News and press

Direct Booking Health Score brings industry benchmarking to your hotel’s direct business

By Editor | On Wed, March 01, 2017

​Bookassist is on a quest to shake and wake hoteliers up to the dormant profit potential that awaits them if they realise their full online direct potential.

Bookassist’s new Direct Booking Health Clinic, launching at ITB Berlin on March 8th, allows hotels to benchmark their hotel’s online strategy against the highest industry standards. The full series of checks results in an overall personalised Direct Booking Health Score™ for each hotel that addresses the unique and individual challenges they face in building their direct business and driving stronger profit.

The Direct Booking Health Clinic was born out of countless meetings with hotels across Europe over the last number of months to analyse the complex issues hotels are facing online today. What is clear is that hotels have to attend to many things in order to optimise their direct route, but it’s also clear that they risk wasting time and money if these tasks are not actioned properly and given proper priority.

Bookassist has constructed the Direct Booking Health Score™ to address those issues and help hotels fine tune their approach to direct business to ensure optimum results. Hotels already know that they should focus on direct and have seen the chains fight back against OTA dominance to woo the customer directly. But understanding where to start and what should be given priority can be difficult. What happens if you optimise certain things but not others? Will it be worth your while putting the effort in? How does it impact on your revenue and profitability? These are the questions Bookassist’s Direct Booking Health Clinic answers for you, practically and in detail.

Bookassist’s Google Premium Partner-qualified expert conversion team conduct critical tests to provide hotels with their overall Direct Booking Health Score™. They scientifically assess a hotel’s digital marketing strategy, search engine positioning, web and mobile design standards, on-site conversion potential and booking engine optimisation and compare with industry best practice.

The clinic analysis presents the issues, good and bad, in such a way that the hotel can immediately “see” the state of their online Direct Booking Health, and can appreciate the things that need their attention and the things that need priority. Bookassist’s conversion experts advise on ways in which hotels can measurably improve and present practical steps that hotels can take to better their own unique situation.

Hotels can gain inspiration from some real-life examples of their peers who are reaping the rewards of having higher scores.

Bookassist will be showcasing the strategy tool at an upcoming event in Google HQ in Dublin and will be running regular clinics throughout the year to help hotels make a real difference to their direct business.

You can book an appointment for a Direct Booking Health Clinic session to get your hotel’s personalised Direct Booking Health Score™

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.


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.

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