Maximise direct bookings

7 Pledges, here’s how you voted….

We asked you to prioritise these 7 Pledges, to re-order them according to your needs and your ambitions. That was no easy task… as many of you said, but that forced focus is what every good business requires if it is to improve.

So here’s how it unfolded, drum roll please…

Maximise direct bookings above all other bookings (35% of the vote)

This is music to our ears, we created freetobook to enable direct bookings on websites. We wanted to build a booking engine so any accommodation anywhere in world could get an account, set up and take direct bookings in under an hour – for free. That was case in January 2011 and it’s still very much the case now, indeed that’s why we called it “Freetobook”.  But there is so much more to do and we’re working on it. (some free direct booking images for you)

Continually develop, upgrade and improve functionality came second (with 26% of the vote)   

Advanced Messaging
keep developing never stop

We are here 21 years down the line simply because we’ve always believed we can do it better, we must do it better.  Our “creative” drive demands that we look for solutions to difficult problems. We also enjoy that process, it’s terribly rewarding. This means that we don’t accept and settle in a comfort zone but continually look around appraising the changes to your environment.

Listen, care about, support and advise your business (17%)

This is the “easy” bit for us, as a family business we find it a very natural function yet we value the importance of it. Our support team have an amazing record only because they care. We are not here to serve ourselves so it’s important that we listen and feel confident to advise when required.  Having the commercial freedom (of a family business) means we don’t compromise in our service and advice we offer.

Keep learning to be the best booking system possible (9%)

everyday is a school day !

We will. Aiming to do your best is always a great place to start and we are fortunate to work with 1000s of customers who believe the same. Over the 21 years we’ve seen a lot of changes so we’ve had to keep learning new things.  We have always looked for and admired great technology.

Protect you, keep things optional for you and not tying you in (altogether got 13%)

Our independence is a choice, just like yours. We have seen enough stuff that does not impress us to know that we must always be clear, open and genuine in what we do and what we offer.

Protecting independence results in more money staying local and being re-invested locally in businesses. We live in times where technology is enabling money to move across oceans far far away from where it was generated and without any chance of businesses or governments being rewarded for their investments.

So where do we go from here?

smart messaging for accommodation owners
smart stiff to boost your connection with customers

The great news is that we are already working on some new technology to help increase direct booking, this includes better measurement and analysis of the current situation. Other developments will become clearer next year and we trust we can count on your support to get them moving.  There is much work to do!

Thank you again for voting and for your many appended comments. As usual there were masses of amazingly supportive ones, as well as some great suggestions.

Here’s a small selection of what people said against the various votes….

“We know you are the best out there, you have been amazing for us. Helpful and progressive.”

“All of the above are highly important. Thank you for giving them focus.”

“… really excellent customer service, feel like I’m contacting someone in my own company!”

“Would love it if freetobook was more mobile friendly or had a full App.”

“Good to see an honest and ethical organisation.”

“Still love freetobook and even more so since I joined stripe.”

“Thanks so much for your amazing service you have revolutionised the way we do business…”

“More reports, like annual and monthly.”

“Get the OTAs out of the booking loop as the charges are criminal.”

“Best booking system on the net.”

“…great system – tried all the others !!!!”

8 thoughts on “Maximise direct bookings

  1. thank you very much. Increasing the direct booking it’s an important step. Anyway I think it’s also important to have some more reports from FreetoBook. They are very easy to build (I was an ICT manager). all the data are in your system, you already provide some reports, but they are quite fragmented and few numbers per each page! At the moment for example to have an annual view of the bookings requires a lot of effort, wasting time asking reports month by month,…
    I already asked to have some annual reports some months ago. There is any plan about?
    One more important thing should be to provide different levels accounts: I mean: one account that’s the “adminstrator” with full access to manage all the data and then “operative accounts” just to check the diary etc… , thank you Luisa Fusco

    1. Yes we have quite a few reports already and we will soon be launching even more reports. Yes we will be giving you more control over what access users have to the account so they can do different tasks. Thanks for your feedback

  2. You really do great work and your system is almost perfect. Almost, because I’m painfully missing the integration of other metas than Trippadvisor. TripConect is useful but what about RoomCloud by Google? What about Trivago DirectConnect?
    All metas offering PPC-models are crucial for small businesses which struggle trying to avoid deadly embrace of OTA’s.
    I know, F2B isw free and not everything is possible but isn’t it possible to integrate the metas mentioned above and offer this service as an additional, payable option?

    Anyway, Thank you for your splendid work. You have one of the smartest booking machines on the market.
    Best regards

    Roman Stemerowicz

    1. Thanks for the kind words. We are looking to add Google nternationally. So keep an eye on the news, it is quite a bit of work so it will take some time but we will try and do this for you. Please be aware that Google HPA is still very small volume like 1/20th of Booking.con and Trivago is maybe 1/200th very tiny – so booking volumes are small with these meta channels. Of course we hope they will get bigger and that they will be cheaper than OTAs but I am certain they will not change your business overnight, for us it is important to prioritise what is going to make your business better and we are doing that with some of our new products and some that have not yet come out.

  3. A slight side-step on this theme but what would help us and, I’m sure businesses like us, where we offer the option to either book individual beds or block book either the whole bunkhouse or a part of it, like our family room, would be the facility to automatically change the availability of the other options without having to remember to go in and do it manually. For example, if someone books one bed this means that we no longer have availability for sole occupancy and, therefore I have to remember to manually change the sole occupancy availability on the calendar to avoid the risk of double booking. It would be really fantastic if it could be set up in such a way that this was done automatically.

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