Blog category: brand

Mechandising Your Rooms Online

By Des O'Mahony | On Thu, June 11, 2009

The old adage borrowed from another industry of “Retail is in the Detail” should be applied to how you promote your hotel rooms online. Customers who want to purchase online have the same needs and wants as those that come through your front door.

You wouldn’t ignore a customer who was hanging around the reception desk waiting for some information on a room rate before booking, and neither should your website.

Among the key factors that concern customer’s booking rooms online are,
- What does the room look like?
- What’s included in the rate?
- Is the rate good value for money?
- Can I picture myself staying in this room, at this hotel?

If you are on a hotel website and these questions cannot be answered quickly for you then you are much less likely to book. In some cases you may grudgingly call or email the property, if you really really want to stay, but it’s just as easy to go back to your search engine and find another hotel website which can answer your questions.

Bookassist Makes it Easy to Promote your Rooms
Every Room Package loaded onto a Bookassist Booking Engine benefits from clearly displayed rates, high resolution room images and lots of descriptive text, together with an accurate reflection of any applied discounts.



You can see the from the example image that the customer is drawn towards the discount information presented in brighter colours, thus illustrating the value for money. They can also see an image of room itself, which will expand when you mouse over it. And underneath the rate information, (which helpfully spans 7 days) there is significant text description that is persuasive and alluring.

In addition to these key features, the Booking Engine also enables you to group different packages together, as you can see in this example which shows the Superior Rooms options.

What to do next


To get advice on improving the display of your room offerings, contact your Bookassist account manager today.

tips, marketing, brand

Interview: Bookassist bucks the trend with continued growth in revenue and staff

By Des O'Mahony | On Wed, July 01, 2009

Bookassist CEO Dr Des O’Mahony in conversation with the Hotel & Restaurant Times, June 2009.

Bookassist is in an unusual situation compared to most firms in the current downturn. Bucking the trend, the Dublin-headquartered online marketing strategy and reservations technology company continues to grow its revenues. It has even embarked on another recruitment drive for its offices in Ireland and abroad, targeting skilled senior managers and employees in business development, search engine marketing and sales.

“We’re not entirely insulated from the economic situation, we do see significant changes across all our markets”, says Dr Des O’Mahony, Bookassist CEO and co-founder. “Ireland has certainly seen pressure on rates and on occupancy, but those issues also make hoteliers more aware of the value of the services being offered, so delivering on your promises is more important than ever, and Bookassist works hard on that.”

Bookassist has expanded its staff not just in Ireland, but has recruited a new team for Central Europe based at its Prague office and has begun to build significant business in Spain, Austria, Italy and France. “What we learn in one market, we can apply in another, so having a broad view of the industry and how it reacts in different ways in different countries is a great advantage that we can bring to our hotel clients”, says O’Mahony.

The optimistic view

Having recently given a presentation on the optimistic side of the fence at the Smile conference on May 21st in Dublin, O’Mahony plays down the doom and gloom that much of the industry is dwelling on at the moment and insists that there are opportunities to be tapped into right now.

“There is a big focus on the trends downwards, the averages in rates and occupancy looking bad compared to previous years etc. There’s a lot of negativity and some is undoubtedly justified. But there are two sides to this. Firstly, averages mean nothing to an individual hotel – the beauty of averages is that for every piece of data that’s below the line there’s one above the line, outperforming the average. This is where you want to be. Secondly, looking at rates only hides the fact that if the cost per acquisition can be reduced, lowering of rates is far less painful.”

The discussion on strategy is one that Bookassist staff increasingly try to have with hotels, insisting that despite the software products on offer, no piece of code is going to increase a hotel’s revenue without the hotel changing how they view the marketplace. Bookassist is about “providing strategic solutions to the hotel industry, not just software”, according to O’Mahony.

“We are pushing the strategic opportunities for hotels right now, and are proving directly to our clients that there are real gains to be made despite the situation most hotels find themselves in. Getting your strategy right in terms of diverting as much business as possible to direct bookings means that your cost of acquisition has dropped considerably compared to other channels. And getting that strategy working means that you are far better positioned to build repeat custom online and take advantage of the inevitable upswing that will come.”

Traditional marketing has been rapidly overtaken

Despite the success of the company’s approach in the Irish marketplace over the past 10 years, where in excess of 35% of Irish hotels now use Bookassist technology, O’Mahony still thinks Irish hoteliers have a way to go when it comes to online strategy: “The Irish marketplace is quite advanced in how it embraces the internet, compared to many markets we operate in. But we still find many situations where hotels expect, or want, say 30% to 40% of their total business to be done online, but wouldn’t for a second consider spending 30% to 40% of their marketing budget on that area. This makes no sense at all – traditional marketing has rapidly been overtaken by new online thinking that hotels are simply nowhere near keeping up with. The work that we are doing with our Web 2.0 enabled booking service, customer reviews, blogs, YouTube, Twitter etc, all of these things are not only paying dividends in terms of increasing a hotel’s exposure in the search results, but they are building a hotel’s brand and increasing their online revenue too.”

O’Mahony recently took a team of Bookassist expert staff on the road to highlight the rapidly changing internet environment to the hotel industry, holding all day seminars in the Czech Republic, France and throughout Ireland for the hotel sector. The roadshow continues in Spain and in Austria shortly. “We still find hotels talking about the importance of hits on their websites without realizing that the key issue is conversion. All the traffic in the world is worth nothing if people aren’t booking. To achieve conversion, to grow conversion, is often about good old-fashioned service levels being transferred to the web environment. This is where we believe Bookassist technology has the edge”.

“The innovative approach in Bookassist’s technology is that it is customer-centric, always has been. The quality of service that a hotel expects to give to a guest at the check-in desk, that’s what we aim to achieve with the online booking experience. Anything less is erosion of the hotel’s service levels and of the hotel’s brand and would not be good enough. If you get that online service level right, then you not only increase your conversion, but you significantly increase your chances of getting that customer’s repeat business online also. Service, attention to detail, these things really matter in an environment like the internet where the competition is pretty much cut-throat.”

The company was the first in the industry to directly integrate their booking engine data with Google’s Analytics tracking tool. This allows participating hotels to see which bookings were generated by which online advertising campaigns and how much was spent to get each booking. This analysis in turn leads to fine-tuning of the online spend budget and a significant increase in the conversion rate for online advertising compared to standard tracking methods. “The beauty of integrating Bookassist with Analytics is that you no longer simply say ‘a hundred euros spent gave me 20 bookings’, which is a standard tracking analysis”, explains O’Mahony. “With our approach, you can say that this advert here, displayed online at this time, cost me this many cents, generated that booking right there, and made me that many euros margin. It’s taken all of the guesswork out of online advertising.”

Bookassist goes far beyond booking and online marketing technology, offering content management system web design, corporate booking facilities, loyalty and rewards systems, GDS management and PMS connectivity. The company is working on a number of new technologies that will reach the market place in the autumn. “We are constantly asking our online customers and our hotels what they want us to do next. Practically everything we develop is driven by feedback, not just by what we ourselves feel we should do”, says O’Mahony, adding: “although sometimes we do surprise them all with something completely new and unexpected, just to keep it more interesting for us and for them!”

Bookassist products and services are described on their corporate website bookassist.org. Bookassist also carries out and publishes market research articles and whitepapers on blogs.bookassist.com/blogs/industry/. To stay up to date, you can follow Bookassist on Twitter at twitter.com/bookassist.

©2009 Hotel & Restaurant Times

web design, travel2.0, interview, brand, booking systems

Be careful who you link to from your hotel website!

By Des O'Mahony | On Fri, March 19, 2010

Some third party channels suggest that hotels link back to them in a reciprocal link exchange and that the hotels will benefit from this. True, there is certainly a benefit. But there is also a cost that may outweigh that benefit.

Hotels may consider that displaying a link to well known third parties will make them look good in the eyes of a potential customer. But hotels need to be very careful about who they link to or they may end up damaging their direct business by doing so.

The issue relates to what the search engines think, not what the online customer thinks.

About Links
Links between websites are important not just for the convenience of users but because they allow search engines such as Google to determine the relative importance of websites for users.

There are two kinds of links to consider - inward links that link to your website, and outward links from your website to another site. When inward links are matched with outward links between sites, you have reciprocal linking. However the benefit may not be evenly balanced in reciprocal linking.

PageRank (or PR) is Google’s numerical value of how important a web page is and therefore its search results positioning. PageRank is calculated for a site by looking at the quantity and quality of all inward and outward links. The actual way that Google determines relative importance, and therefore position in the search results, is complex. But for the purposes of this article we will take a simplified view and think of every link you make to another site as a vote for that site (though not all votes carry equal weight).

If a search engine like Google sees many different sites all linking to a particular site, then that site seems to have a lot of independent votes and therefore seems to be more important, more relevant, than sites that have less incoming links. It begins to win in the search engine results election. Its PageRank is enhanced.

Little Things Add Up
If every hotel makes a link to some particular third party site, say a booking channel or a review site, then all those hotels are implicitly voting for that third party site to rise in the search engine results.

The third party therefore gathers many small votes together for its single website and significantly enhances its PageRank. But even when it reciprocates links back to the hotels it is spreading the links out across all the different hotel websites, donating just a small share of its vote, or PageRank, back to each individual hotel.



Therefore each hotel is gaining a small slice of PageRank from the third party channel (a small vote), but the third party channel gains all the slices of PageRank from all the hotels (all votes). Even if each of those votes is pretty insignificant, taken together they can add up to a very significant endorsement indeed.

The benefit for the third party website in terms of PageRank is therefore far higher than the benefit for each hotel in receiving a reciprocal link.

Are You Helping Your Competitor?
Whether it is a booking or review site, the third party site is likely to be a competitor of direct business on the hotels’ websites. Hotels are therefore actually enhancing competition for their own sites by linking to such third parties, pushing them up the rankings, and ultimately contributing to diverting more business from their own websites to the third parties.

From an online customer perspective, hotels linking off to third parties makes the hotel site less “sticky”, in that it presents the online customer with an array of options for booking nearby or similar properties even though your hotel may be quite bookable. It also presents your customer with the convenience of booking through a third party that may already have their details saved from a previous transaction. Either way, you are simply reducing your chances of successful direct bookings.

There are many ways to link to other sites without transferring your page rank. You may want to do this because you want to display a link that benefits your online customer, but does not give a PageRank vote to that site. This can be done for example by using links that include the attribute rel=“nofollow” such as:

the link text


But if the external link is to a third party booker or review site that advertizes booking, then the value of the link to a direct customer of yours is minimal anyway. Reciprocal links are important, but they are best if they are non-competitive.

Should You Vote?
So should you vote? The moral of the story is that you need to be very careful who you give your vote to. Just like democracy, you may think that one vote doesn’t really make a difference. But if everyone votes it can make a very big difference indeed, and how you choose to vote can have significant impact, one that you may regret.

third parties, strategy, seo, reviews, google, brand

Why You Need Reputation Management

By Des O'Mahony | On Fri, July 22, 2011

Bookassist’s Des O’Mahony outlines why your hotel needs to think very seriously about Reputation Management software and why manual trawling of the web is no longer enough.



Restaurants have lived and died by critics’ reviews for years. For hotels, reviews are relatively recent. And many hotels don’t like them at all. But bemoaning online reviews by customers solves nothing. Hotels need to engage with online reviews for many reasons, not least of which is the incredible opportunity it offers for free marketing and influence.







Bookassist has launched the Reputation Alert service to help hotels deal with their reviews online, to show hotels how to turn information into corrective action plans for negative reviews, and into marketing opportunities for positive reviews. It is one of the most valuable tools available to hoteliers today, and only costs the equivalent of about one room-night per month.



Here are four simple reasons why you need this product.



It’s not just TripAdvisor

The largest volume of reviews for your hotel may be on TripAdvisor, Booking and Expedia. But only concentrating on them is not a good idea. In fact, the sheer “size” of those brands has led many people to ignore them and instead seek what they consider to be more “genuine” or “considered” reviews on smaller specialist sites. After all, if you are a specific type of traveller, it is far more relevant for you to read reviews from like-minded people rather than the mass herd. As a result, these smaller more specialised sites, often in languages other than English, can also have a disproportionately larger influence on your potential guests. But are you monitoring them?



Bookassist Reputation Alert monitors hundreds of sites, not just the top ones, and delivers reviews from them all directly into your hotel administration system. It even trawls Social Media sites to see if there is mention of your hotel. It analyses the wording of the reviews, in multiple languages, and tells you whether they are positive or negative and what areas of your business they refer to. It saves you hours and hours of time, but more importantly it ensures that issues get to you fast so you can take corrective action before they damage your valuable business.




Time Is Money

Being able to assess all recent reviews from hundreds of sites in one single online area is a huge labour-saver. You can focus on action plans to correct issues raised in reviews, rather than spending that time trying to find and assess reviews online. With semantic analysis of the review language built into Bookassist Reputation Alert, you don’t even need to read the reviews but can get an instant assessment of whether they are positive or negative. For any hotelier that values their time and their reputation, it’s a no-brainer.


But you can also collect reviews on your top 5 competitors and see where they are slipping up, allowing you to jump in and fill the gap with website text or special offers directed specifically at their weaknesses. This is very valuable strategic information available at a click.





Actions Count, Not Words

There is little point in monitoring reviews at all if they are not going to lead to action plans. With automatic analysis of ratings and reviews to assess what your customers think of your services across areas such as staff, food and beverage, wellness, lobby, room decor, internet services etc, you can quickly focus on the real priorities and issue action plans to your responsible staff.


Because Bookassist Reputation Alert tracks your average score in these different service areas over time, you can see if your scores are improving or even set targets for scores to be reached by those staff responsible for different service areas in your organization. You can generate weekly or monthly reports on where you stand for use at staff meetings. Improving service levels based on smart analysis of priorities allows you to focus your spend and efforts on the right things, therefore reducing negativity online and increasing your potential revenue. It’s like having an extremely meticulous and expensive brand consultant sitting there with you each and every day - without the associated cost.



Their Opinion Matters, Not Yours

With Bookassist Reputation Alert, you can also see what kind or category of guests are using your hotel. While you may consider yourself as, for example, a business hotel, or a family hotel etc, you may be surprised to find from detailed reviews analysis that the majority of your guests actually consider you to be a city centre hotel first and foremost, or a romantic hotel, or a great hotel for sports events etc. In other words, analysing the guest perception of your hotel from feedback can help you reposition your hotel online, offering packages that suit the majority of your guests and tapping into your real potential. This kind of invaluable insight into your true customer base can only be gleaned from analysing hundreds of reviews automatically and continuously, a critical but costly job to do manually but one which Bookassist Reputation Alert excels at far more quickly and far more cheaply.


If you’re doing well, you should boast about it to your potential guests, by displaying a seal of approval showing your average rating right on your website, automatically updated as reviews are collected and analyzed.


These are just some of the reasons why reputation management can improve your bottom line quickly and effectively. To read more about Reputation Alert, see //bookassist.org/reputation


tripadvisor, strategy, reviews, marketing, brand

Playing Catch-up - The Hotel Star System

By Des O'Mahony | On Mon, August 01, 2011

Bookassist’s Paul Dooley discusses hotel rating systems fit for the internet age



Irish hospitality operators, due in no small part to the celtic tiger decade, now preside over hotel stock that is of an exceptionally high standard and is rated as such. However service, delivery and the intangibles in many cases either exceed or fall below the hotels’ designated star-rating. Far from being alone, worldwide the anomalies are even more stark. However Europe is playing a lead role in changing the status quo and seeking alternatives to the traditional approach to start rating.



The System Is Broken

The question of Hotel Star Ratings has always been a contentious subject among hoteliers and consumers alike. Too often the criticism from both parties relates to the fact that current star-ratings place undue emphasis on the physical product (buildings/facilities) and too little on subjective criteria related to ambience, charm and the service element.



Hotel star ratings are general quality indicators and should be regarded as just that - broad guidelines in measuring a hotel’s general quality, amenities, and customer satisfaction. Ratings are not meant to be perfectly precise critiques. All of the amenities and services that a property offers may not necessarily be reflected. Due to differing parameters and criteria from hotel to hotel, along with the incredibly wide range of customer preferences and individual expectations no system can guarantee exact accuracy in every element of all ratings.



A failure over time to fully appreciate the fact that consumer expectations have undergone a fundamental shift has led to the undermining of the current star rating system. A number of factors have contributed to this disconnect.



Consumers don’t understand how they are determined

The process behind hotels getting evaluated is not very clear and in most cases known only to hoteliers.



Many Ratings systems just tick boxes

Old habits die hard and hotel rating systems even now continue to put great emphasis on ticking off big checklists resulting in a star rating. What matters to today’s consumer is very different than what general factors ratings organizations assume will matter. The meaning of “standard” has changed. Arguably, free Wi-Fi has more appeal now than whether a property has two restaurants or a lift.



Ratings Systems are fragmented

Accreditation systems can come from a wide variety of sources, including the government, tourism bodies, commercial industry organizations and sometimes even the operators themselves. How and by whom the rating standard is applied varies widely as there is no global standard despite an attempt through the World Hotel Rating (WHR) project, which notably aims to set international classification standards and rating criteria along the lines of a world star-rating system.



For example, here is the state of play in some of the main world regions:

Asia - No Common Rating system.

Latin America - Government ratings in many cases are for life or hotels are self rating.

USA - No national rating standard

Europe - HOTREC as an umbrella organization in Europe has attempted to bring order in hotel rating to the continent through it’s European Hospitality Quality Scheme (EHQ) and has accredited the existing national inspection bodies for hotel rating. Under the patronage of HOTREC the hotels associations of several european countries have created the Hotelstars Union whose classification system has now been adopted by 10 European countries. The harmonized criteria set by the Hotelstars Union is based on customer research and combines traditional offline and modern online criteria. See http://www.hotelstars.eu



Disparate Specifics are used

While adherence by accreditation bodies to the general principle of written standards or established criteria regarding the property’s facilities and services is the norm, the specifics vary greatly.



Star ratings have been devalued

There is a recent worrying trend of hotel marketing departments trumpeting the fact that they are 6,7 star (or even one 10 star hotel in the Middle East) even before opening their doors. As no organization or formal body awards or recognizes any rating over five star deluxe such claims are meaningless and predominantly used for advertising purposes.



Service is not properly assessed

A lack of clarity in measuring the “service” provision by hotels has always been the failing of ratings systems. They usually assess service in a formal and out-of-date way. Fussy overly-attentive service standards have been exchanged in all types of hotels for informal, friendly, non-intrusive service. In most cases this change is being driven by a customer-centric focus from the hotel.



Guest reviews or a single inspection?

If hundreds of recent guest reviews tell you how a hotel is performing, isn’t that more convincing than the fact that an inspector ticks a checklist annually at best?



Social Media - The real game changer

Since the advent of social media, the way consumers make decisions has changed dramatically. Increasingly consumers are not accepting hotel marketers spin or officialdom (in the guise of hotel star ratings) at face value. Instead, they are turning to peers - other travelers and third party-retailers - for information and advice, particularly in relation to the “service” aspect of their hotel experience.



The void left by the undermining of hotel rating systems is increasingly being filled by the consumer. Hotels must now revisit how they are perceived and proactively manage their reputation through social media channels and review sites.



It’s not enough anymore to simply “Join the Conversation”. Hotels should be tracking feedback, RoI and conversions with insight tools such as Facebook Insights, TripAdvisor’s Owners Center and Google Analytics among others. The next level up is a social media monitoring tool which collates and analyzes reviews across the web. TrustYou is one such analysis tool which Bookassist has integrated into its Reputation Alert suite of services. Used properly, a social media monitoring tool will help you turn guest feedback into a competitive advantage to be used to improve daily operations, organizational culture and best practice.



Conclusion

Where hotel star ratings certainly have value is in validating if a property maintains its quality standards or not over time. Whether this is aligned or otherwise with the new direct sources and weight of independent evaluation of services, facilities and most importantly user experience is the key.



The ultimate measure of a hotel’s quality may perhaps be assessed by posing the question “would you be willing to recommend it?”. Are the current star rating systems best positioned to answer this or do guest review sites by their nature deliver a more compelling reply?



Star ratings may be outdated but that doesn’t mean that a better system could not be designed which incorporates the best of both worlds, merging objective criteria with user generated reviews. The industry body in Switzerland, Hotellerie Suisse, is already following this dual path. A radical overhaul announced only last month of the star classification system by the Organization of German Hotels & restaurants (DEHOGA) will now also include a mixture of expert opinion and customer reviews.



Earlier this year the UK’s Tourism’s minister stated that the UK Government is considering phasing out government-sanctioned star ratings of various lodging accommodation in favour of traveler-written reviews. The idea may be a little before its time but it’s a clear sign of the change that’s afoot.



In today’s ever-changing competitive world, hotels need above all else to rapidly elevate the visibility (offline or online) of whatever credible ratings and reviews that do exist for their businesses, along with the established star-rating they have earned. The customer is no longer just assessing your rating, the customer is actively determining it.



—-



Paul Dooley is Director of Client Services for Bookassist in Ireland

tripadvisor, social media, reviews, reputation, marketing, brand

Google Places becomes Google+ Local and changes the Search game yet again

By Editor | On Tue, April 23, 2013

Introduction

In a potentially influential change in search norms Google has moved their Google Places business pages to the social media platform Google+ under the new moniker Google+ Local. All existing Google Places pages have been automatically moved to Google+ Local seamlessly so page owners do not have to worry about major profile updates. Business owners can still log into their Places account but will be gradually moved across over the next few months.

The Google+ Local page is intended to be a more rounded profile for businesses (see Figure 1). Visitors will see content like reviews, ratings and photos as before but now the page integrates social media also by offering Google+ account holders the opportunity to see what others in their own social “circles” have said about that business.



Figure 1.
The new Google+ Local page that replaces the former Google Places page, shown here for Charleville Lodge Hotel Dublin.


Businesses that have not yet created a Google Places account or a Google+ account are losing a valuable opportunity in search. Good interaction with, and management of, your Google+ Local profile will likely contribute to better search engine optimization and therefore higher positioning in relevant search results. With the integration of highlighted reviews and social media it will be increasingly important also to interact with your customers online, since much of this information will now be visible directly from search results.

The change is part of an increasingly strong push that Google is giving to its social network platform, integrating it throughout its services in an attempt to out-social rival Facebook.

Changes in Organic Search

In tandem with the change, Google also now provides a much richer level of information in their organic search results. The new Google+ Local page will replace the old Places page that can be accessed through the map feature on the right hand side of the search results.

The area below the map (see figure 2) contains useful information on the business such as Google+ Location pictures, Zagat ratings (Google’s recently purchased restaurant rating system), Google reviews, price comparisons, profile information and links to third party review websites. If the searcher is not already a Google+ member there will be a prompt to join for access to more information, evidence again of Google pushing the searcher towards their Google+ social platform.


Figure 2.
The extended info on the map section of Google’s search results page.

On the left where the organic results appear Google has also integrated extra information for the searcher (see figure 3). Under the usual search results they have added a bar with additional intelligent user information. Again they have integrated a Zagat rating that takes an average of user ratings from the Google+ Local business page and scores it out of 30. Next is a Google reviews link and finally a product price listing. This link has a drop down selection which compares prices accross multiple websites while highlighting the official website link. In the case of hotels, featured pricing sites are booking.com, Hotels.com etc., and one can compare rates on particular days through a check date selection box.


Figure 3.
Additional information and interaction is now possible directly on search result listings.

What it means for Hotels

Google+ Local looks like it’s going to be an essential element of a hotel’s online marketing efforts since so many hotel customers interact with social media and reviews when making a decision on where to stay. The new changes in search results integrating rich Google+ Local page information directly into organic results means that hotels direct booking potential will certainly be affected.

Interaction with the searcher, your potential customer, and good management of your business’s Google+ Local page will be essential in keeping your online reputation in good condition as search enquiries will bring up Google reviews and comments from members of the user’s personal Google+ “circles”. Such personal recommendations from others who are known to the searcher have a much stronger influence than reviews from strangers.

It is very likely that businesses who use the maximum potential of their Google+ Local page will be rewarded with better SEO and search engine rankings.

Finally a big factor is the price comparison feature that compares rates across other sites and online travel agencies for any given date selection. This means hotels will have to always keep best rates on their own site as price comparisons are easily and immediately viewable in search results.

These steps are likely to be just the beginning of the changes Google intends to integrate into Google+ Location pages. If your business hasn’t set up a Google+ Local or at least Google places page, now is the time to do it. The changes are intended to provide the searcher with richer and more transparent search results. Since it will directly affect hotels’ online presence and direct website sales there is no choice but to get involved and stay involved.

Actions Bookassist have taken to maximise potential of Google+ Location

The very first mode of apparatus was to make sure that all of our clients had taken full ownership of their Google+ Location profiles.

This made sure that each hotel has maximum control and thus effect their Google+ Location profile has for both users and search engines when showing up in results.

Online Visibility Perspective

In order to maximise the effectiveness of the Google+ Location profile to the visitor we made sure to have:

  • A full and complete description using maximum allocated space and features provided.
  • Correct Hotel information, Address and Map location.
  • Clear and concise text descriptions.
  • Featured Hotel services and USP’s.
  • Advised Hotels to display quality images of their property on their profile.

Also as part of online visibility as described in the article Google have integrated price comparisons directly into the search results making these comparisons clearly visible and accessible to the searcher.

Bookassist are constantly communicating to Hotels the importance of at least rate parity if not best rates available on the Hotels direct website as a very important part of the over all direct bookings strategy. Hotels always keeping to this practice ensures that price comparisons in search engine results will always reflect well for a hotels online reputation, customer loyalty and direct bookings strategy which are all key elements in optimising your online revenue.

Search Engine Optimisation Perspective

In order to maximise the effectiveness of the Google+ Location profile in search engine rankings we made sure to have:

  • Specific Address and Map location is correct.
  • Added keyword friendly text to Hotel descriptions.
  • Made sure Google+ Location profile is 100% complete in order to get maximum weighting by google in the search engine results.

The Traffic Builder Team at Bookassist are monitoring Google+ Location for issues, changes and updates in order to make sure our clients are maximising the potential of their profiles both to visitors and to search engine rankings.

Cristian Petcu is an Online Marketing Specialist with Bookassist (bookassist.com), the technology and online strategy partner for hotels.

seo, sem, google+, brand

VIDEO - What Hotels Hate About OTA Behaviour

By Editor | On Thu, January 29, 2015

​Bookassist keynote on Youtube with CEO Des O’Mahony from BTO Florence in December 2014 - “What Hotels Hate About OTA Behaviour” The discussion examines the relationship between online travel agents (OTAs) and their supplier hotels, the sources of friction, and the lessons that independent hotels can learn from the successful OTAs to build their own brand and direct business online. Introduced by Giancarlo Carniani, audience questions moderated by Philip Wolf and interview conducted by Paige Brown (Dashbell). See: http://youtu.be/N1WM_HGkUzE


priceline, ota, expedia, brand, booking.com

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