3 Things You Need to Know About Mobile Bookings

smart_phone_okalkavanEvery day, more and more people are using iPads, iPhones, Androids etc to book hotels and B&Bs.

Pretty soon more people will be booking travel via mobile than on old-fashioned desktop computers. Google – the (current) kings of all things search – regularly produce stats on the growth of mobile. Here are some of the most eye-catching latest figures:

(1)   Almost half (47%) of all travellers now start their travel planning from a mobile device.

(2)   Today, 40% of leisure travellers and 36% of business travellers use mobile search engines to find hotels and book overnight accommodation.

(3)   By the second quarter of 2013, travel-related search queries will increase by 68% from smartphones and 180% from tablets. As you can see here…

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But perhaps most important of all is the news that far more last-minute bookings are made these days from mobile devices than desktop computers. Properties whose websites are not optimised for mobile are missing out these bookings, since, according to Google, 36% of last-minute travellers said that difficult mobile navigation is the main deterrent from booking…

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So don’t put it off any longer. Get a mobile-optimised website and a mobile app today. You know it makes sense!

How To Increase Your Direct Bookings

Get more direct bookings

Always on the lookout for great practice, I spent some time on the website of one of our customers in Thailand. Tom, from the Crystal Bay Beach Resort,

More online bookings with freetobook
Get more direct bookings

had just sent a great testimonial saying how freetobook had increased his website conversion (thanks Tom – see below.) So I wanted to know what it was that he was doing right.

The most obvious thing was the bits of reassurance he was giving his customers, around the direct booking message: letting visitors know that booking direct is a good thing, gently reminding them of the benefits in booking direct. Customers like to know they are doing the right thing, so a little message encouraging them can make the difference between getting the booking or not. Some subtle understated reinforcement strategically placed can reap great dividends. I’m certainly not saying “paste the message everywhere” (don’t!) But putting a little bit of text or a little graphic here and there saying something like “Book direct for the best prices” or “Guaranteed to get the best deal when you book direct” can really help.

I think the Crystal Bay has got it quite right. In three places the customer gets a positive message about booking direct. As you will see from the testimonial at the bottom it works!

1) On the Booking/Rates page – that’s a good place

 

2) On the Contact Us page – another logical place to echo the “book direct” message

 

3) And finally on the freetobook search page – the most important place to have the message, as the customer is just about to book. Where better to whisper, “You are doing the right thing.”

Not everyone takes full advantage of the freetobook search image. You should. It’s a good way to sell yourself at the moment of booking. To upload an image, go to TAB “Home,” SubTAB “Widget,” click edit and upload an image (800px by 200px) into your widget. Then click save.

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Here’s Tom’s Testimonial:

“Free to Book is great, the user interface is the easiest and most intuitive we’ve ever used. After switching to Free to Book we massively increased our website conversion rate for direct bookings which has saved us a fortune in commission. What’s more the support is awesome.”

Tom at Crystal Bay Resort Koh Samui Thailand http://www.crystalbaykohsamui.com/

Share the love

freetobook heartIf you love something, wouldn’t you want to tell everyone about it? Thanks to all the great feedback we receive, we already know that our thousands of Freetobook customers all over the world are amazed by the great stuff our technology empowers them to do. Now you can easily share your enthusiasm for Freetobook.

When you log into your Freetobook profile you’ll see this new button at the top of every page:

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Clicking on it will allow you to:

  • send a message via Twitter
  • post on Facebook
  • send an email

You can either send a pre-written declaration of love for Freetobook (e.g. “We love using freetobook it’s simple free and easy, get yours at www.freetobook.com”) or delete our version and write your own.

New Facebook booking app

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facebook app

With 845 million active users, Facebook is becoming an ever-more useful way of reaching new customers and generating more revenue. If you already have a Facebook business page, Freetobook can now create a Facebook booking page for you as well. This will allow you to:

  • Display great photos of your property.
  • List all your property information and room descriptions.
  • Display your location on a Google map.

And most importantly of all…

  • Link to your booking engine, providing easy online booking direct from Facebook.

You’ll find this great new functionality by logging into your profile and clicking on a new tab called “Social.”

Learn more by watching this short video: