Blog category: web design

The Importance of Translation when Building Online Relationships & Revenues

By Des O'Mahony | On Tue, April 29, 2008

“Research shows that online, people are 3 times more likely to buy if the website is in their own language”, writes Mark Rodgers of Cipherion Translations.

The Celtic Tiger has brought Irish hotels into the 21st century. Most hotels have a strong online presence in the form of a professionally developed website which is seamlessly connected to a booking engine. However, with the current uncertainty in a number of our main markets, the industry is now at a watershed – how to keep the online momentum going while still focusing on revenues and profitability.

Building online relationships with your customers is essential at any time, but vital in today’s uncertainty. The Internet allows you to be a global player, in control of how your hotel is marketed online. However, sometimes you have ten seconds to build that initial relationship so how do you differentiate yourself from your competition?

I’d recommend translating your website. Research shows that online, people are 3 times more likely to buy if the website is in their own language.

At the recent Bookassist industry seminar, I was delighted to be invited by Bookassist to present hotels with a multi-lingual strategy. It was fascinating to hear Roshan mention that a recent survey of Bookassist’s main hotel clients in Ireland showed on average over 55% of their entire revenue is now generated online.

Wouldn’t it be great to start getting an even greater portion of that revenue directly from your own website?

Here’s how we, at Cipherion Translations approach it. Think of Christophe and Sophie for a moment. They are sitting at home in Lyon, at their white oak kitchen table, drinking a nice Bordeaux while getting excited about their upcoming holiday to Ireland. They know that they’ll visit Dublin, then Waterford and straight over to Galway. They just need to decide where to stay….

However, most of our hotel websites are currently in English. So while most European tourists like Christophe and Sophie have fluent English, think of their delight when they come upon your site in their own language. You’re delighting the customer and exceeding their expectations even before they arrive at your hotel. You’re building that initial relationship.

So how have the overseas visitors been able to find us in the past? This is where the third party operators, Expedia, Travelocity and the like have had a head start. They have been marketing your hotel in multiple languages for years… and likely getting a significant chunk of the online business from the European visitors.

Essentially, they are building that initial relationship, in French or in German. They have had a significant advantage since your website was previously only available in English.

FACT: Online, people are 3 times more likely to buy if the website is in their own language.

We’d love to help you build that initial relationship with your customers. We work closely with Bookassist, who already has a multi-lingual booking engine. We’ll help you translate your website to delight the customers when they come to your website. Bookassist has already done the rest for you by allowing your customers to book in their own language.

Cipherion Translations have teams of marketing specialists in over 40 languages. Because you only need to “hire” our marketing team for a day or two, the costs are not significant… and in conjunction with the multi-lingual booking engine from Bookassist you can start to grab a larger share of the business that used to come to you through third party websites.

So whether you only wish to market based on a translated home page, or feel that you want to tell the visitor more about your hotel, our team can quickly provide you with translations that will engage and hold your visitors attention. We ensure that during those initial 10 seconds the online visitor will get maximum value from the website.

The Internet and Web 2.0 now allows you to easily attract customers from all over Europe. So it’s vital that you market to this audience in their own language – to build that initial relationship with them.

Remember the fact: people are 3 times more likely to buy online if the website is in their own language. Cipherion Translations can provide you with the marketing experts in each language to guarantee that a visitor’s initial 10 seconds are meaningful and thus increase the chances of the customer wanting to book directly from your website. Bookassist, with their multi-lingual booking engine will take care of the rest.

In summary, thinking global means taking action. Translation is a cost-effective way to build your revenues and build relationships with your customers. Now is the time to think about differentiating yourself on the Internet.

Mark Rodgers is Managing Director at Cipherion Translations.

Labels: web design, tips, marketing, brand

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Hotels should offer reviews on their sites - Forrester

By Des O'Mahony | On Tue, May 20, 2008

Eva Reyero in Bookassist’s Madrid office noted that Bookassist’s Travel 2.0 approach has been endorsed by Forrester Research.

Bookassist’s approach of offering Travel 2.0 technologies such as reviews directly embedded in hotel websites as part of the booking engine suite has been endorsed by recent comments from Forrester Research.

Sarah Rotman Epps writing on forrester.com in an article headed “It’s Time For Hotels To Offer Traveler-Written Reviews On Their Web Sites” comments that “...hotels can offer something that most third-party sites don’t: validation that the reviewer actually stayed in the hotel….Give travelers the content and tools they need to distinguish the right hotel for their needs for a particular trip so that they can complete their booking on your Web site. Reviews are one element that influences a traveler’s booking decision, but they’re not the only — or even the primary — influencer. Hotel Web sites need a robust offering of content and tools that may include, but should not be limited to, traveler-written reviews.

Bookassist has long advocated the drive towards Web 2.0 technologies in the travel industry and released its Travel 2.0 booking engine upgrade in March 2008, as well as a comprehensive Travel 2.0 offering for hotel groups. The Bookassist approach allows customer reviews to be embedded in the hotel website along with booking facilities, vouchers, Google maps and other technologies.

Eva Reyero, BookassistEva Reyero is a co-founder of Bookassist and heads marketing and research at Bookassist’s Madrid Office

Labels: web design, travel2.0

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Multi-step booking approach proving superior to one-step single page versions

By Des O'Mahony | On Fri, July 18, 2008

With the array of different booking engines in the marketplace constantly growing, technology heavy companies often allow new technology to overshadow the fundamental point of the booking process, which is to ease the path for the user to make a booking.

Bookassist has always adopted a customer-centric approach to the booking process, keeping the technology hidden from the customer, and uses a multi-step approach to online reservations which allows the customer to have more detail about what they are booking, more clarity in the process, more feedback on what they are doing while booking, and a far higher sense of security during the crucial credit card step than a single page on screen could possibly provide. A significant body of research, and the approach of the top booking engine systems in the world, vindicates this multi-step approach and shows it to be best practice and superior to the single page flash-style booking solution which, while promising to allow a booking in one step, often simply frustrates the user with a lack of information and leads to a lower faith in the system. This could potentially damage future business in the eyes of some customers for a hotel deploying a one-step approach.

See for example the opinion of Hospitality Net on the issue at: www.hospitalitynet.org. While tracking and optimisation issues have certainly improved recently, especially since the Hospitality Net article was published, the fundamental issues of utility for the customer addressed in that article, and other research remains. The key is to serve the customer and relegate the technology to the background.

Labels: web design, tips, booking systems

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Flash-based websites still a no-no for Hotels

By Des O'Mahony | On Mon, August 18, 2008

We all know that Adobe’s Flash can be used to make great looking sites, with cool animation and interaction. We “humans” love this. But the problem is that search engines aren’t human, and the spider programmes they use to crawl and index the internet often have no idea what the purpose or content of a Flash-based site is. This can be a critical flaw if you are relying on search engine rankings, which most businesses do.

Getting a Flash-based website indexed properly and search engine optimized is a difficult task, far more difficult than a standard HTML-based site.

Google’s online help specifically state that their search engine is text based (see http://www.google.com/support/). In order to be crawled and indexed, your primary content needs to be in text format. Of course you can include images, Flash files, videos and any other media you wish – but any content embedded in these included files should also be available on your site in text or description format or it probably won’t be crawled.

Last month, Google with the help of Adobe began a project of spidering the content of Flash Shockwave files insofar as it could in order to try to properly index such sites (see http://www.adobe.com/devnet). In a press announcement that effectively admits to a serious problem with search engines and Flash sites, Adobe said it is “providing optimized Adobe Flash Player technology to Google and Yahoo! to enhance search engine indexing of the Flash file format (SWF) and uncover information that is currently undiscoverable by search engines. This will provide more relevant automatic search rankings of the millions of RIAs [rich internet applications] and other dynamic content that run in Adobe Flash Player.” Google doesn’t appear to be as optimistic as Adobe though (see http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com). Yahoo! hasn’t yet committed to a similar spidering project. There is no indication at all that Microsoft will ever follow suit, being a less than enthusiastic supporter of Flash, so it is likely MSN will never spider Flash-based sites.

While these approaches to Flash spidering are welcome, they are not the solution. In fact this can lead to additional problems through complacency. Flash content that is loaded via Javascript remains inaccessible (as does pretty much everything executed via Javascript). The design approach of Flash lends itself to less content in any case, tending to be far less text rich and far more image rich. Also, embedded text pages within Flash may contain the requisite content, but the information is likely to be completely out of context since it lacks the organizational tree structure of a standard HTML website. Context is as crucial as content for optimizing your search engine ranking, since it determines the authority of your content. Without context, you can easily see a site spidered as an authority on some completely different and unintended topic.

Also, all of this new search engine aware technology still relies on the designer getting it right with the back-end content. Flash designers need to become much more search engine savvy, since up to now many have tended to not be too concerned with this and concentrated mostly on the look. So we may see improvements for future Flash-based sites designed in this new way, but existing Flash-based sites are unlikely to gain much.

Things are certainly improving, but the potential for trouble remains. For now, best practice is to avoid Flash as the basis of critical information and use alternate, text based information if you do have Flash so that search engines can spider and understand your site.

Bottom line: If you are that individual or business that does not care about web rankings or search engine optimization, but just wants an eye-catching presence, then Flash is certainly a good option for you. But bear in mind that unless you are using some method other than search engines to get your web address in front of your desired audience, chances are few people will ever lay their eyes on your creation. Or if they do, it may be because they were searching for something else entirely.

Des O'Mahony, BookassistDr Des O’Mahony is co-founder and Managing Director of Bookassist

Labels: web design, tips, seo

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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

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

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Content Continues To Be King

By Des O'Mahony | On Tue, October 06, 2009

In late September, Google finally confirmed officially what many of us have suspected for years - that the tag attribute (hereafter simply “the keywords meta tag”) in web pages has no effect on Google search results rank.

Fundamentally, what this means is that attempts to tell Google what your web site is about don’t work - Google will figure this out for itself thank you. Pretending to be something you are not won’t work. Tricks to make yourself look better than you are won’t work. Google of course uses various methods of its own to determine where you should rank in search engine results and will largely see through attempts to spoof it. Primary among those methods is to ascertain what the content of a website really is. Getting the content right is the single best way to ensure Google’s approval - plus it serves to entice and engage online readers, and to build quality incoming links.

Some Tags Are Better Than Others

There’s a bit more to the tags issue though. Web developers/designers insert various tags and tag attributes into web pages that are either necessary or useful and that are used by search engines, but not necessarily for search rank. For example, if you choose “View > Page Source” for a web page in Firefox, for example, the code behind the page you can see will contain entries like:

The keywords meta tag has traditionally been applied to inform search engines of the primary focus of the website. This is the one Google doesn’t read anymore, saying that “Because the keywords meta tag was so often abused, many years ago Google began disregarding the keywords meta tag”. a tag”.

On the other hand, Google is not the only game in town, and Bing has a slightly different approach saying that the keywords meta tag “is not the page rank panacea it once was back in the prehistoric days of Internet search. It was abused far too much and lost most of its cachet. But there’s no need to ignore the tag. Take advantage of all legitimate opportunities to score keyword credit, even when the payoff is relatively low.”

Search results do make use of other tags however, at least for result display purposes. The page title and description meta tags are used by Google directly in displaying its search results - for example the first result in the figure below (click to enlarge) shows the title and description meta tag that we “fed” to Google using the code shown above. While the effect of the title and description meta tags on the actual search result position is not clear, it is certainly important to have them correct and meaningful for the user who ultimately looks at those search results since they must create an impact and give immediate information if you are to capitalise on your search ranking. At least this is one area over which you have definite control.

The Dual Online User

This highlights one key tenet in getting your website just right online. It needs to be right for dual users - firstly, for the search engine that has to read and assess the site and determine how to return the address in search results, and secondly for the viewer who will click on results and ultimately interact with your site. The approach to optimising for these dual users is quite different but there are overlaps, content being the primary one.

What Search Engines Like

Google works very hard to make sure that its search results are as relevant as possible to the search phrase used. The more accurate Google is, the more likely people will continue using it and the more money it will make from displaying relevant adverts. So Google really needs to get it right.

The Google webcrawler program trawls the web and reads the code behind web pages, attempting to categorise the sites in its database. While the algorithm it uses to assess websites is no doubt complex, it is basically a dumb machine and must make judgement calls only on what is presented to it in plain text. The domain name, page title, the description tag are a starting point, but unless the information and wording contained therein are backed up by solid content on the page that reinforces the title and description, then the Google webcrawler feels that something is amiss and the ranking of the site will suffer.

To take an extreme example, suppose your page title is “Boutique Hotel in Dublin”, and your description tag is “We are a boutique hotel in Dublin”, but then your entire page content is about dog kennels. Then the Google webcrawler won’t consider your site a good result to show to anyone who is searching for information about “boutique hotels in Dublin” or about “dog kennels” for that matter. The structure and the content are simply not matching up. A web page has to do exactly what it says on the tin or it will be punished.

When a person searches for a specific phrase, like “boutique hotels in Dublin”, then Google really wants to display information about “boutique hotels in Dublin” and about nothing else. The likely best candidates are websites that have domain names that use the terms “boutique”, “hotel” and “dublin” AND page titles that use the terms “boutique”, “hotel” and “dublin” AND page content that makes regular use of the words “boutique”, “hotel” and “dublin” (preferably repeated use to up the keyword “density” of the content, but not too much use so that Google again is suspicious of your motives!). If external websites have links to this site that use the terms “boutique”, “hotel” and “dublin” in the text of the link, then Google further approves since other websites appear to be sending people to the site based on the same search terms, so the external link endorsement is worth something to Google.

Getting To The Top

So it is clear that the content of your website really needs attention to ensure that any search terms you want to be found for are targeted in your copy and are matched with page titles, descriptions and where possible web domains. For example, if as a hotel, your location is a key issue for your business, then refer to it at least four or five times in the content on your home page. Likewise for any other issues important to your business: if your spa treatment is a primary earner, then have a spa treatment page, with a title referring to spa treatment, a file name referring to spa treatment, content mentioning the spa treatment a number of times, images with file names relating to spa treatment and image alt descriptions referring to spa treatment and so on. Remember, the webcrawler that is trying to assess your page has no interest in colour schemes, Flash content, text rendered as images, photographs or aesthetics - it can only read information clearly presented to it in text form, so you need to get every element of the page “singing off the same hymn sheet” in order to make your point.

Good Content

Writing good content that can target keywords of the right density to Google but still be interesting enough to catch the online user’s eye is a difficult task. But it is also important that the content evolves as far as Google is concerned. Continually refreshing content is therefore critical also for search ranking, and one of the best ways to tackle the content issue is through the use of blogs.

Blogs are an easy and natural way to write content. Hotels can write on specific events, festivals, nearby attractions, recipes from their kitchen, unusual guests requests, all sorts of things, and use the blog simply as the newspage for the site. These entries make for interesting reading and are naturally full of good keyword content about your hotel and your area. It is also a way to involve more of your staff in contributing content and give them more ownership of the customer experience, as well as inviting customers to comment also.

There are many hotels who now build their entire web presence around a blog and booking engine only, eliminating completely the static brochure approach that typifies many hotel websites. For a good introduction to what blogs can do for your hotel and for your hotel website’s content, check out the video Interview with Juli Lederhaus of Hawthorne Hotel in Massachusetts available on YouTube.

Get What You Deserve

The bottom line is: the best way to get to the top of the search engine results listings is to deserve it. Forget the tricks and instead strive to give information that people are actually looking for and are interested in. With the recent launch of Google’s Sidewiki, people will increasingly pass public comment on your website in any case, so chances are you will begin to get feedback that you must tend to through dynamic content whether you like it or not.

Content of websites continues to be king. In the end, for search engine position and keeping users interested, there really is nothing else to beat it.

Dr Des O’Mahony is CEO and Founder of Bookassist, the leading online strategy and technology partner for the hotel industry. Follow Bookassist on Twitter at twitter.com/bookassist

Labels: youtube, web design, tips, strategy, seo, marketing, google, domain names

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Going Mobile - It’s Where The World Is Heading

By Des O'Mahony | On Wed, August 04, 2010

“I am struck by the explosion of mobile computing - mobile is clearly going to win the battle with traditional computers.” So said Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google at the Media Summit in Abu Dhabi in March this year. There is unprecedented acceleration in the adoption of mobile touchscreen devices which is contributing to a strong growth in web access on-the-go. This is creating a significant opportunity for the hotel industry in particular and, with short lead-in times becoming more and more prevalent, positioning your hotel for mobile access is increasingly critical. Without mobile, you risk being rapidly left behind.

To App or not to App?
To get your business onto mobile, there are two approaches. The first is via a downloadable app. The hype around apps, as fueled by the success of iPhone’s app store, might indicate that the best approach is for your business to build a downloadable app. But this is not necessarily so.

Apps are indeed popular, but they are dominated by casual use items, games and utilities. Also, once downloaded, many are one-try wonders - Pinch Media, which analysed 30 million downloads, found that only 30% of people who buy from Apple’s App Store use the application the day after downloading it and for free applications 95% of people use it no more than once. Apps are also something that someone must intentionally seek out and, usually, log in to purchase or download. In other words, they require prior motivation on the buyer’s part which is a barrier to large scale use.

The Webapp
The second approach is the optimized web application or webapp. Here, the aim is to capitalize on your existing website address by developing a mobile-specific website that will be served from your web address whenever accessed by mobile. With a webapp, if configured properly, your customers just go to your web address as usual, but get a mobile experience rather than a desktop experience. It gets you right in front of your guests immediately, with no barriers to access and no extra steps or motivation required on behalf of your user. It is seamless.

If you consider how users look for hotels on mobile search, the webapp for your hotel is the obvious choice. The user is in the search engine on their mobile, is searching for hotels, will see your hotel listed in search results, and will tap to go. With a webapp you are serving them immediately from your web address with a rich mobile experience. With a downloadable app, you are reduced to giving some notification or message that they should now go to the appstore, find your app, download it, launch it, and continue. For the casual booker, that is five steps too many and your booking opportunity may well be lost.

Cost is also an issue. A custom-built app will generally cost considerably more than an optimized webapp, and for booking purposes both will have to resort to real-time data connection to your reservation system over the web anyway, so why not just use the web-oriented webapp approach in the first place? Apps will also need to be maintained, updated and re-issued via the app store when changed, which is far more cumbersome than updating a webapp where users automatically get the most current version on every access, without any update issues.

Webapp Acceleration
Even as the production of apps worldwide has skyrocketed, webapps have grown even more, at over three times the pace of app development. That’s according to a recent mobile marketplace survey by TapTu, which also indicated that the fastest growth area in webapps is ecommerce. This shows that mobile users are quite happy with webapps as a means of interaction - and as a means of buying.

One Webapp Suits All
While downloadable apps must be developed for each specific platform of mobile phone, webapps are somewhat easier since they operate within the mobile’s browser. The dominant operating systems in the touchscreen smartphone market, Apple iOS and Google Android, both use browsers based on the same common core technology called WebKit, and with the August 2010 release of version 6 of their operating system, Blackberry have also adopted WebKit for their new browser. The S60 Symbian operating system used on Nokia and LG smart phones also uses WebKit. So ensuring a relatively uniform experience is now much more straightforward since webapps need only be constructed to be compatible with WebKit to reach the majority of modern touchscreen devices.

Bookassist Webapp for Hotels
In January of this year, Bookassist announced a comprehensive webapp solution for hotels that is rapidly gaining ground nationally and internationally, winning well-known clients such as Bewleys Hotels in UK and Ireland, Arcotel Hotels in Austria, Hotel Paris in Czech Republic and Glenview Hotel, Lough Erne Resort, Buswells Hotel and Camden Court Hotel in Ireland. The development of the webapp was based on detailed analysis of the unique mobile access statistics that Bookassist has researched from thousands of reservations daily across its network of client hotels. This information guided the main features of the webapp development, with the aim to get relevant information in front of the mobile user as quickly as possible and to facilitate booking with as few taps as possible.

Here’s how it works. When a mobile customer goes to a participating hotel’s website on their mobile, Bookassist scripts automatically redirect the customer to the mobile webapp version (though the customer can return to the full website at any time if they prefer). The hotel-branded splash screen immediately shows the most popular primary functions that people demand, the top three being location, booking and photo gallery. Languages are immediately available. Options are kept to a minimum and the system does not clutter the screen with superfluous links. The location page gives the usual address, phone number and email for the hotel, but additionally the address links to a dynamic map that can use the mobile phone’s geolocation facility to route the customer from their current position to the hotel, taking real advantage of the platform.

Booking has also been greatly simplified for the on-the-go customer. The webapp allows you to tap an arrival date and number of nights if required, tap on a room to see its description and price, and tap “book” to proceed. Entry of basic contact information and a credit card is all that is required to complete the reservation, with both an email and SMS confirmation automatically sent to the customer. Fast, simple, secure and effective.

The hotel webapp can also handle hotel groups, where an additional group webapp allows the customer to sort all hotels in a group by price, location or alphabetically, and then with a tap links through to the webapp for each individual hotel.

Bewleys Hotels QR code mobile appThe Bookassist webapp solution is the best way to get your hotel mobile in the fastest timeframe. Further details, and a demonstration video, are available at //bookassist.org/mobile. To see a working hotel group, visit Bewleys Hotels by pointing your QR code reader app on your smart phone at the code shown here.

Labels: web design, mobile, iphone

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