, have a dedicated person who looks after reviews online and establish the practice for managing online reviews.

  • Update Information:

It is more common than you think that many times hotels might have the wrong number listed or the page has not been updated. This is probably the worst thing you could do, the traveler will most likely avoid your hotel if the information is wrong or is not up to date.

  • Write Proper Descriptions:

Spend quality time on the description which potential guests are going to read. It is very important write a proper and detailed description of your hotel, as you are the best person to do so. Description should Speak the strengths of your location and services you provide, setting yourself apart from the competition.

  • Right Photos:

The best way to showcase your hotel is to have the right combination of high quality photos of your property. Have a diverse collection of pictures that not only show your rooms and lobby but also other facilities. Get creative with your pictures, take pictures of art and decor in your lobby, show case rooms with different view points, pictures of views from your hotel rooms etc.

  • Showcase Awards:

TripAdvisor regularly rewards hotels with their Travelers’ Choice Awards which cover various categories. If your hotel has received one, make sure to highlight that on your hotel website and TripAdvisor page.

TripAdvisor with various options available for hoteliers, allow them to maximize their online presence. Hoteliers with the right practice in place can have the same exposure like big brands and increase their bookings.

This article was originally published on ezeetechnosys.com

Survey: What Travelers Are Looking For In Online Reviews

Online reviews play an important role when travelers are choosing a place to stay for their travel. The rise of travel sites, review websites, and social media has made it easy and convenient for travelers to look at others travel experiences and opinions. In one of the latest survey conducted by Software Advice, some of the results were obvious and some very surprising. This information can help hotels to understand customer behavior and changing trends among travelers.

In the latest survey conducted by Software Advice in which they chose 2,500 travelers to find out exactly what they look for in hotel reviews when booking a hotel. Staggering 79% of respondents said that they trust online reviews by other travelers on various travel and review websites as much as they trust recommendations coming from close family and friends.

One of the main objectives of the survey was to find out exactly how and why travelers use online reviews and what other aspects of these reviews they find most convincing when booking a hotel. You can read about the findings with important aspects with corresponding charts highlighted below.

Large Number of Young Consumers Use Reviews Before Booking

When the survey asked travelers how often they checked online reviews of a hotel before booking a room, 46 percent of them used online reviews “sometimes,” “most of the time” or “always”.

How often do you check online customer reviews for a hotel before booking a room?
How often do you check online customer reviews for a hotel before booking a room?

Among the respondents, the largest group said they never checked online customer reviews and those who did use online reviews skewed younger: 30 percent of them belong to age group of 25 to 34 years old who used reviews most of the time, and 28 percent in the age bracket of 18-24 always use reviews.

Demographics: Online Review Usage by Age
Demographics: Online Review Usage by Age

Taylor Short of Software Advice, a company that evaluates hotel booking software had to say this regarding the trend among young travelers, “ Younger age groups between 18 to 34 are the most frequent users of online hotel reviews, most often to initially identify hotels to consider booking.”

These trends are a result of increasing internet access and mobile use, specifically among young travelers. The rise of review websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp is due to in large part to the increased use of Travel Apps and mobile browsing.

Majority of Reviews Are Used to Identity Possibilities

Next, the survey asked respondents on what exactly they were looking for when looking at online reviews before booking a hotel. 35 percent of them use to identity hotels to consider, while 28 percent use them to narrow down their choices to selected few.

What is your most common reason for checking online customer reviews of hotels?
What is your most common reason for checking online customer reviews of hotels?

19 percent of respondents use reviews to find the best price for their choice of hotels and rest 18 percent to confirm their final choice of hotel.

Internet is the first place to look for hotel and travel information for majority of the travelers today. The popularity of review websites providing all the information and photos can be easily accessed today via various devices easily. Today’s traveler directly search for for hotels on a review site instead of directly checking the website of the hotel or even calling the property.

Expedia is the Most Popular Online Hotel Review Website

Expedia came on top as the most popular online hotel review website when travelers were asked which site they use most often, with 38%. Popular travel review site TripAdvisor came in second with 28 percent and third was Hotels.com, at 25 percent.

When viewing online customer reviews of hotels, what website do you use most often?
When viewing online customer reviews of hotels, what website do you use most often?

Among other options, Booking.com, received 6 percent. Two percent of the travelers chose none of the above and entered their own choice of website, including Hotewire.com, Kayak.com or just a Google search.

TripAdvisor and Expedia generate traffic of 260 million and 60 million visitors per monthly respectively, both of the websites offer different services to the travelers, which accounts for these numbers.

TripAdvisor offers reviews and hotel information for travelers and directing them offsite to complete a booking. Expedia on other hand operates as a full-service travel site, selling multiple types of travel arrangements such as flights, car rentals and hotels from a single point, in addition to offering reviews.

TripAdvisor and Expedia Are the Most Trusted Review Websites

Now we know which websites were used by travelers, next was the question of which websites were the most trustworthy? Surprisingly even though most of the respondents used Expedia more than TripAdvisor, both websites were equally trusted, at 34 percent.

When viewing online customer reviews of hotels, what website do you consider most trustworthy?
When viewing online customer reviews of hotels, what website do you consider most trustworthy?

The rest of the results were pretty much the same as last set: 24 percent trusted Hotels.com, and 6 percent predominantly trust Booking.com

TripAdvisor was one of the first travel websites to embrace and promote user-generated content back in 2000, it is evident from their growth that majority of the travelers may prefer unfiltered reviews. In case of Expedia, it might not receive the same level of engagement but it does verify reviews with hotels by checking sales record ensuring that reviews are real. However, at the end the type of reviews come down to personal preference.

Taylor Short further adds “Travelers say they most often use Expedia over TripAdvisor to check online hotel reviews, but results show they trust both equally. This may be a result of each website offering different types of reviews.”

Most Important Review Information Is The Hotel Price

When travelers are looking at these online reviews, what is the most important information that they’re looking for? 58 percent responded say that the price of the room is important to them.

When reading reviews of hotels online, what’s the most important type of information you’re looking for?
When reading reviews of hotels online, what’s the most important type of information you’re looking for?

Other important information travelers look for in reviews includes proximity to local attractions (16 percent) and aesthetic features, such as the size of the room or the view (15 percent). Description of on-site amenities, such as a gym or restaurant received 10 percent of the vote.

In “Other” category, respondents were given a chance to enter their own answer, and everyone stated that information about room cleanliness was a big factor for them. Among rest of the comments mentioned “Safety,” “Quality” and “Overall Experience.”

There is, however, a significant difference when looking at how each gender answered the question. Out of 15 percent travelers for whom aesthetic features was important, 63 percent were female and rest 37 percent male. Conversely, of those who said on-site amenities were most important, 59 percent were male, versus 41 percent female.

Demographics: Most Important Hotel Review Information by Gender
Demographics: Most Important Hotel Review Information by Gender

Guest-Submitted Comments Most Enticing Review Element

We know price is an important factor to consumer looking at online hotel reviews, but we wanted to know other factors convinces them to book a room. We asked travelers what element would most entice them to book, and 40 percent say specific, guest-submitted comments in the reviews are most effective at driving their decision to purchase.

Which element of an online hotel review would be most likely to entice you to book a room?
Which element of an online hotel review would be most likely to entice you to book a room?

The next most enticing feature was the hotel’s percent or star rating according to 29 percent of the respondents and 18 percent sighting guest-submitted photos of the rooms. The least enticing element of a review, according to the results is the hotel’s ranking relative to other hotels in the area for 13 percent of the travelers.

While the last question revealed that price is a huge factor, this data shows that, with the amount of information available online, travelers are looking at the bigger picture to make decisions.

Nearly Half Wouldn’t Pay More for a Well-Reviewed Hotel

As much as travelers claim they value online reviews, our findings show they might not necessarily want to pay more for a room just because of positive reviews. 47 percent replied that they wouldn’t anymore for a hotel with positive reviews over one without positive reviews.

How much more might you be willing to pay for a hotel with positive online guest reviews over one without?
How much more might you be willing to pay for a hotel with positive online guest reviews over one without?

30 percent of respondents say they would pay a “a little more” and other 17 percent said they would “moderately more” for rooms with positive reviews. Very few of the travelers said they would pay “much more” or “twice as much or more”.

As we can tell from the survey that online comments can entice consumers to book a room, it seems like they do not feel like paying much more for one with positive reviews. Many consumers tend to for the overall value which could be a result consumer behavior changing from the recent economic slump.

Conclusion

The survey results clearly show that 18 – 34 year-olds tend to use online reviews to find potential places to stay. TripAdvisor or Expedia generally used by this age group for looking at the price and user reviews. But they won’t spend much more for a hotel with positive reviews over one with without.

A majority of hospitality professionals today realize the impact of authentic guest reviews, and their primary target is the younger age groups, who are willing to spend more of their disposable income on travel.

Taylor Short stats “Many hotel brands have discovered the fact that using reputation management software helps them keep an eye for negative reviews across the Web. Having that information quicker means hotels can respond sooner and have more proactive presence online.”

As the survey concludes that knowing the most important aspects of your hotel’s online reviews and how consumers use them can really help your hotel’s marketing campaigns more efficiently. The marketing team can perform reputation management more effectively and entice the travelers to book with your hotel.

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

Custom Hotel Applications will be the Key in Engaging with Customers in 2016

2013 was the year when people using the internet on their mobile phone outnumbered the people using the internet on personal computers. Connecting with customers will be easier and faster that it has ever been.

The hospitality industry has already been experiencing the trend for the last couple of years with the rise of mobile booking engine, mobile websites, and custom hotel apps. In 2016, custom hotel apps and other travel apps will be leading charge when it comes to researching, planning, and booking a holiday.

With a majority of the travelers now using smartphones, it has become imperative for the hotel to have a mobile app. Travelers have become so accustomed to a variety of travel apps on their smartphones that they naturally expect hotels to have one as well. This is a great opportunity for the hotels where they can have total control over their content as well as engagement with guests is more personalized. Mobile App makes it very easy for the customers to do bookings, connect with the hotel, find out directions with Geo-tagging and continually keep in touch with their favorite hotel.

Hotels can control and transfer huge amounts of data directly to their guests via video sections showing events and updating gallery showing new amenities in the hotel. Such features not only help hotels to connect with customers but also promote the location tourist friendly.

Hotels can collect a huge amount of data when it comes to understanding their guest’s behavior without having to do major campaigns and not to mention the long-term loyalty it could build among the customers. This is crucial as the new generations of users offer a new behavioral pattern which is constantly evolving and Application can be the main tool through which a hotel can understand that change.

Mobile App will become a major tool for hotels in their marketing strategy and reaching out to the global audience in 2016.

This article was originally published on eZeeTechnosys.com

Let the Guest Stats help track your visitor’s interaction on Booking Engine

All these and more benefits are in the all new version of eZee Reservation.
Read on to know !

Smartly track booking conversions from Facebook

When you market your property on several platforms by employing various ways, calculating the proper return on investment is a compulsory task.
This feature, in this latest release can help you track conversions from Facebook, if you have placed ads there using Facebook’s tracking and optimization tools, that is, through Facebook Pixel code present on the booking engine page.

Share your Facebook Pixel ID with us, and you will be able to track your Facebook conversions easily.

Accept deposit from guests on basis of number of nights

Just because now and again, you might need to offer a discount on a guest’s say, we have introduced this feature, which will help you to accept desposits swiftly. This feature concerning deposit amount in the latest version of the booking engine. Using this feature, you will be able to take deposit money from the guest depending on the number of nights he chooses to stay.

You can enable this feature from eZee Reservation configuration as follows:
eZee Reservation Configuration Panel Property Setup Billing and Booking Policy

Deposit_Night

Note: This feature will work only when Payment Gateway is ON in your booking engine.

Remain updated on canceled bookings too

This enhancement will keep you updated on any canceled bookings at your property.
That is, on cancellation of any booking by you or the guest, a notification email will be sent to you and the guest on the configured email.

Note: This feature will always work for all the properties by default.

Keep your guests engaged even after making a booking

Post-booking engagement of your guest forms a foundation of a long-lasting relationship between a guest and a hotelier and helps you impose a lasting impression on your guest.
This feature is to help you keep your visitors engaged even after they make a booking from the booking engine. Through this feature, you will be able to redirect the booker to a pre-configured page.

You can enable and configure details of this feature as below:
eZee Reservation Configuration Panel Settings Booking Page Booking Engine Settings

Page_Redirect_SP_46.51

Therefore, the booker will be automatically re-directed to whichever URL configured here.

Know about how your guests engaged with your booking page: Guest Stats

Keeping track of your hotel’s USP is a necessity to improve and upsurge in better guest engagement. This enhancement is such, which will let you know what made your guests engage with your booking engine.

Guest Stats : They indicate that how did your website visitor interact with the Booking Engine page. These stats include details like Country the visitor was from, Total Session Time, Device used for accessing the Booking Engine, Search Criteria used for checking availability, and many more.

You can access this feature right from the dashboard of eZee Reservation configuration Home Page.

Guest_State_Reservation_46.51

These stats keep you posted on the visitor details, thereby helping you keep track on the conversion rates.

New Payment Gateways introduced

Many new renowned Payment Gateways are now synced with the booking engine. These include:

  1. BluePay
  2. 2Checkout
  3. Bank Of Baroda
  4. Paytm
  5. Red Dot
  6. HDFC Bank
  7. China UnionPay
  8. 24Pay

More in the latest release of eZee Reservation booking engine:

  • We added a new field in Transport Information of guest: Drop-off information to record drop-off details of the guest.
  • In order to search incomplete bookings easily, we supplemented many new filter criteria.
  • Now, you will be able to hide your rate plans from Meta Search engines like TripAdvisor by utilizing new flags in this version.
  • We have provided an option to publish and hide the extra charges from the Booking Engine page as you require.
  • We have an ever ready to use API for booking engine now.
  • From this version, you will be able to sort and arrange the Extra Charges in the sequence in which you want to display them, on the booking engine page.
  • Now you have an option to hide or show the home page link from the booking engine page.
  • We have now closed the version-1 of PMS Web Interface.

Quick FAQs

How to get the new version of booking engine?
Since eZee Reservation booking engine is a cloud product, you do not have to follow any steps to download and install the new version into your system. Just sit back and relax, and your system will be updated in no time. As soon as the update is out, you will be able to avail new enhancements on the latest version of the booking engine.

What will happen to my data after the update?
Your data will remain unchanged after the update. You can begin using the system from where you left off, immediately after the update.

Quick Links

Have any queries or doubts with the system or facing trouble using eZee solutions?
Submit a Ticket Download Release Notes Contact eZee Live Support