A few weeks into the Google free feed activation and bookings are flowing in. We are overjoyed to be providing direct commission free bookings into your diary… (No charge from Google) so make sure you don’t get left out.
Sometimes these things don’t last forever so its worth getting in as early so you can to maximise the number of commission free bookings.
You can have the Google free feed on its own, you don’t have to pay for Google advertising to be part of the free feed.
Maximising direct bookings at zero commission is one of our key pledges, we are proud once more to be the first to build solutions that genuinely help accommodation owners to thrive…
Freetobook will always prioritise direct bookings which is why you can trust us to be the first with such important services like the Google commission free bookings. It’s a great benefit to your business so why not signup to Google Zero by freetobook and get yours!
Google, the mighty search engine, offers accommodation owners the possibility of listing in their free booking feed. Connect your availability and rates to the free feed on its own and get zero commission bookings from Google. Get in early and take advantage of this Google giveaway, it might not last forever, who knows?
The facts ….
Have the free feed on its own (no need to pay Google anything)
Google free feed is 100% independent of paid advertising
Free Google feed is available world-wide
Free feed bookings are direct bookings
OTAs and review sites are also in the free feed
Google free bookings are only for serviced accommodation (not cottage, villa, or vacation type accommodation – sorry!)
Speed is the essence, maximise your direct bookings, take advantage of the free feed quickly and be the one that gets the most free direct bookings. Experience has shown us that these opportunities get diluted over time so early adopters get the most bookings.
always been at the forefront of technology to get you more direct bookings. We
have pioneered availability with Google since 2018 (which is why we can launch
this free feed only service quicky).
We introduce freetobook “Google Zero”, with this service you will be listed ONLY in the free feed. In order for us to provide, map and maintain live rates and availability to Google we will charge a small subscription fee of £49 per year, act quickly forlimited free trial until 10th June 2021.
How can I get Google Zero?
Log in to freetobook and click on Tab “Plus” then select “Google Zero”
Other useful information about Google free bookings…
Who can take part? The free booking link is part of Google’s Hotel Ads system, so you can see right away that Google are looking for “hotel” type accommodation. Hotel type includes guest houses, bed and breakfasts, hostels but it specifically excludes vacation rental type accommodation, cottages, villas, lodges.
YES: for hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfast, hostels and apart hotels (hotel type).
NO: for cottages, chalets, villas, lodges (vacation rental type)
What do you need? You will need a booking system like freetobook that’s connected to Google, that connection (feed) sends your rates and availability with a link directly to your booking process. Freetobook have been providing this feed to Google Hotel Ads since September 2018
The situation NOW: Remember there are two parts to Google Hotel Ads the free bit with, we reckon, about 10% of the traffic and the paid section with roughly 90% of the clicks. (Read the blog for further details)
Google Hotel Ads on freetobook : freetobook are already connected to Google Hotel Ads (since 2018) and we provide a managed advertising service for more than and thousand properties in the UK. This advertising service is active now and we’ll continue managing it.
Good news: All properties using the Google Hotel Ads to advertise automatically get the Google free booking link. You can see how that works on this Google blog…
I want free booking links now: if you are eligible (i.e. Hotel type accommodation) and in the UK you can subscribe for our Google Hotel Ads service in your Plus tab this will give you paid and free feeds.
Only free booking links (Zero): You will need to wait a week or so for us to make this option available for you.
HOW? Google Zero will be available in the Tab “Plus” shortly.
The situation SHORTLY:
We’re already busy creating a Google free ONLY
service that’ll be available worldwide. This will use our existing feed to
provide Google with your rates and availability and the link for bookings at Zero
cost. You will not have to pay Google anything for the bookings.
This will be available shortly to all eligible (Hotel type) accommodation worldwide. We will charge a small annual subscription to provide the feed to Google (from freetobook) and deliver the bookings directly into your freetobook diary with reporting.
The digital industry is booming in Scotland, with our small country becoming a world-leader in pushing technological boundaries.Since 2008, the Herald has been recognising and celebrating the most innovative, creative and commercially successful digital work in Scotland with the annual Scottish Digital Business Awards. Every year Scotland’s finest digital talent, companies and campaigns are honoured at a prestigious ceremony in Glasgow, where this year, for the first time, we were honoured to be finalists in the ‘business to business’ category!
The ‘business to business’ award is given to the organisation that can “best demonstrate the effective implementation of digital platforms and tools in a business capacity”, with judges looking for evidence of “how the technique was adopted and has delivered consistent results in unpredictable market conditions”. At freetobook we constantly strive to deliver cutting edge technology to help independent accommodation providers thrive in their business – and we think we’ve been pretty successful so far! But we were up against some tough competition from Digital Parade, The Digital Age and xDesign, so we arrived at the awards night quietly confident and optimistic, but also thrilled just to be finalists in such hotly contested category.
The freetobook team got our glad rags on (not a common occurrence!) and joined more than 250 other guests from the Scottish digital sector at the Radisson Blu hotel for a champagne reception, dinner and (finally!) awards. The drinks were great, the food delicious, and then it was time for the results! Our category was first up, and to say we had butterflies is an understatement!
And the winner is….drumroll….freetobook!!
We were absolutely delighted, and the freetobook team were loudly celebrating as our co-founders Iain and Craig went up to accept the award. The rest of the night was a bit of blur for some of the team (not everyone, Iain had to fly to Isle of Wight in the morning for a Workshop!), but there were some excellent speeches (Michael Docherty from Skyscanner was particularly good), and it was really inspiring to hear about so many different kinds of companies thriving in the Scottish digital sector; we were honoured to be a part of the event amongst such talented company, and thrilled to win our category!
We’re a family company, and the values and business style that come from that are key to our business and success. But so is the technology that we bring to the table. At freetobook we’re constantly innovating and updating our system, connecting to new channels and delivering new services – this is our passion, and we’re thrilled that the digital business technology we provide to our freetobookers has been recognised at the Scottish Digital Business Awards.
Huge thank you to all our freetobookers for your support, well-wishes and congratulations – it honestly means the world to us!
In an open letter this week to boutique hotel and B&B owners, Airbnb have just announced that going forward they want to ensure that small business owners have access to their community of travelers. Airbnb has always been a favourite of thousands of freetobook customers; over the years a large number have registered with Airbnb and use it as a great source of bookings. It’s good news that small hotels, bed and breakfasts and unique properties are now officially recognised and welcome to the Airbnb site.
Freetobook has always been a supporter of unique, independent, interesting and diverse accommodation; these are values we share with Airbnb, so its no surprise to us that so many of our customers enjoy bookings from them. Together we celebrate and support diversity, uniqueness and personal hospitality; after all, despite our size we too are a family business passionate about our customers and what you do.
There is another reason we support Airbnb for our customers. Over the past years the big OTAs have got bigger, they continue to grow, and their commissions are cripplingly high to so many small businesses. Compared to the OTAs Airbnb has a far lower commission to accommodation owners, which gives you a welcome choice.
At freetobook we support diversity of bookings, encouraging our customers not to have all their eggs in one basket and to be over reliant on one big OTA. Airbnb is a competitor of the large OTAs and therefore an additional independent source of bookings that can help make the booking environment healthier with more players.
Thousands of freetobook customers already list on Aribnb and update their availability using our iCal feature. We are in discussions to enrich the functionality of our connection with Airbnb and help our customers get even more out of the Airbnb connection. Further news of this will be announced in the future.
Now that they are expanding their customer base to include boutique hotels and B&Bs, Airbnb are looking for new properties to list. If you’re interested in lower commission and diversifying your booking sources, check out Airbnbs list of standards to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your property. Airbnb are selective about the properties they include so you should read their creteria before registering (see 1 below)
If you are interested in becoming an Airbnb customer (or already are one) you can link your availability from your freetobook diary (you can only do this after you have an Airbnb listing).
Stripe: online payments made easier, faster and more secure. Freetobook’s integration with Stripe makes payments possible at the click of a button, keeping things simple for you – and your customer.
Thousands of freetobook customers use Stripe as their credit card payment system – this is one bandwagon you want to hop on!
Top 5 reasons to use Stripe for card payments:
1. Quick and easy to setup
Just head over to the PAY tab in your freetobook account to get started!
2. Low Cost
In Europe, Stripe charges 1.4% for European cards (2.9% for International cards) and a mere 20p transaction fee!
3. No monthly charges
Stripe charge per transaction, a simple pay-as-you-go system so you’re not out of pocket!
PCI compliance fitted as standard, no lengthy forms to complete
5. 92% approval rating
Thousands of freetobook customers using Stripe love it! We introduced Stripe in 2015 and have since had overwhelmingly positive feedback about the service. In fact, we are so sure it will be good for your business that we offer a 30 day money back guarantee on the freetobook integration charge.
Still not convinced that Stripe will work for your business? Take a look at what your fellow freetobookers are saying…. A staggering 92% of freetobook Stripe users are very happy with the service! Check out some of their feedback below:
“Absolutely love it (Stripe). It has changed my life. It is so easy, great when people cancel, works fantastic… Much less admin for me. It’s a win, win all the way”
“Love it – all automatic, and you know if cards securing reservations are valid cards, you can also charge guest stays using the system. Well done freetobook! It so easy to set up and maintain even older users like me have mastered it simply like all freetobook products we use…”
We’re positive that you’ll love using Stripe for your accommodation payments! But just in case, we offer a full refund within 30 days of paying your subscription. Freetobook charges an annual integration fee of £89 for providing you with this great payment functionality, which can be accessed quickly and easily through your freetobook account.
So what are you waiting for?! Join thousands of freetobook users and improve the speed and ease of your payments today by adding freetobook Stripe integration! Click the PAY tab when logged in to your freetobook account.
High levels of cancellation, high commissions from Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and competition from Airbnb are big issues that a giant chain like Hilton have in common with independent owners.
In a recent interview, the CEO of Hilton talked about rising cancellation rates, high commission from the OTAs and competition from Airbnb. Every day is a school day so I thought I would consider his comments and try and interpret them for independent accommodation owners like yourself.
High levels of cancellation
Nassetta, from Hilton, says “customers…have been trained to do multiple bookings and do things that have created a scene where cancellations…have skyrocketed.” He is talking about certain OTAs encouraging customers to book and cancel. OTAs don’t really care about high cancellation rates if the customer books again through them it doesn’t matter to their profitability, they still get the booking; it’s the cancelled property who loses out.
If cancellation levels are an issue for Hilton they are an even bigger issue for independent accommodation owners where each room is so much more precious. To put some numbers on it I looked at our statistics from the last 10 months and they show that certain OTAs have an average cancellation rate of 26.5% compared to 8% on direct bookings.
Our advice here is to make sure you have a cancellation policy that does not penalise direct bookings. If you can maximise your direct bookings you will also lower your cancellation rate because direct bookings are more than three time less likely to cancel.
Hilton has responded by increasing their cancellation deadline from same day to 48 or 72 hours and made sure that their direct booking cancellation policy is always the best.
High levels of commission
Many of our customers tell us about the rising commission bills which seem to get larger every year as OTA bookings keep rising. Hilton mentions a lack of competition “More competition would have the effect of driving down distribution [commission] costs.” We have seen less competition as the OTAs take over rivals leaving only two major OTAs (Bookingcom and Expedia, who own most of the others). Nassetta, of Hilton, thinks that Airbnb could change to become a competitor for the OTAs and help drive down commissions.
Is there a place for another OTA with lower commission? Hilton certainly thinks or maybe hopes so. In common with many independent owners Hilton feels the pressure from very dominant sources of bookings and hope for a path to lower commission.
Airbnb is not competition
Hilton sees Airbnb as catering to “different travel or trip occasions” this may be true for Hilton because a big hotel chain clearly has little in common with a bedroom in a home. Airbnb feels far closer to the independent small businesses that are our customers. We also know that many of our independent customers already use Airbnb as a channel for low cost bookings so they can be an ally for everyone.
In summary, it seems that there is a surprising amount in common between Hilton and independent accommodation owners. A closer look does reveal that the same issues are faced by everyone irrespective of size along with a hope for more competition in the online travel agent space.
Here at freetobook we are continually looking to make it easier for small independent accommodation owners to thrive. One message we hear again and again is that the large OTAs are taking more and more commission.
Well, here’s the good news, it’s never been easier to fight back with zero commission direct bookings from your group’s website. A group website can be created for a few nearby properties who want to work together or for bigger groups like a local association or marketing group.
Get together and co-operate to reduce commission.
1) Zero commission for all your group’s bookings.
2) Easy to refer phone bookings when you are full, revenue stays local.
3) Professional online booking and mobile site improves the image of your group.
4) Simple to administer, each property handles their own availability, rates and information.
5) It’s your group – you own the website so you can invest in it and grow it.
If you want to start fighting back against all the high commission bills this is a great place to start.
Having access to an easy to use credit card system has been a great bonus to so many of our customers. Being able to accept credit cards for your online and telephone bookings makes payment simple for you and your customer. It’s easy to take balance payments and make any refunds if you need to all at the click of a button. No more chasing cheques or waiting for bank transfers Stripe does it all for you, click, click….
5 Reasons to use Stripe for card payments
Quick and easy to setup – Go to the PAY tab in your freetobook account
Low Cost – In Europe Stripe charges 1.4% for European cards
Secure – PCI compliance fitted as standard, no lengthy forms to complete
No monthly charges – Stripe charge per transaction, simple pay-as-you-go
92% approval rating – freetobook customers using Stripe love it
Stripe is a faster and a more secure online payment system which enables you to take card payments without the need for a merchant account or a payment gateway.
Freetobook introduced Stripe in 2015 and since then we have had astonishingly high feedback about the service. In fact we are so sure it will be good for your business that we offer a 30 day money back guarantee on the freetobook integration charge.
Still not convinced that Stripe will work for your business ? Take a look at what fellow freetobookers are saying. In Nov 2016 we asked those of you using Stripe to rate the service, results below…. A staggering 92% of the users are very happy with the service.
Here is some of the amazing feedback we received:
“Absolutely love it (Stripe). It has changed my life. It is so easy, great when people cancel, works fantastic… Much less admin for me. It’s a win, win all the way.” – Holly Tree Cottage
“Easy to use, keeps card numbers without being exposed to them and can rebill for balances and deposits. Easy to send payment links for people to make deposits and have a card on file.” – Zen Yard Guest House
“Fantastic! It (Stripe) has turned my business around. No need to chase for a deposit and no need to ask guests for payment in cash. Without being able to take a card payment, I previously lost out on business, as many companies book my accommodation for their employees.” – Home Farm Barn
“So easy to set up…seamlessly integrated with freetobook and offers all of the functionality and features that our bank offered for less cost. 5-stars!” – Terragong 1858
“Using it about 4 months now love it all automatic, and you know if cards securing reservations are valid cards, you can also charge guest stays using the system. Well done freetobook! It so easy to set up and maintain even older users like me have mastered it simply like all freetobook products we use…” – Avlon House B&B
There is nothing more that we can say after those testimonials from freetobookers, other than giving you our guarantee that you will love using Stripe. If not, we offer a full refund within 30 days of paying your subscription. Freetobook charges an annual integration fee of £89 for providing you with this great payment functionality, all of which can be accessed through your freetobook account.
Get your freetobook Stripe integration today !! Click the PAY tab when logged in to your freetobook account.
At 12% TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking connection has a lower commission than big online travel agents. Is it time you looked into how to get your share ?
Why not start by checking out your own listing on TripAdvisor to see how they promote the booking links. You can’t fail to notice that visitors are asked for dates of stay and encouraged to search and book.
The connection to TripAdvisor through your freetobook diary is free (you do have to pay TripAdvisor).
6 Advantages to TripAdvisor Instant Booking
1) Lower commission, from 12%
2) You only pay commission on completed bookings
3) No upfront costs, no signup costs, no fees from freetobook
4) You receive all of the customer’s direct details, including email address
5) Simple to do, just login to TripAdvisor and connect
6) You don’t need a Business Listing to get these TripAdvisor bookings
The connection simple, just activate it in your TripAdvisor account to enable direct bookings on your TripAdvisor page. If you already have a freetobook account you don’t even need to contact us.
Most of freetobook’s benefits are free with a few optional charged services, find a complete list of our charges on our pricing page, what does freetobook cost ?