News and press

Bookassist at ITB Berlin 2017 showcasing Direct Booking Clinic and Product Launch

By Editor | On Mon, February 06, 2017

Visit Bookassist in Hall 8.1


Bookassist will again be exhibiting, for the seventh year, at this year’s ITB travel show in Berlin. The “World’s Leading Travel Trade Show” takes place from Wednesday March 8 to Sunday March 12 at Berlin’s Messe exhibition centre.


Bookassist is located in the main technology section at hall 8, section 8.1, stand 108. Bookassist staff representing Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany and Czech Republic will be on hand for demonstrations and queries.

Book an ITB appointment with Bookassist

Reserve Your Direct Booking Clinic Session

How well is your hotel positioned for direct business? Bookassist’s Direct Booking Clinic sessions will operate for the duration of the trade show, allowing hotels to benchmark their online strategy against the highest industry standards. Our expert conversion team will conduct some critical tests to provide you with an overall Direct Booking Health Score™. They will fully assess your hotel’s digital marketing strategy, search engine positioning, web design standards, website conversion potential and booking engine optimisation, as well as providing best practice examples.


“We believe that our Direct Booking Clinic will prove invaluable in showing hotels the practical steps to significantly improving their online conversion. And that means better profit generation”, said Claire Sawier, Head of Marketing at Bookassist.

Book your ITB Clinic Session

Booking Engine Technology Launch

Following on from the recent launch of the new Booking Engine 2017 platform, Bookassist will be making an exciting additional Booking Engine technology announcement at ITB, showcasing an innovative new approach to booking online.

Details will be announced at the show on March 8th. Stay tuned!


Bookassist Paris Seminar Highlights Acquisition Opportunities

By Editor | On Mon, January 30, 2017

​Paris, January 26

Bookassist held its annual seminar for the French market at the Irish Embassy on Avenue Foch on January 26th followed by a client reception. The seminar was introduced by Her Excellency Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason and featured presenters from Bookassist and from Google.

France has seen tumultuous times recently, with 2015 and 2016 very challenging years for the accommodation sector. In recent months there are signs that visitor numbers are returning, though average daily rate (ADR) remains low and will take some time to recover. Against this backdrop, Bookassist focused on showing hotels how to make the most of traffic generation and conversion on their own websites and mobile platforms, so that direct bookings could generate higher profit and release much needed capital.

“Customers that do arrive on a hotel’s website need to be treated like gold dust”, said Dr Des O’Mahony, CEO & Founder at Bookassist. “Hotels must do absolutely everything in their power to ensure that those hard-won visitors to their sites convert at as high a rate as possible. Websites are not a hobby, and need far more attention from hotels.”

The seminar outlined the steps in successful customer acquisition, starting with rate and availability strategy, following on with practical examples in on-site conversion strategy and finishing with traffic capture strategies.

Bookassist also showcased its new booking engine technology designed to convert at higher rates.

A significant debate between hoteliers focused on the growing threat from online travel agents and the need for hotels to educate the traveling public that booking direct with hotels was really in the traveler’s best interest.

According to Dr O’Mahony, “Clearly there’s nothing wrong with the hotel product itself, people really want to stay. The issue for hotels is how those guests are purchasing the product, and why it happens through online travel agents rather than directly. The message that hotels send the public needs to be upped significantly in this regard.”

Bookassist's Stefan Pinheiro With presents on search optimisation
Bookassist’s Stefan Pinheiro With presents on search optimisation

Google's Cedric Kachanar talks search path optimisation
Bookassist Operations Manager for France, Carlos Rentero, discusses revenue management

Google's Cedric Kachanar talks search path optimisation
Google’s Cedric Kachanar talks search path optimisation

Bookassist Announces New Hotel Booking Engine Architecture For 2017

By Editor | On Mon, January 09, 2017

​Dublin, January 9

Bookassist has today announced a major upgrade to its world-leading Booking Engine technology, the first phase in a series of changes due in 2017.

Following consultation with online customers and with hotel clients, the upgrade has focused on key usability areas for online customers, allowing people to absorb information more quickly and therefore improve potential conversion. Filtering of information, by being able to set the number of rooms required for example, allows online customers to focus more quickly on what matters to them. Stronger flexibility in visual layout has also been introduced to allow the Booking Engine to fit more seamlessly into any hotel website, bringing more clarity and more confidence for the booker.

“The first steps are the time-consuming ones, since you have to ensure backwards compatibility for thousands of clients and we spent a lot of 2016 on behind-the-scenes work”, said Dr Des O’Mahony, CEO and Founder at Bookassist.

“This release is very much Phase 1 of the new architecture, but there is a lot more to come. New features and alternative routes to booking will be introduced quickly on this platform to allow hotels have much more flexibility in the way their customers interact with their product offerings as well as allowing completely different ways of purchasing. We will soon release a best-of-breed interactive pricing grid for example, to give cutting-edge user experience when browsing resort and leisure properties”.

Booking Engine selection page with features as below

The Bookassist Booking Engine continues to prioritise conversion in order to drive hotels’ profitability with improved direct bookings, with customer-focused features including:

  1. Over 20 currency and over 20 language options, including right-to-left languages;
  2. Option to allow selection of number of rooms, as well as occupants, to focus results;
  3. Voucher and promo code entry;
  4. Dynamic discounts based on arrival and length of stay;
  5. Larger image thumbnails and full image gallery per room;
  6. Dynamic room pricing based on occupancy, child age and date;
  7. Customer can choose from multiple room variations, payment options;
  8. Configurable special offers bar to focus customers on specific offers.
Room configuration with dynamic pricing based on mealplans, child ages

Room configuration with dynamic pricing reflecting adult/children occupancy, as well as dynamically priced mealplans (as shown), are also a feature that online customers rate highly.

While fully functional as a stand-alone product embedded in any hotel website, Bookassist’s Booking Engine gains even more advanced features when combined with the company’s Smart CMS web design product, allowing Booking Engine information to be used dynamically throughout a hotel’s Smart CMS website.

The Booking Engine 2017 upgrade will be rolled out on a phased basis to Bookassist clients in all countries starting January 16th.

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Bookassist® develops and manages award-winning digital strategies for hotels to help them drive direct bookings and improve their profitability while reducing dependence on third parties. With over 100 staff at offices in Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Vienna, Munich and Prague, the company is a three-times winner of the World’s Leading Booking Engine Technology award.


Bookassist Rocks Prague!

By Editor | On Thu, December 22, 2016

Dublin-based Bookassist is big in Central Europe, and the annual Bookassist Christmas party in Prague continues to be a major event in local hoteliers’ calendars.

Bookassist has held themed Christmas parties in Prague for a number of years, and this years’ party celebrating the company’s tenth anniversary in the city was no exception, with an aviation-themed party held at the Hangar Bar and Nightclub in central Prague on December 16th.

The Christmas party was the company’s largest yet, attracting almost 200 hoteliers, staff and partners for a night of festivities, food and fun until the early hours. Apart from local hotel clients from Prague, where Bookassist works with 150 hotels, the party attracted revelers from Karlovy Vary and elsewhere in the Czech Republic, as well as from neighbouring Slovakia and Austria.

As part of the festivities, Hotel Meran in Prague was honoured as Bookassist’s first ever client in the city, and has been a continuous client for 10 years. The hotel will receive a free website from Bookassist based on the company’s leading edge Smart CMS technology.

Pictured are Bookassist team members from the Czech and Austrian offices, including regional managers Jaromir Pazout (Prague) and Mario Clemente (Vienna), together with Dublin-based CEO Des O’Mahony. For more photographs, see Facebook.

The Prague and Vienna teams, taking the aviation theme of the party very seriously.
The Prague and Vienna Bookassist teams, taking the aviation theme of the party very seriously.


Customer Acquisition Online at Evolve2016 Direct Booking Conference

By Editor | On Mon, November 21, 2016

​Bookassist CEO Des O’Mahony discusses aspects of Customer Acquisition Online for independent hotels at the Evolve2016 Direct Booking Conference organised by Failte Ireland at the Croke Park Conference Centre in early November.


Bookassist-Google Summit Highlights Opportunity For Direct Booking Growth

By Des O'Mahony | On Wed, November 16, 2016


Bookassist and Google held their first joint Digital Summit for hoteliers on November 15 to address the issue of optimising digital presence for hotels in the drive to improve retained profit from online business. The Summit was held at Google HQ in central Dublin with over 80 hoteliers and industry professionals in attendance from Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Czech Republic and Iceland.

According to Philip Coyle, Agency Strategy Lead in Ireland for Google, “We have an excellent relationship with Bookassist here on Team Ireland and have seen some great progress in 2016. It is clear they are held in the highest regard by their customers, the turnout and engagement for the first summit was excellent.”

“There is a real need for hotels to change their mindset in today’s digital world. It’s moving so quickly that hotels really need strong agency help to navigate the complexity. Our partnership with Google is bringing the best help there is to optimise online spend and attract qualified customers”, said Des O’Mahony, CEO at Bookassist.


The Summit (Twitter hashtag #BookassistSummit) tackled online strategy, cost of acquisition optimisation, and practical help in what to do to tap into the modern customer journey - from advertising right through to website conversion. A key point that hoteliers have clearly realised is that there is a need to focus their spend more on their own brand-based digital advertising, while reducing their overall acquisition cost by diverting business from high-commission third party channels to their own high-profit website/mobile channel.

A series of presentations by Bookassist and Google teased out a number of strategic steps that hotels need to take. Live surveys of the hoteliers present indicated strong acceptance of the message that they need to take stronger control of their digital presence through increased spending on digital marketing:


Hoteliers also clearly indicated their preference to shift the balance away from, in particular, online travel agents (OTAs) and towards the direct-to-website channel where overall acquisition cost remains lower:


The Summit concluded with an insightful panel discussion on the practical changes that hoteliers have made in their business this year in order to redress the balance between direct and third party business. In a high-occupancy market, revenue is proving not to be an issue but retained profit is problematic unless hotels can shift business away from high-cost third parties and back to their higher profit direct channel. The Summit addressed the practical steps needed to achieve that, and the hoteliers present clearly valued the advice from the Bookassist-Google partnership by rating the overall event very highly.



See related discussion by Bookassist:

Bookassist is a Certified Google Partner.


Bookassist and virtual-zoom join forces to launch customer database management suite

By Editor | On Mon, July 04, 2016

​Bookassist and virtual-zoom Forge Deeper Links To Benefit Joint Customers

Marek Brabec, CEO of virtual-zoom and Jaromir Pazout, Operations Manager CZ for Bookassist
Marek Brabec, CEO of virtual-zoom and Jaromír Pažout, Country Manager Czech and Slovak Republics for Bookassist


July 4, Dublin and Prague

Dublin-based leading hotel digital strategy company Bookassist (bookassist.com) and Prague-based online services firm virtual-zoom (virtual-zoom.cz) have announced a strategic alliance in the area of customer database and newsletter management to bring an enhanced and tailored version of virtual-zoom’s “zoom-letter” customer relationship management suite to the market.

The new product allows hotels to tap into their entire property management system (PMS) database of customers for automation and optimisation of pre-/post-stay communication and upselling opportunities as well as ongoing newsletter and targeted communication. Online check-in and customer abandonment profiling are just some of the advanced features available.

Available in Standard , Business and Professional levels, the product is available from today beginning in the Czech and Slovak markets and will be rolled out to all Bookassist markets in the coming months.

“Consistently good customer communication is a critical task that many hotels need real help with. To work well, it requires automation and analysis, and this is exactly what zoom-letter brings”, said Dr Des O’Mahony, CEO and co-founder at Bookassist. “We have an exciting roadmap for the joint product and expect to see continual enhancement of technology integration and features throughout 2016 and 2017.”

Bookassist and virtual-zoom are building on their strong relationship as long-term collaborators in the Czech market. “Over 60 hotels are already joint customers of both companies’ services with virtual-zoom’s web design and Bookassist’s direct booking technology”, according to Ing. Marek Brabec, CEO at virtual-zoom. “We both understand our customers’ needs well and this product is a natural extension of our partnership.”

zoom-letter

Untapped Potential

According to Ing. Jaromír Pažout, Country Manager at Bookassist for Czech and Slovak Republics, “there is so much untapped potential in optimised customer communication that hotels are missing out on. This joint venture will really help our customers convert more of that potential to real profit”.

With zoom-letter, Bookassist and virtual-zoom are developing more technology integrations to specifically bring ease of use to hotels using Bookassist’s Booking Engine. The software features highly-customisable email templates with drag-and-drop dynamic links to the hotel’s Bookassist Booking Engine packages.

Available now as a software-as-a-service platform, Bookassist will also shortly be offering a fully-managed service enhancement to the Business and Professional levels for hotels who do not have the in-house resources to manage, track and optimise their communications.

For further information on zoom-letter, see zoom-letter.com or contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

zoom-letter is just one service that Bookassist is co-developing to extend its core suite of Booking Engine, Digital Marketing, Web Design and Distribution Management. The company has also recently launched a rate management solution under co-development with RateWise.

Bookassist Core Suite

About Bookassist

Bookassist® develops and manages award-winning digital strategies for hotels to help them drive direct bookings and improve their profitability while reducing dependence on third parties. With over 100 staff at offices in Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Vienna, Munich and Prague, the company is a three-times winner of the World’s Leading Booking Engine Technology award.

About virtual-zoom

virtual-zoom ® is a web developer focused on the hotel market delivering internet services and e-commerce capabilities. The company develops new web presence and e-commerce solutions for a large number of hotels especially in Prague and other parts of the Czech Republic, as well as in Slovakia and Austria.


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bookassist - technology & online strategy for hotels

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Phone: +353 1 676 2913 Fax: +353 1 676 2916
Email:
Web: http://bookassist.org/en