6 Secrets to OTA success

Secrets to OTA successLearn the 6 secrets to OTA success

Knowing the secrets of success with the Online Travel Agents OTAs can boost your direct bookings. Their web coverage is so massive that any single property will find it hard to get noticed without them. In reality the chances are that any potential customer visiting your website has already checked out your listing on the OTAs, so take a moment to learn how to leverage that coverage to your advantage.

channel manager and internet booking engine
get connected to the world

The big OTAs like Booking.com and Expedia are experts at online promotion and sales, they act a bit like a supermarket, giving customers significant choice, relevant information to help compare and an opportunity to buy simply and quickly. They have mastered the art of great online marketing, continually optimising their websites and spending billions on advertising to generate millions of bookers. Ranking high on search engines and also listing on the most popular websites like TripAdvisor make it almost certain that anyone searching for accommodation online will come across them.

The great news is that although customers visit OTAs during their search for accommodation most still choose to book direct. Take your OTA presence seriously by investing time and care to ensure it works for you. Do not be fooled into just a switching it on and letting it run, you have to drive it in the right direction.

1. Look Special: Ensure you are “attractive” on the OTA websites by having great images and plenty of them. These images must “connect” with customers on an emotional level….can they see themselves in those images? Highlight your strengths, you will be compared. By standing out you increase your chances of getting booked.

2. Know Your Targets: Understand what types of customer are finding you on the OTAs – why not ask them when you see them? Then grab the attention of those customers with the right content, your business customers may want to see free wi-fi, car parking, proximity to their destination etc. Enhance your own website to attract these customers.

3. Make Improvements: Refresh and fine tune your presence on each OTA, learning and improving all the time – nothing is static on the internet! Simplify the process of managing OTAs by using a channel manager, then spend the time you save by getting more from the connection…. put an end to tedious rate and availability updating, rather spend the time saved to add real value.

Book Direct for the best price
Book Direct for the best price

4. Drive Direct Bookings: You must have a great website, invest in fantastic images and rich content – go the extra mile.  Place your online booking process at the heart of your website, it’s got to be so easy to find and book.  Customers want it to be simple don’t confuse them or appear to offer less. Extract the maximum value from all customers, capture repeat business or referrals direct.

5. Returning Customers: Once a customer comes to you via an OTA make sure you get to know them, offer them a loyalty discount so they come back via a direct booking next time. Add the customer to your mailing list or social media channels and engage them directly.

Together for accommodation owners6. Create your own Mini OTA: When you can’t beat them make your own. Why not join up with other properties in your area to work together. You could create a website for customers to book accommodation in your location and compete with the chains and save commission using your mini OTA.

Smaller independent properties have limitations on their time and marketing budgets so it’s critical you make the most of them. The biggest advantage owner run and managed businesses have is the direct contact with their guests, it’s not something the chain hotels and OTAs can replicate.

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

 

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.

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

Multi Language booking increases your bookings

Direct bookings increase with multilingual bookings

We are already seeing an increase in direct online bookings as a result of the new multilingual online booking process.

Multi Language Online Booking System
Multilingual Booking Engine

Freetobook now has online booking in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese. (More languages will be added.)

When your customers can book in their native language the booking process becomes easier and as a result you get more bookings. This is no surprise as we all want an easy quick way to make a booking.  Booking in your native language greatly simplifies and speeds up the process thereby increasing the number of bookings.

When potential customers book using the freetobook internet booking engine freetobook detects the language of their browser and presents the booking process in their native language or the default language of the property.

Our accommodation owners located in 84 different countries worldwide are benefiting from this new addition to our system, bringing more direct bookings.

Find out more about the languages option or the services offered by freetobook’s online booking system .

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.

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.

Get more TripAdvisor Reviews automatically

Fast, free and easy way to get more TripAdvisor reviews.

TripAdvisor for Business
Business Services from TripAdvisor

With freetobook you always get a competitive advantage from our cutting edge technology that keeps you in control and fully armed with a variety of tools and services, all created to maximise your bookings, marketing and reputation.

TripAdvisor Review Express
Review Express automated TripAdvisor reviews

Using this new function freetobook gives you the option of connecting TripAdvisor’s automated review request system to your customer’s email address and checkout date. If you opt into this service (in your TripAdvisor account) then TripAdvisor will be given all of your customer’s email addresses along with their checkout dates (future bookings). If you authorise TripAdvisor they will then send out automated review requests after your customer has checked out.

This service is available free of charge to all freetobook customers. It is available to all accommodation properties except those listed as Vacation Rentals by TripAdvisor.

How do I switch on Review Express automatic emails ?

1. Simply login to your TripAdvisor account on TripAdvisor’s website, click on the “Review Express” logo and select the “Send Emails Automatically” TAB (there is no need to contact freetobook).

2. Agree the Review Express conditions and confirm that freetobook is your internet booking engine.

That’s it! This is a do it yourself service and there is no need to contact freetobook.

How does Review Express work ?

If you have agreed the terms on TripAdvisor then freetobook will check all of your future bookings and send the email address and the checkout date for each booking. TripAdvisor will use this data to send automated review request emails to your customers a few days after they have checked out. (note this service is completely optional, no data is sent without your authorisation)

How much does it cost ?

Freetobook makes no charge for this service and TripAdvisor do not charge. It is a do it yourself service, simply opt in by logging into TripAdvisor, no need to contact freetobook.

What freetobook does when you sign up to Review Express.

Review Express example email
Example of an automated review request

Within 24hours of signing up to Review Express the freetobook system will automatically send TripAdvisor the guest email addresses and checkout date for all your future bookings. If a booking is later modified we send TripAdvisor the new data. If a booking is cancelled we let TripAdvisor know not to send an automated review.

TripAdvisor have let us know that if a property later opts out of Review Express they will not send any automated reviews using the data you have given them access to. You opt out from your TripAdvisor account and freetobook will know within 24hours.

Freetobook provides the Review Express service automatically there is no need to contact us as the service is activated using your TripAdvisor account. Like many services offered by freetobook it is free and optional. Freetobook also offer some premium paid for services like Channel Management and Mobile Website and Booking – find out more.

Click here to visit TripAdvisor’s page and find out more about Review Express

Booking.com Preferred IT Provider

Freetobook is proud to have been awarded Preferred IT Provider status with Booking.com

booking.com preferred IT provider
booking.com preferred IT provider

Great Technology doesn’t just happen ! Its also rather difficult to describe but when you see it, when you use it, you just know its good. At freetobook we take considerable pride in our work and our booking system solutions are renowned for their time saving functionality and their ease of use.

Along the way we work with many technology companies and there is none more switched on to the internet and the way online booking should work than Booking.com. This is why they sell more than 500,000 room nights every 24 hours and work with over 368,000 properties in 190 countries.

From our experience most of the worlds accommodation owners are looking for ways to get more connected and enjoy more distribution, at freetobook we get this message and so does booking.com.

In business great companies will seek each other out to work together, we enjoy working with the best in the booking world and are also very proud to have it recognised in the preferred IT provider status awarded by booking.com

Find out more about the freetobook channel Manager which includes a connection with booking.com