January 13, 2020 · Stuart Butler
Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 131 – Is It Time To Re-Evaluate Your Booking Engine?
Let’s face it, your booking engine is one of the most important pieces of your marketing strategy. According to the Fuel 2019 Leisure Travel study, 87% of consumers will visit the hotel website prior to making a booking, meaning that if you have a great booking experience, you have a great chance to convert the guest to a direct booking. Why then is it that folks look at the booking engine as a commodity and rest their laurels on an antiquated or ineffective system? In this episode, we dive into a few things you should be considering when you think about whether or not it’s time to evaluate your current provider.
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STAT OF THE WEEK:
50% of hoteliers are not satisfied with their current booking engine provider:
1. Does your booking engine provide you with the analytics you need?
- Do you have the ability to integrate with Google and/or Adobe Analytics?
- How does the integration happen?
- Provide GA account number
- Back end access to paste script
- Give us access to tag manager container we control
- We provide script
- We provide every detail of how to track your booking engine and do your job for you
- Will it take more or less than a lifetime to achieve this integration?
- What data can we access?
- Basic page tracking
- Basic ecommerce tracking
- Custom dimensions like dates, booking window, package name, room type, revenue
- How does the integration happen?
- Does the engine accurately attribute revenue to the original source?
- Do you have the ability to add custom tracking pixels (Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Facebook, etc.)?
- We provide scripts
- Back end access
- Tag manager access
- How much will this cost?
- Per tag?
- Per year?
- Can you support CORRECT tracking of a global search engine and separate engines?
- Is there one point of contact who knows all of this information, or will a team of rocket scientists and brain surgeons be involved to figure it out?
2. Does the booking engine provide a good user experience?
- Does the booking engine not suck?
- Is it obvious to the user how to continue to the next step of the process?
- Does it have the same look and feel as the website?
- Does the booking engine live on the website domain or does it live on another URL or subdomain?
- Is the mobile experience kickass?
- Is the search functionality super-fast?
- Is the date picker intuitive and mobile-friendly?
- Does it have a favorite/compare feature?
- Does it have urgency and social proof messaging?
- Does it easily allow the guest to see the best rates/packages with minimum effort?
3. Is the booking engine partner supporting you and your business?
- Do you have a dedicated contact person who knows your business and is responsive?
- Does the provider proactively offer advice on how to improve your performance?
- What is the process to get technical support and does support happen quickly?
- Do you get nickel and dimed for every request?
- Are updates to the system included in the price?
- How often are features added?
- What is on the feature roadmap and can you provide input?
- Are there any other fees or charges?
- Are you locked into a long term contract?
4. Does your booking engine play well with others?
- Does it have integration with TripAdvisor and GHA?
- Does the booking engine provider make it easy to integrate with other tools such as flip.to, and theguestbook.com?
- Does your booking engine offer an API?
- Does it integrate directly with the PMS rather than a CRS?
5. Will your booking engine get you sued
- Does it meet WCAG 2.1 AA standards?
- Is it PCI compliant?
- Does it meet GDPR & CCPA standards?\
6. Does your booking engine not suck?
In The Newsaroos:
- Rand Fishkin’s presentation about how 2020 will be the year Google goes from everyone’s search engine to everyone’s competitor. “zero click” searches are the way of the future with “book through Google” becoming more and more prevalent