Google HPA manager

Google Hotel Price Ads (HPA)

Google HPA
Google Hotel Price Ads (HPA)

News is out that freetobook are working on a connection which will enable accommodation providers to connect their availability to Google Hotel Price Ads. All customers using freetobook with nightly rates will be able to participate including hotels, apartments, guest houses, inns, bed and breakfasts, hostels, campsites and many others using nightly rates.

In the past Google HPA was only available to big hotel chains, Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and digital marketing organisations. Here at freetobook we like to smash through barriers and open up the best marketing technology to everyone, making more distribution channels available on an optional basis to our customers across the world.

Google Maps Hotel Price Ads
Google Maps Hotel Price Ads

When completed your freetobook diary will be able to feed rates and availability to the whole of the Google network giving you fantastic global marketing access. This service is on an opt-in basis without any tie-ins so you are free to try it out and calculate your return on advertising investment. Bookings that you receive from the service will be direct bookings and you will be able to pay per click for advertising on the Google HPA service.

Google HPA is different from Google Ads. The main difference is that Google HPA can link to your availability and direct bookings can be made there and then. Customers on Google will be able to see which accommodation is available at what price and make a direct booking. Unlike Google Ads you do not bid on keywords with Google HPA the placing of the adverts will depend on Google and their bidding system.

Where will my Google HPA adverts show ? You will be able to show on Google Maps,

Google HPA 3 pack
Google Hotel Price Ads

Google Local, Google+, and the new Google “three-pack” on AdWords. You can see some of the examples of where the adverts show in the pictures on this blog. All the best technology changes and improves and Google is a great example of this, so whilst we can say where the Google Hotel Price Ads show now we can also be sure that this will change and improve with time.

 

A short video with a flavour of the Google HPA service

 

Customers already using freetobook can pre-register for Google HPA in their TAB”Plus” under “Your Ads” on the orange bar.

Google HPA metasearch manager
Freetobook metaseach manager

TripAdvisor Just for You

TripAdvisor’s “Just for You” personalised hotel choice

TripAdvisor Just for You
TripAdvisor “Just for You”

News has just come out on new hotel selection functionality for the TripAdvisor website, adding to the booking experience for TripAdvisor’s customers. Selecting accommodation will be more personal with the TripAdvisor “Just for You” feature. Millions of customers using the site could be directed towards hotel selections customised for them by TripAdvisor’s personal data.

Selected hotels will be based on a TripAdvisor customer’s individual profile, this may include, travel style, brand, amenities and location etc. Customers will be able to “tag” preferences, you can see the tags live on the new hotel pages when you login as a customer (see example below).

TripAdvisor Tags
TripAdvisor tags used in “Just for You” personalisation

Just for You is highly adaptive and learns from favourite hotels and destinations. At freetobook we can easily imagine more in-depth personalisation which could include search history, review sentiment, pages visited, hotels liked, along with facebook or other data merges.

TripConnect Premium Partner
TripConnect Premium Partner

The new selection tool follows the deep vein of booking friendly usability that includes TripConnect and Instant Booking. There can be no doubt that TripAdvisor is continually adapting and improving their booking functionality with a view to increasing the number of bookings taking place on their website.

The importance of being bookable on the TripAdvisor website will continue to increase. Right now hotels can do this in one of two ways, they can use TripConnect with pay per click or connect via an OTA which will advertise for them.

All freetobook customers can take advantage of the TripConnect direct booking platform as freetobook is a premium partner with TripAdvisor. We are also the first booking engine in the world to certify on the soon to be launched TripConnect instant booking platform, where customers transact the booking without leaving the TripAdvisor website.

More information and further reading on the TripAdvisor possibilities with freetobook see below.

What is TripConnect ?

Make the most of TripConnect Mobile bookings

How to get more TripAdvisor reviews automatically

TripConnect instant booking a global first for freetobook

Visit Jersey Special Offer

Connect to Visit Jersey accommodation websites

There’s no charge from freetobook for connecting to Visit Jersey tourism accommodation websites when you freetobook connect visit jerseyconnect before the 31st Oct 2014 (normally £49+ VAT) *.

Freetobook’s channel manager now updates Visit Jersey all from your freetobook diary.

You can also use freetobook to link up with the worlds largest Online Travel Agents including, booking.com, LateRooms, Agoda, HostelWorld, Expedia and TripAdvisor.

1) Save time and energy updating different diaries – your freetobook diary updates them all with rates, availability and bookings. No more double bookings and no more double entry.

2) The channel manager connects you to guests from all over the world – using freetobook’s global connections you reach customers that would not otherwise be able to find you.

3) Our online booking engine also links to your website at no charge, where all bookings are zero commission.

Find out more about the freetobook Guestlink channel manager connection

freetobook guestlink connection

 

 

 

Find out more about the freetobook channel manager

freetobook channel manager

 

 

Watch the video on YouTube see how the freetobook channel manager works.

 

* freetobook will not charge their set-up and connection fee if connected in time. There may be costs from Visit Jersey to list on their websites and update via guestlink – your listing on Jersey websites is subject to their terms and conditions so you need to check all Visit Jersey terms and conditions.

iCal calendar sync

iCal sync with Holiday Lettings, Airbnb, Flipkey and others

iCal calendar sync holiday lettings airbnb flipkey
iCal calendar sync holiday lettings and airbnb

Get found and get booked by keeping your calendars up to date.

iCal enables customers to see your true availability  leading to better quality enquiries, happier customers and most importantly more bookings. However, its a bore logging into all these systems and updating each one separately. The freetobook iCal service updates availability on many of the world’s big sales channels automatically.

Very recently Holiday Lettings added an iCal calendar syncing feature so freetobook’s iCal export can now be used to update airbnb, Flipkey, Wimdu, House Trip and any other systems that accept iCal imports.

How the freetobook iCal calendar updater can work for you (youtube video)

iCal calendar sync is a standard format for calendars that’s used widely to share date information. Large companies use iCal to receive simple availability data because it’s an easy, simple and basic format of calendar data. We have created a way for you to export your availability in an iCal format to these big sales systems. If you have an account with Holiday Lettings, Airbnb, FlipKey or anyone that allows iCal import you can register for our iCal service and use freetobook to export your open/closed dates.

Due to the simplicity of iCal there are limitations. You can synchronize open/closed dates but you cannot give rates, minimum stays or other data. Another very important limitation is data only goes one way, so freetobook will give you an availability feed for export but we do not import any data. This means bookings from Holiday Lettings, Wimdu, FlipKey etc. must to be added manually into freetobook to keep your diary up to date.

iCal calendar feedPart of the freetobook iCal service is a private iCal feed for all of your bookings. This  private feed can be used on your iPhone or other mobile device, enabling you to keep up with your bookings while on the go. The standard format of iCal means are many ways to view your bookings on many different calendars.

Freetobook offers both of these iCal services, just go to your TAB ”Plus” if you already have a freetobook account. If you are not with freetobook why not start TODAY and enjoy some of our many fantastic booking solutions.

Find out more about freetobook and the iCal calendar sync

channel manager and internet booking engine
get connected to the world

Freetobook is a Internet Booking Engine and channel manager with many added services and connections to the world’s biggest sales systems like TripAdvisor TripConnect, Booking.com, Expedia, HostelWorld and many others. Using freetobook can greatly improve your worldwide distribution and add bookings to your bottom line : find out more about freetobook on our home page.

To find out more about what the freetobook channel manager can do for you, click the link below.

freetobook channel manager

How to get your Google business page

Your accommodation business with a Google business page
Get your Google business page free

Now that we know all the benefits of having a Google+ Business page for your accommodation here are some quick and easy steps to getting yours. (If you don’t know why you should get a Google business page see our earlier blog – what a Google business page can do for you)

If you don’t have a Google business page you can set one up in 10 minutes.

Step 1: You need to visit the Google My Business page https://www.google.com/business/ and select the [Get on Google] button, you will be asked to login which you do using your gmail account (you will need a gmail account).

Google my business page
Google my business page

Step 2: Use the search box to find your business and claim the page, stating you are authorised to manage that business listing.

If Google can’t find your business then click [None of these match – Add your Business].

 

Step 3: When you create a business page for your accommodation you are asked for your business type. IMPORTANT – As an accommodation owner you should choose [Storefront] as your business type, this provides advantages on Google Maps and Local Search.

Google business types select storefront
Google business types as accommodation select “Storefront”

As you set up your Business page you will be asked if you wish to receive a “verify code” by mail – this enables Google to be sure you are where you say you are. You can continue to create the business page and verify later. Your “verify code” can take 1-2 weeks to arrive in the post. You should take advantage of the verify feature as it gives you more options later.

Take the tour of Google My Business and then set up your contact details, location, photos and descriptions, all of which help you thrive on the Google network. It’s as simple as that, you are now Google business ready.

Google is constantly looking for new ways to enable customers to book accommodation via their website so watch this space for news of any developments.

See our earlier blog on the advantages of a Google business page . Don’t forget to add yourself to our Google+ account, our facebook page, twitter or register for our emails.

Google business page – why NOW ?

Google business pages for accommodation owners, claim yours today.

Your accommodation business with a Google business page
Get your Google business page free

A Google business page is a big free internet opportunity for independent accommodation businesses and it’s probably the most important one.

Why? Google uses the information for Google searches and on Google maps. Millions of customers use Google maps everyday and tens of billions of accommodation searches take place on Google every month.

It’s big, it’s free and it gets you seen and it also improves your listing on Google searches. In a related blog we show you how to get your Google business page.

Craigend bed and breakfast on Google business
Craigend Bed and Breakfast Google business page

Still not convinced ?

7 reasons why you need a business page today

1) Get your page before anyone else does

Someone else might register a Google business page in your name. You want to claim what’s yours so get ahead and register it for yourself so you have control over your business page.

2) Get found on Google Maps

Google maps is massive on mobiles and at the top of searches. Millions have downloaded their map app so why not get yourself on the map and catch more potential customers. The vast majority of accommodation businesses will have websites but if you don’t, then a Google business page is even more important.

3) Google make it easy to look great

It’s not just your address and contact details. You can make your page beautiful and ensure you stand out and shine, displaying your best features. Upload your best photos, descriptions and video. Google will make it all look great with their page layout and enhanced street view.

Mobile Google business page
Craigend B&B Mobile Google business page

4) Mobile is key

Google maps is one of the most downloaded mobile phone apps in history and most mobile users make extensive use of these maps on their phone. Your business page ensures you are listed

in the mobile Google map app, next to your neighbours…. who might be ahead of you!

5) Search engine optimisation

It’s a fact, your search engine ranking is improved when you have a Google business page making it easier for customers to find and book you. Your Google business page helps your search engine ranking for various local and generic searches.

6) Use Google Plus to connect with your customers

Get a Google plus account and use it on your business page to share news and engage with customers, tell the world about what you are up to and manage your reputation.

7) Business of the future

It’s expected that Google will soon launch new ways for customers to access accommodation businesses and do bookings. Your business page will be the keystone of your visibility for booking capability in future. It’s easy and quick – so make yourself accessible now, it’s also Mobile, Social and Local…. and yes, it’s FREE!

I would like to get my Google business page show me how.

Don’t forget to add yourself to our Google+ account, our facebook page, twitter or register for our emails.

Guestlink channel connection

New channel manager link with Guestlink will be live shortly.

Guestlink channel manager connection
Guestlink channel manager connection

Our UK customers will soon be able to access even more distribution.

Guestlink is based in the UK and they power a number of big destination websites. These include golakes and VisitYork . If your accommodation is in any of these locations you can list on their websites subject to their conditions.

UK Channels Manager for Guestlink
Some of the Guestlink Destination Management Areas

This Guestlink connection adds to the growing collection of connections available with freetobook’s channel manager. Keep an eye on our email updates, blog, facebook and twitter pages where we will let you know the go live date.

 

You can already enjoy connections with the following channels on the freetobook channel manager.

Channel Manager
Channel Manager

We continue to grow the connections as our customers are always looking for new ways to be seen and generate bookings.

Our channel manager is a plus service that freetobook customers can opt into. If you don’t yet have an account it’s easy and free to get one today. Join the thousands of properties enjoying our services….find out more at freetobook

Wearable Internet Booking Engine

Freetobook glasses on the catwalk in Paris.

Check bookings, manage channels, send invoices and emails from your glasses. Freetobook looks at the Internet Booking Engine of the future with this fun one minute video !

Will the future of online booking management look something like this ? Integration with glasses or other wearable technology enables you to manage your bookings on the go.

While it’s slightly tongue-in-cheek we can see the application of wearable technology letting you know how your business is doing.

FabPay – Payment Gateway for accommodation providers

Low cost pay as you go credit card payments

At freetobook we have created a low cost, pay as you go credit card handling system for UK accommodation owners.

Low Cost Card Payment
Credit Card Payment

FabPay offers full integration with your freetobook booking system, saving time and money when you switch to FabPay.

With FabPay, taking payments is no longer a complicated drawn out task. Just click the button and the payment is on it’s way to your bank !

Key Benefits:

1) Simple and quick – card payments made in seconds.

2) Secure and PCI compliant, all transactions are made on the SagePay gateway.

3) Simple to setup – You can run FabPay alongside your existing card payment system, no need to change.

4) NO monthly costs and NO tie in period, simply pay as you go.

5) Cost neutral, you can make a small charge to your customer for card handling so it costs you nothing.

6) It’s all connected, your online and phone payments are shown in each booking.

FabPay vs PayPal
FabPay vs PayPal

Many smaller properties use PayPal for card transactions, this could be very expensive compared to FabPay. If you are paying PayPal 3.4% on a debit card this could cost you £10.20 on a £300 booking. With FabPay a debit card transaction costs only 22 pence + a max gateway fee of 75 pence, a total of no more than 97 pence using FabPay. Massive saving !

The same £300 payment from a personal credit card with FabPay would be 1.35% + gateway fee i.e. £4.05 + 75 pence = £4.80 still less than half the price of PayPal. Click here for full cost comparison of FabPay vs PayPal

With FabPay there is a one off setup fee of £69. Credits are then bought to pay for each transaction (gateway fee). The more credits you buy the cheaper each transaction is (payment).

The most you ever pay is 75 pence but it you are using a larger number of transactions you could be paying as little as 24 pence per payment (gateway fee).

Find out more about FabPay at www.fabpay.com

Existing customers of freetobook can easily register for FabPay low cost payment system in Tab”Plus” and SubTab”FabPay” – start saving today !

If you do not yet use the freetobook Internet Booking Engine find out more at www.freetobook.com

Share your reviews online

Freetobook review sharing widget

Share hotel reviews
Share your Reviews

Isn’t it great to get fantastic reviews! You work so hard looking after your customers, naturally they give you fabulous feedback that influences potential future guests. To find your reviews in freetobook simply go to your “Home” TAB and select “Reviews”.

Share your great reviews with the world. Freetobook is about to release a new review sharing system so you can get your reviews out there and read by potential guests.

Sharing reviews is easy with :

  • a simple to install review widget for your website, available in a variety of formats and the ability to resize and customise colours
  • freetobook’s new “click here to share” a review instantly on facebook and twitter.
  • linked to your booking system for instant direct bookings.
Review sharing widget for hotels
Review sharing widget various sizes

It gets better…each review widget will give guests instant access to your freetobook reviews and link them directly to your booking system, making it easy for impressed customers to make a direct commission free booking there and then.

Keep an eye open for the launch of the new review sharing system… another great idea from freetobook giving you more for less. As soon as the review sharing system is available you will find it in the same place as your current reviews – go to your “Home” TAB and select “Reviews”.

Social Media review sharing for hotels
Social Media review sharing

We expect to launch the new review sharing system before Christmas 2013 so it won’t be long before you can show off all your best reviews across your website and social media platforms.

In the spirit of sharing please feel free to tell others about your experience of freetobook the internet booking engine with more for less.