Google Mobile Friendly deadline

Mobile friendly deadline
Google Mobile Friendly deadline

In a candid announcement a few months back Google let the world know that mobile friendliness has a deadline. From the 21st April onwards Google will actively favour mobile-friendly websites in mobile searches. If your website is mobile-friendly it is likely that you will rise in Google search results for mobiles as those that aren’t slip down the ranks.

Mobile-Friendly tag on Google
Mobile-Friendly tag on Google

In their words “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” The Google announcement can be found here

This makes total sense, Google is in the business of delivering high quality relevant searches to their customers. If a customer is using a mobile device they will want to see mobile-friendly websites above the websites that do not look good on mobile devices. As a useful guide Google has made free tool to check if your website is mobile-freindly click here to check your website.

Mobile-Friendly websites for hotels
Get a great mobile website

Accommodation businesses should look to be mobile-friendly before the 21st April. There is help at hand with freetobook mobile website and mobile booking. Our mobile websites are continually updated for the latest mobile versions and they update when you change your details in your freetobook account.

For more information on Mobile websites on freetobook click here or watch the video below.

Google Mobile-Friendly websites

Mobile friendly website
If you get this your website is mobile friendly

If Google speaks we all have to listen and when the world’s search giant lets us know that it now labels websites as “mobile-friendly” the message is clear. (read Google announcement)

Labeling websites as mobile-friendly will help Google rank them higher for users on phones. The message from Google is loud and clear so any late arrivals need to get serious about mobile. Simply put there is now a penalty on Google for not having a mobile website.

Not Mobile Friendly
You don’t want to see this message ! It’s bad news.

Google says “Have you ever tapped on a Google Search result on your mobile phone, only to find yourself looking at a page where the text was too small, the links were tiny, and you had to scroll sideways to see all the content? This usually happens when the website has not been optimized to be viewed on a mobile phone. “

 

Google now offers a free tool to check if your website is mobile-friendly. Check your website here.

Frankly, it’s frustrating to visit a website with a phone and have to scroll to find things, read tiny print and wish that your fingers were the size of matchsticks as you try to click the correct link or back track from the wrong link.

Elegant, simple, mobile booking solutions have been part of freetobook from our birth. It’s easy and low cost to get your website and booking process mobile.

Mobile websites for accommodation providers need to designed specifically for accommodation, you need something that fits your business. All our mobile sites are automatically updated when you update your details in freetobook.

 

 

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

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

TripConnect Instant Booking a Global First

Freetobook is TripConnect Instant Booking’s First Approved Partner – Worldwide first in technology.

TripConnect Premium Partner
TripConnect Premium Partner

Press release (September 15 2014 – Glasgow)

Freetobook, one of the UK’s leading travel technology companies, announced today that it is the first Internet Booking Engine to be a fully approved and certified partner for the upcoming TripConnect instant booking feature from TripAdvisor.

TripConnect instant booking is being developed to increase direct bookings for independent hotels and scheduled to launch officially later this year. This instant booking will enable accommodation owners worldwide to leverage approved connectivity partners, such as Freetobook, to update rates and availability and take bookings directly into their online diary.

The TripConnect instant booking API has been approved and tested and Freetobook will enrol a select few customers in a live beta test ahead of the full launch when the feature will be available to the global independent hotel sector.

Its exciting to be at the forefront of this new development. We are looking forward to getting our customers’ feedback in the first instance before TripConnect instant booking is rolled out globally,” says freetobook’s Director Iain Stewart. “

Other blogs and links about freetobook TripAdvisor connection

What is TripConnect ?

More TripAdvisor reviews automatically

What is Trip Connect the video ?

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

Reply to reviews for a 21% booking boost

Say something back to your customers

TripAdvisor research* finds that accommodation owners that respond to their reviews benefit with more booking enquiries, they say 21% more likely.

Ever been an ignored customer at a coffee bar or restaurant, seen but just not important enough to respond to? Well that’s how it looks when a customer reads your reviews and finds no responses. They have to assume you don’t care as much as the properties that do take the time to respond.

Perhaps you are extremely busy or don’t need the bookings, so just like the coffee bar,  ignored customers will go and find somewhere they believe does care. According to TripAdvisor’s research it’s exactly what happens, they say up to 21% more bookings go to properties that take the time to respond.

When you do answer reviews (both the good and bad) it *shows* …..bang ! right there and then in front of them – this accommodation is engaged, caring, listening. Displaying this level of engagement is of course

Review sharing widget for hotels

quite different from just *saying* it on your website or in emails.  If you really want customers to believe it then you have to find ways of *showing* it. The ability to respond to reviews is a marketing gift so use it to show how engaged you are.

You might not love TripAdvisor but can you afford to ignore them ? They undoubtedly have a vested interest in getting you, the property owner, to engage with their site (respond to reviews) but even with this in mind we still agree that reviews count.

At freetobook we have been developing review and feedback technology for years, you can already tweet, facebook or place your freetobook reviews on your website and of course you can respond to them. Our customers can make full use of these and many more functions in their “Home” tab by clicking “Reviews” on the orange bar. If you are not yet a customer, what are you waiting for? Join up today for free, no risk and let us show you what you are missing at freetobook.

Related blog articles from the past

Share your reviews online for direct bookings

10 Tips on managing good and bad reviews

Customer reviews a winning strategies

Review Express by TripAdvisor

* TripAdvisor press release Sep 3, 2014

HostelWorld Channel Manager connected

Channel manager for HostelWorld
Connect to HostelWorld.com

Freetobook channel manager keeps on growing with the new connection to HostelWorld you now get even more distribution. This is great news for Hostels, Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses and hotels using freetobook.

(HostelWorld includes Hostels.com and also BedandBreakfastWorld.com)

Hostels will be listed on HostelWorld.com and Hostels.com websites

Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels and Guest Houses will be listed on BedandBreakfastWorld.com and also HostelWorld.com

HostelWorld has a comprehensive selection of hostels with over 35,000 places to stay in 180 countries. Take advantage of an extensive affilate network with 3,500 global affilate partners including Lonely Planet and Travellers point.

channel manager for hostels.com
connect to hostels.com

Commission payments to HostelWorld and BedandBreakfastWorld tend to be lower than many of the other worldwide OTAs so you may end up getting more bookings for a lower commission.

Freetobook will continue to add functionality to our channel manager so you get more distribution for less…

bed and breakfast world channel manager
connect to BedandBreakfastWorld.com

If you are already a freetobook customer you can click the PLUS Tab and select channel manager to get these new channels. If you don’t yet have a freetobook account find out more about freetobook here. To find out more about the freetobook channel manager click here.

 

 

 

Channel Manager News – Agoda added

Agoda added to freetobook’s Channel Manager

Channel Manager Agoda added
Agoda added to Channel Manager

We are always looking for new ways to increase exposure and bookings for clients so we are very happy to announce we have just completed a full integration with Agoda. They are one of Asia’s leading hotel booking sites and growing very rapidly elsewhere…. all are very good reasons to connect with them.

Key benefits
– a simple and quick registration process via the PLUS tab in freetobook.
– additional bookings from the fast growing Asian markets through the regional market leader.
– a competitive commission rate – all pre-paid by customers meaning low cancellation %.
– increased exposure with their targeted promotions and weekly newsletters (going to 7 million members in 25 languages).

We are really happy to say that our experience thus far of Agoda has been nothing but positive, they are very focused, efficient and friendly.

Click to find out more about the freetobook channel manager.