Hotel Industry Blog

Mobile traffic continues to grow, but desktop retains revenue dominance for now

By Des O'Mahony | On Thu, July 12, 2018

Though mobile phone traffic continues to grow in 2018, people still prefer to transact on desktop (for now)

Bookassist continues to analyse the changing behaviour of mobile users on over 1000 European hotel websites. Previously, in full year 2017, we saw significant year on year user pattern change in mobile device versus desktop behaviour, both in sessions and revenue generation. Overall traffic on mobile devices exceeded desktop traffic in some regions and was rapidly moving that way in all others. Here we present the same analysis for the first half of 2018.

Mobile Traffic Continues Growth

In terms of traffic (measured as sessions), the switch to mobile has continued though the pace of change has obviously slowed. Desktop traffic is now just 40% of sessions for hotels in Ireland and the UK, and mobile device traffic is approaching par with desktop in Spain and Portugal.

In all cases mobile phone traffic in particular continues to increase, though growth has now slowed to single figures in percentage terms. Interestingly, tablet traffic seems to be dropping rapidly in percentage terms in the majority of cases at the expense of mobile phones.

Sessions on mobile versus desktop for hotels in the first half of 2018
Figure 1: Visitor sessions by device on Bookassist client hotel websites in Europe from January to June 2018, together with the relative change (in brackets) compared to the same period in 2017. Mobile traffic continues to grow but growth is flattening out.

Mobile Revenue Has A Long Way To Go

In terms of revenue being generated through bookings on hotel websites, we see very significant improvement in mobile and tablet revenue generation. Growth in mobile revenue is universally in double digits year on year, though this is still coming off a low base versus desktop.( Despite the number of mobile phone sessions being significantly higher than tablet sessions, the actual level of revenue generated on each platform is similar in most cases.)

Even though mobile revenue is growing in double digits in most cases, desktop still clearly dominates transactions for hotels.

Revenue generated on mobile versus desktop for hotels in the first half of 2018
Figure 2: Revenue share by device on Bookassist client hotel websites in Europe from January to June 2018, together with the relative change (in brackets) compared to the same period in 2017. Mobile-generated revenue continues to grow universally but for now doesn’t reach the same impressive slice overall that mobile traffic does.

Targeting Mobile

When you look at the broader online picture, mobile currently accounts for half of all global web pages served (source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/241462/global-mobile-phone-website-traffic-share/ ). By February 2017 this figure had already reached 65% in Asia.

But clearly, there are usage differences that inhibit actual transactions on mobile, be they habit, usage mode and/or technical barriers. Bookassist has focused strongly on eliminating technical barriers with the release of the new V10 Mobile booking engine in order to help drive mobile booking revenue up. The ongoing roll-out of V10 Mobile, our most advanced booking platform yet, is undoubtedly accounting for some of the growth figures seen in mobile phone transaction revenue here. However the number of hotels that have been transitioned to V10 Mobile since its April release is still too low to show V10’s real impact on the first six-month figures here.

Given the increasingly dominant number of mobile sessions in all regions compared to the relatively low transaction level, mobile is underexploited. We see most providers’ mobile efforts to be poor in terms of quality, speed and usability, which is why we have directly tackled these areas with our ultra-modern and responsive Smart Web system and our new V10 Mobile booking technology.

Targeting mobile transactions in every possible way is the single best thing that any hotel can do to improve its direct booking potential. That includes using the best mobile web and booking technology, built for speed and usability, and adopting a strategy of providing mobile-only incentives. Treating mobile guests as second-class citizens today will cost you dearly.


Dr Des O’Mahony is CEO and Founder at Bookassist (http://www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide, and is a HSMAI “Top 20 Extraordinary Minds” recipient.


GDS – An Often Misunderstood Direct Opportunity

By Editor | On Mon, June 11, 2018

By Pawel Debakowski, Claire Sawier and Des O’Mahony

GDS business can be a significant source of incremental bookings and increased margin. When optimised, cost per acquisition is significantly better than OTAs. Use a managed GDS service like Bookassist’s to get true benefit.

Open For Business Sign

The Options For Direct

Every hotelier knows the advantage of direct online bookings to their hotel. But there is more to direct than just bookings on your website booking engine. In recent years, for example, meta search has become a strong option to capture traffic via online marketplaces but fulfil the booking directly with your hotel online. At Bookassist our metasearch management team has delivered metasearch bookings growth of 130% in the first quarter of 2018 versus the last quarter of 2017 (see https://bookassist.org/company/testimonials/en/). While there is an additional commission for that traffic versus on-website bookings, it is not at punitive OTA levels, and the customer data is the hotel’s and there to be taken advantage of pre-, during and post-stay.

Is there anything else that can be done to improve hotel margins, other than playing the game of moving bookings between B2C channels, direct and various OTAs? What if you could be getting additional bookings at a cost much lower than the cost of OTA bookings without cannibalising your direct business? An often overlooked and misunderstood service that can deliver just that is the global distribution system, or GDS. When managed properly as an additional distribution channel, GDS bookings can generate increased margins that can be very attractive indeed.

The Global Distribution System

The GDS is a large computer network that represents a single point of entry to travel agents and travel sites worldwide. (It also deals with airline, car rental and bus and rail services, but we won’t consider those here.) The main players in GDS, who compete with each other, are Sabre, Amadeus and Travelport (which comprises Galileo, Apollo and Worldspan). GDS services may be provided to hotels by a “provider”, such as Bookassist, who acts as the first point of contact for GDS with the hotel. The main players may also be providers in some cases.

The GDS is particularly important when it comes to business travel and corporate travel accounts. Many large companies continue to use travel agents or even internally-based travel desks to manage their travel expenses.

A Source of Incremental Bookings

A 2017 study of more than 900 travel agents located throughout 52 countries revealed that travel agents are continuing to report a record use of the GDS for hotel reservations. The study predicted that GDS hotel booking growth would surpass 68 million reservations in 2017 – an increase of over 2 million hotel bookings generated in 2016. Their business intelligence data also demonstrated that GDS hotel bookings and average daily rates (ADR) generated through travel agents are on the rise.

The GDS in particular provides corporate business bookings and agency bookings that in most cases cannot be obtained in any other way. In other words, if a GDS agent/booker is not finding your hotel in the GDS, they will not look for it on other channels - they will instead stay within the GDS environment and will book a different hotel that is available there instead.

It’s important to note also that GDS corporate business typically delivers a quality customer that usually augments hotel F&B/C&B revenue using his employer expenses to wine and dine in the hotel, in contrast to leisure travellers who tend to spend outside the hotel.

GDS Fee Elements

Commissionable and Non-Commissionable GDS Bookings

Fees for GDS bookings can often appear complex compared to the “simple” model of OTAs. With GDS, there is firstly a fee per booking for the use of the GDS systems, often called a transaction or pass-through fee, which is fixed. There may then be additional commissions due to the GDS provider company, and commissions due to the travel agent making the booking. There are two types of GDS booking that can occur, called commissionable and non-commissionable, which refer to whether the travel agent is due commission or not.

In discussions with Bookassist, one of the largest networks of TMCs (travel management companies), indicated that over 80% of bookings they now manage are non-commissionable. For the hotel, there are only two costs associated with acquiring a non-commissionable booking - the GDS transaction fee and the provider’s commission.

For commissionable bookings, you need to add typically 8-10% agency commission on the top of the GDS transaction fee and the provider’s commission. But even at that, you are getting the best available rate (BAR) for the booking, and typically that quality business customer that generates additional spend.

GDS Cost Per Acquisition

So where does the GDS stand in terms of all-important cost per acquisition (CPA)? Because of the fixed transaction fee element, calculation of the CPA of a GDS booking will depend on the hotel sale rate achieved and the length of stay. In other words, it depends on the booking value. For example a transaction fee of €9 could account for 10% or more for a single night BAR booking, while in other cases the transaction fee can be less than 1% when a booking is made for multiple nights and/or the rate achieved is high. In those cases, such bookings often cost as little as 5 or 6% with certain GDS providers.

At Bookassist, our GDS team is now achieving CPA averages across all hotels of approximately 14% on the combination of commissionable and non-commissionable GDS bookings, down from 15% in 2017. Our highly-optimised hotels are achieving 12% or less on the mix, with many non-commissionable bookings at 7% or less.

GDS CPA of 12%

Working the GDS

There are also other opportunities within the GDS environment that can be availed of, such as the commonly talked about ‘consortia’, GDS marketing, GDS preferred listings and more. These services all cost extra and can be effective – but they do not work equally well for all properties.

For the individual hotelier, the requirements for applying to consortia or account managing their property on the GDS can be onerous. This is where a managed service such as Bookassist’s comes in, leaving the hotelier free from the day-to-day GDS management but assured that optimised GDS bookings simply flow through. Very few providers offer a truly managed service, but availing of it where possible has a clear positive impact on performance and is definitely recommended.

Camden Court Testimonial

RFP Management - Open For Business

Similar to how one uses digital marketing to promote the use of the direct sales channel, we can use marketing techniques in the GDS to enhance return. Primary among those techniques is RFP Management. RFP is “request for proposal”, where companies make the market aware of the volume of bednights they expect to need for the upcoming year.

Hotels can already greatly benefit from positioning the commissionable, GDS BAR bookings within their online business mix, but it is the proper management of GDS RFPs and corporate sales relationships that really let you to show off your revenue management skills.

Once a year, hotels have the opportunity to bid for corporate GDS business depending on their location, amenities and the standards set by particular company requirements. RFP management tools and related market intelligence can be of great help in securing the right business. For example, corporate room-night requirements per location worldwide as well as corporate office/production plant locations are available to hotels during RFP season. When managed appropriately, the information can be used to secure valuable incremental business at good margins.

While the initial work involved in RFPs can be onerous, providers such as Bookassist can manage the task for the hotelier and deliver the business. The RFP “season” is now underway in relation to corporate room-night requirements for 2019 and represents a real opportunity for hotels near key companies and industries.

Bottom Line

GDS business can be a significant source of incremental bookings and increased margin. Hoteliers have a great opportunity to generate incremental revenue and maximise revenue per available room (RevPAR) through the power of the GDS. When optimised, cost per acquisition is significantly better than OTAs, and the guest spend per stay is likely far higher. The RFP season is now underway for 2019 and represents a real opportunity for hotels to tap into that incremental direct business.

It’s time to make sure that you are open for business on the GDS.


Pawel Debakowski is Head of Product for GDS, Claire Sawier is Head of Marketing, and Des O’Mahony is CEO & Founder at Bookassist (http://www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide. Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™ and is a Google Premium Partner.


Owning Your Hotel’s Online Real Estate

By Editor | On Mon, May 21, 2018

The Continuing Importance Of Search

Your hotel’s online traffic and online bookings come from a broad variety of sources today, and none of those sources is more important than search. Aggregated data from hundreds of Bookassist partner hotels across Ireland and Europe over the past 12 months show that Google was responsible for 72.5% of overall traffic to those clients when you add Google pay per click (PPC), Google organic search and Google meta search (see Figure 1).

Bookassist data showing Google services delivering 72.5% of overall traffic to hotels in the past 12 months
Figure 1: Bookassist data showing Google services delivering 72.5% of overall traffic to hotels in the past 12 months


Google continues to rank far ahead of all other search engines in market share terms. This is particularly true when it comes to mobile where its dominance of search volume currently exceeds 90% due to its ownership of the Android platform and its status as default search on Apple’s iOS. With Google processing over 40,000 search queries every second on average, it’s virtually impossible for your business to succeed online without prioritising Google in your online strategy.

Just think of what could be achieved if you could own your very own real estate on Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Well actually you already do have a foothold - although there is a massive performance gap between brands that dominate the whole SERP area and those who just own a small corner. In a perfect online world, when someone searches for your brand on Google, the results page would be heavily dominated by you, the brand owner, with perfect messaging that reels in the customers. It’s not that easy to do, but those that do get it right reap large economic benefits. The continuing cost of tackling the issue can well be outweighed by the ongoing benefits if you get this right.

The Successful Multi-pronged Approach

Presence on the first page of Google’s SERP is the holy grail for brand owners and marketeers. However it is not enough - you need to be present and strong across all areas of the first page. Search engine optimisation (SEO), PPC, Google My Business and metasearch are all separate areas that must be continually optimised to present an enticing storefront for potential customers. And just like any store front, the windows need to be appropriately dressed and targeting to the customer.

Hoteliers actually have a lot of control over the presentation of their brand on the SERP but disappointingly many allow the weeds to grow and the page goes unnurtured and overgrown by unwanted competitors. So what can you do to win at the online equivalent of the Chelsea Flower Show?

Knowing The SERP #1 - PPC Advertising For Your Brand Name

Firstly it is important to understand the key areas of the Google SERP to see why and how they can be influenced for maximum visibility. It is interesting to note that 34% of searches on Google do not result in a click – this is because Google has either answered the query directly on the page, or because the user was not satisfied with the results and so entered another query.

Starting at the top of the page, the easiest area to control is the section with PPC or paid ads, which can be identified by the small green text box which says ‘Ad’ (see Figure 2).

Google Pay Per Click Ads are indicated by the “Ad” label. Rich ad extensions and site links can be created to maximise impact
Figure 2: Google Pay Per Click Ads are indicated by the “Ad” label. Rich ad extensions and site links can be created to maximise impact

In order to maximize visibility in this area it is strongly advised to use a Google Premier Partner like Bookassist that has experience in creating and optimizing campaigns for hotels. Your agency should ensure that the full complement of ad extensions and sitelinks are used to maximize the footprint on the page and provide rich information, and to ensure the best position to get maximum click-through. The devil is in the detail here and significant skill is needed for research and optimisation.

Many hoteliers query the value of running brand name ads at all. But there are significant implications of not doing so. In conjunction with one of our partner hotels we ran an experiment to see what impact turning off brand ads would have on other areas of Google search. As is demonstrated in Figure 3 below, there was a significant drop in OVERALL Google traffic when the brand ads stopped, with a recovery as soon as the ads were switched back on. Our conclusion was that while PPC ads will divert some users away for clicking on organic listings, removing the ads will result in an overall traffic drop as users click on alternative ads.

Bookassist data shows that not running brand advertising campaigns can also damage your non-campaign traffic as users engage with and focus more on competitor ads
Figure 3: Bookassist data shows that not running brand advertising campaigns can also damage your non-campaign traffic as users engage with and focus more on competitor ads

Knowing The SERP #2 - Organic Listings

Continuing down the SERP to the organic results listing beneath the PPC ads, it is important that this area too is managed by an agency experienced in SEO. Technical areas such as meta tags and descriptions need to be expertly crafted to send the best possible message to Google but also to attract users and encourage them to click through to your site. And of course you need to consider multilingual approaches also for your target markets which may differ in approach and not be simply translations of the main language.

Data for Google organic traffic in March from Advanced Web Ranking shows that, internationally, the first listing in the organic results page receives a 36% click through rate (CTR) on desktop and 28.5% CTR on mobile with a rapid drop off as we move down the SERP (see Figure 4). So it is critical to focus on how to rank first for your brand name.

Advanced Web Ranking data shows the importance of owning the first position in organic search
Figure 4: Advanced Web Ranking data shows the importance of owning the first position in organic search

Knowing The SERP #3 - The Knowledge Graph

The third key area of the results page appears on the right hand side and is referred to as the Knowledge Graph by Google. The objective of this section is to answer as many queries as possible in one area and to encourage the user to click through to a booking facility powered by Google Hotel ads – Google’s metasearch advertising platform.

Looking at a well-structured example in Figure 5, we see the various areas that can mostly be optimized directly by the property owner. If you don’t already own the information being displayed about your property, the first step is to claim the business using Google My Business at the address business.google.com. The Google My Business interface allows you to manage photos, reviews, description, questions and much more.

A well-structured Knowledge Graph can bring significant click throughs and additional business
Figure 5: A well-structured Knowledge Graph can bring significant click throughs and additional business


When logged in to your Google My Business account, you can upload official property photos and review user photos in order to flag any that are unsuitable. It is important to note that the knowledge graph will appear for searchers whether you engage with it or not, and in the absence of owner-supplied information, Google will rely on general users and third party websites for content.

The next key area to check is the map, to ensure that the location is correct, and following that, to check that the name, address and phone number match exactly with the details on your website.

The Book a Room button and Check Availability facility are powered by Google Hotel Ads. Google’s metasearch service that operates on a cost per click model. Again if you are not there, the user will likely click on a third party to check rates and complete a booking. Use of this area requires partnership with a metasearch provider such as Bookassist that has a certified connection to the Google Hotel Ads platform.

The Hotels details section allows you to create a well written and informative description of your property but unfortunately Google frequently ignores this description and pulls one together from various sources across the web. Despite this drawback it is well worthwhile managing your description and taking the time to regularly update your amenities to ensure that they are 100% accurate, as having incorrect facilities listed can lead to customer dissatisfaction on arrival or possibly mean missing out on a booking when customers don’t see a facility that they require.

The final two sections require regular monitoring and feedback – firstly the customer reviews should be treated in the same way as other important review sites, with frequent responses from the owner or other responsible for both good and bad reviews. Finally the questions and answers section is a good opportunity to engage with customers. These questions are typically answered by Google users, so it is important that the official response is given for accuracy, but also to start a conversation with customers.

Bottom Line

You may not know it, but you already have a SERP for your hotel. The question is who really owns that real estate, you or your competitors? It’s time to move your page’s real estate from a side alleyway to the main street and tap into customer demand.

Ciarán Rowe is Head of Digital Marketing Operations, Claire Sawier is Head of Marketing, and Des O’Mahony is CEO & Founder at Bookassist (http://www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide.

Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™ and is a Google Premium Partner.


It’s Official - Desktop Is A Minority Access Point In Ireland/UK

By Des O'Mahony | On Thu, January 04, 2018

​Mobile continues to gain usage over desktop and at the expense of tablet also. Recently we published data from mid year 2017 showing the impact of mobile on hotel website traffic - https://bookassist.org/blog/post/mobile-marches-forward/en/

For full 2017 figures across hundreds of hotel websites that we manage or monitor, we see that desktop sessions were in a minority for hotels monitored in Bookassist’s markets in Ireland/UK and in Spain/Portugal. As with other studies, we continue to see mobile revenue lagging the traffic figures significantly, though the growth rates are substantial. Let’s see what 2018 brings as customers become ever-more comfortable with mobile as their primary access point.

mobile traffic versus desktop 2017

mobile revenue versus desktop 2017

Six Key Digital Marketing Trends to watch for in 2018

By Editor | On Mon, January 01, 2018

The new year is an ideal opportunity to look anew at what you are doing in digital and see if you can catch the wave of new opportunities being created.

1. Driving Better Performance with Personalised Content

“Content is King” is still true, but now even more so when delivered with a personalised twist. Personalisation should be a core focus when devising a marketing plan for the new year. Conveying the right message at the right time to each individual customer persona is the holy grail. But how can we be sure that a customer’s specific needs are perfectly catered for?

  • Firstly, know who your customers are and reach for who your new customer could be. Study your website’s analytics and demographics carefully to ensure you are not making incorrect assumptions. Making real use of that detailed data is critical.
  • Secondly, ensure you have content on your website optimised in your customers’ languages, with different messages and offers depending on their needs. Geo-targeting, where messages (or offers) alter based on the origin of the visitor, is something modern web management platforms like Bookassist’s Smart Content Management System can already cater for.

This strategy will involve even more effort from hotels from now on in terms of creating content that matches each customer’s specific preferences, for example having different messages for returning customers versus new ones. But moving in this direction is a must, since one size fits all calls-to-action are no longer enough.

And don’t let good new content go to waste. Successful businesses also pay to promote their unique content and gain further value from their efforts. Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram continue to be low-cost options for hotels to leverage their novel personalised content with stronger promotion.

2. Results-driven Social Media

Assessing ROI on Social Media (SM) is a difficult task, especially when the strategy in the SM campaign is not directly linked to income. For a hotel or restaurant, the SM strategy is often not to increase the number of bookings (rooms or tables), but to increase brand awareness.

Measuring the effectiveness of SM campaigns is not as clear as when using Google AdWords, where it’s easy to measure the achieved goals related to the number of reservations made through your ad click-throughs. In SM we must know how much the goals are worth to us in non-monetary terms, and those goals fall into two categories:

  • Awareness: The number of people that know about your brand;
  • Perception: How people think and feel about your brand.

Social Engagement Metrics, or “Vanity Metrics”, are the real currency in SM campaigns. Metrics often focused on are Followers or Page Likes, but they’re not the only ones. Key metrics also include:

  • Shares: the number of times your post was shared onwards;
  • Mentions: the number of times someone mentioned your brand;
  • Comments: the level of direct interaction on your posts;
  • Reach: the number of people who actually saw your post.

For example, comparing the number of people talking about your brand to the number talking about competitors (your Social Share of Voice) gives you good feeling for how well you are doing and if you are improving overall. Most Social Media platforms now give good analytics tool to help you gauge your success. It’s time to start using those tools.

3. The Rise of Dark Social

Dark Social (DS) refers to traffic that comes to websites via social channels but is not attributed to its original source. DS occurs primarily through private sharing of URLs on platforms like WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger.

Imagine this scenario. You post a link on Facebook promoting a special offer. A follower likes the post and tags one of their friends. That friend opens the link from your post. They like what they see and copy the URL, pasting it into a group chat on WhatsApp.

In this picture, clicks on the Facebook post will be tracked in Google Analytics with Facebook as the source. However, when the URL is clicked in the WhatsApp chat, the traffic will be recorded as direct to website without any referral. That’s DS in action.

A study by RadiumOne in 2016 claimed “84% of consumers’ outbound sharing from publishers’ and marketers’ websites now takes place via private, Dark Social channels” . Unfortunately, there’s no accurate way to measure such DS traffic. Adding social sharing buttons to your website and correctly tagging the URLs you share on Facebook or in newsletters (with UTM parameters for those in the know) helps reduce the amount of socially-shared traffic being attributed to ‘direct’. But even that’s not entirely effective.

This does not mean DS should simply be ignored. Google Analytics allows you to deep dive into your traffic and segment ‘direct’ visits that arrived on a deep landing page using a mobile device. If a URL is quite lengthy, we can safely assume that users haven’t directly typed it into their browser, particularly on mobile. In the previously mentioned example, you could do a deep dive in Google Analytics to analyse mobile traffic after the offer was posted on Facebook.

It will be increasingly important to engage with this level of analysis to get a true picture of the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. Hard work, but definitely needed.

4. Voice Search Optimisation

Google Voice Search is not new - its first release was May 2012, with a multilingual update a few months later . Since then, Digital Marketers and SEO Experts have been proactively experimenting with new ways to exploit Voice Search, especially as mobile grows.

The main difference between voice search and typed-in search is the length of the query and the nature of the sentence. Voice search queries tend to be longer and often a natural question, e.g. “What are the best hotels in Dublin city centre for families?”, versus a typed-in search like “family hotels Dublin”.

As a consequence, these searches belong to what’s known as the “upper funnel”, where users are researching broadly with little immediate commitment. The key for hotels is to ensure that the results of such searches present your property as part of the so-called “evoked set”, that small selection of hotels that users see, and then may recall later and preferentially favour once they are in the second stage of the research process. As voice interfaces proliferate, specifically targeting voice search is therefore increasingly important.

What to do?

  • Write content in a natural, conversational voice and it is far more likely to match voice search queries. When writing, ask yourself what question is this content trying to answer? The Search Queries section in both Google analytics and Google Search Console can help you find what your users are already asking.
  • Build a set of user intent queries based on your hotel’s unique selling points. For example, if your hotel has a spa, go to Google Search and start typing a few sentences with using spa a few related keywords to see what Google suggests as typical searches.
  • Estimate search volume for your user intent queries to determine how many users might result and prioritise your content based on that. But also consider the quality of the search to ensure it is likely revenue-generating for your hotel.
  • Make sure that structured data, known as Schema Markup , is present in your website, essential because it is now one of the key signals used to power search results.

5. Chatbots for the Hospitality Industry

We’ve all probably interacted with a chatbot without ever knowing it was a machine. Machine learning and artificial intelligence methods are now letting programs interpret users’ typed or spoken requests and are directing or answering the user automatically without human intervention. We’re now seeing chatbots assist with customer service in a number of business channels, including websites, within apps, and on messaging platforms like Facebook, Twitter and others.

A recent survey by Oracle predicted that by 2020, 80% of top marketing professionals are expected to turn to chatbots for customer services and more. Chatbots will be programmed for proactive customer engagement, tracking purchase pattern of consumers, the creation of personalized content and ads, providing feedback on site UI/UX and providing data for customer relations. Chatbots could even be online salespeople, nurturing and generating leads.

Expedia has already launched chatbots on Facebook, Amazon Alexa and for Skype. Other big players in the travel sector like Booking.com, Kayak, Cheapflights, Skyscanner, are already experimenting with ChatBots to find flights and hotels at reasonable prices for their clients. And Hospitality groups like Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt have all been testing chatbots for some time now. Expect to see more chatbots competing for your customers’ attention.

6. The Impact of Video Advertising

Video content is consumed more than any other content type currently on the internet. Video content totally dominates the smaller screens - mobile and tablets – giving undivided opportunity for brand projection without distractions. In fact, every smartphone owner watches at least one video every day seeking knowledge, aspirations and entertainment.

And it is effective. Bookassist’s own recent success story for hotels is a case in point. Harbour Hotel in Galway, Ireland, needed to stand out more from the crowd. Realizing their competitive edge lay in their own passionate staff, the hotel created a series of videos showing their love for Galway and the unmissable local places to visit. As a result of working with Bookassist digital, Harbour Hotel’s videos successfully reached thousands of potential customers on YouTube. This boosted their direct sales by 50% year on year and made their channel everyone’s new favourite destination.

Now that’s an effect!

—-

This article is condensed from insights of the Digital Marketing team at Bookassist (http://www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide. Contributors are (1) Lucia Ribagorda, (2) Sara Santos García, (3) Jason Kelly, (4) Donald Piccione, (5)(6) Rumenigo Fernandes.

Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™ and is a certified Google Premier Partner and a Bing Ads Accredited Professional.


Time is ticking for hotels as GDPR deadline approaches

By Editor | On Thu, December 14, 2017

About GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force in May 2018 are a major overhaul of EU data protection law. These regulations give new rights to individuals and place an enhanced compliance burden on organisations that process personal data.

The GDPR will have major implications for the hotel industry given the volume of personal data and credit card information processed by hotels.

Hotels need to upgrade their data protection processes as failure to comply could be very expensive – with potential fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or 20 million Euros, whichever is the greater

The legislation brings in a large number of changes and the level of effort involved in preparing for GDPR compliance is significant. Hotels must not only comply with the requirements of the legislation but must also be able to demonstrate and provide evidence of that compliance.

GDPR


Bookassist - Your partner in GDPR compliance

Hotels accepting credit card payments must already be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Bookassist, as a key data processor for hotel customers, is PCI DSS certified and has been PCI DSS compliant for many years. Bookassist was one of the first in the online bookings business to be compliant.

Bookassist is working now with GDPR legal experts to review all data processing activities. Before May 2018, Bookassist will be fully ready with the necessary changes to policies, procedures and contracts to ensure that the company is GDPR compliant in how hotel customers’ personal data is handled.

Bookassist will provide a new “Data Protection Agreement” that will describe Bookassist’s responsibilities as Data Processor for the hotel’s customer data.

For further information on GDPR and the additional steps your hotel must take to be compliant, visit: gdprandyou.ie


Bookassist CEO Des O’Mahony discusses Cost Per Acquisition

By Editor | On Wed, September 20, 2017

Bookassist CEO Des O’Mahony discusses the metrics of Cost Per Acquisition, what hotels can do to measure it properly, and how they can leverage the knowledge it brings. In particular, the fact that hotels often hamper their own ability to drive direct business is discussed. The interview is with Stephen Dudley from Fáilte Ireland, Ireland’s National Tourism Development Authority.

The interview is a follow up to Bookassist’s contribution to the Fáilte Ireland CPA report released in late 2016.


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