Hotel Industry Blog

Is Your Booking Engine Provider Hiding Your Data?

By Bernhard Boehm | On Wed, October 09, 2019

Google Analytics offers great insights into the people visiting your hotel website. Once implemented it reveals valuable information about your website traffic, including demographics, user behaviour, popular landing pages, website traffic sources, problematic exit pages and much more.

However, in order to gain insights into the revenue generated through your booking engine, Google Analytics e-commerce must also be fully integrated on your booking engine.

Most hotels have Google Analytics implemented on their website, however not all of them have Google Analytics e-commerce integrated with their booking engine. A surprising fact, considering that this is where all your direct bookings are made.

If you don’t have Google Analytics e-commerce tracking installed on your booking engine you won’t be able to track the effectiveness of your paid campaigns.

Figure 1. Example of an analytics account with e-commerce applied
Figure 1. Example of an analytics account with e-commerce applied

E-commerce allows you to measure your return on investment, cost per acquisition and conversion rates, thereby showing which campaigns are working well and where improvements need to be made. Without this information you are missing the important metrics required to help grow your direct business and to make your website more effective.

While the process of integrating Google Analytics on your booking engine is not as easy as integrating it on your website, it is absolutely essential that it is done. It is not an optional extra, but a vital business tool to measure your direct website’s performance.

Figure 2: how analytics e-commerce fits into the booking process
Figure 2: How analytics e-commerce fits into the booking process

Google Analytics e-commerce tracking can only be installed by your booking engine provider - they alone have the access required to accurately pass the relevant information from their system to Google analytics.

Bookassist installs Google Analytics e-commerce tracking as standard for all of our booking engine clients but many booking engine providers don’t. This is something every booking engine provider should include as part of the default booking engine installation. Insist that yours does!

To find out more about the steps required to set up e-commerce tracking for your hotel or to see how it works for Bookassist clients, please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

PSD2 - What now?

By Don Cronin | On Wed, October 02, 2019

September 14th 2019, the deadline for the implementation of PSD2 and in particular strong customer authentication (SCA) has come and gone. The much anticipated chaos from the expected influx of credit card declines did not materialise. The day came and went without any drama simply because the enforcement deadline was delayed at the 11th hour due to lack of industry readiness.

Albeit late in the day, thankfully common sense prevailed and stakeholders were spared the chaos which a ‘big bang’ implementation would have brought. The surge in declines of non-authenticated, non-exempted transactions could have impacted hotels significantly.

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has now decreed that each National Competent Authority (NCA) is free to define their respective enforcement timelines. Early industry recommendations indicate an implementation delay of between 6 to 18 months with a soft enforcement period of 12 months which will enable stakeholders to properly test authentication, authorisations, soft decline processes, exemptions etc., before a later hard enforcement deadline is applied.

The lack of clarity surrounding the initial September 14th implementation date, the poor communication, lack of coordinated approach across the EU countries and the remaining uncertainty has not bathed the EBA in glory. The EBA now needs to establish a more considered, clearly communicated and coordinated EU implementation schedule, allowing industry players proper time to be prepared, and avoiding the debacle of recent months.

PSD2 and SCA will undoubtedly pose a significant challenge for the travel industry. The level of ambiguity which remains surrounding the different transition periods is not ideal but the fact remains that we as an industry need to be ready.

Bookassist will continue to take compliance seriously and will ensure that our hotels are PSD2 compliant and ready to meet the next implementation deadline once this is communicated.

Top 10 Digital Marketing Takeaways - Learn Inbound 2019

By Digital Marketing Team | On Tue, September 17, 2019

The brightest minds in digital marketing converged together at the Aviva Stadium for an intense 2-day conference. 20 international speakers shared their expertise on a wide range of digital marketing topics ranging from PPC, SEO & CRO to analytics, content marketing, PR and growth marketing.

Bookassist’s entire Digital marketing team attended the 2 day event and now, having carefully studied and digested all of the content we bring you our top 10 actionable takeaways.

  1. Social media links aren’t a ranking factor

    Increasing the number of links to your website from your social media sites will not help you rank higher in search engine results. So why do digital marketing agencies often advise their clients to include links in social media posts? It’s because good social media content increases awareness, is often shared and can lead to links and mentions from other websites, and this does matter for SEO. You should focus on creating good, shareable content that people will want to click on and link to, as adding links purely to rank for SEO purposes does not work. See Slides.

  2. Bounce rate is not a ranking factor but…

    You should not ignore metrics like bounce rate. It may not be a ranking factor but a page with a high bounce rate may be indicative of poor user-experience. The page may have a slow page load time, appear poorly on mobile or may not provide a useful answer to a user’s query and this does matter for SEO. It pays to carefully analyse your website’s bounce rate page by page to see if there is an issue or if the bounce rate is as expected for that particular page. See Slides.

  3. SEO is an ongoing process

    Changes in society and technology influence online user behaviour. As user behaviour changes, search engines need to adapt to continue to provide the best possible information to its users quickly. This can clearly be seen in Google’s efforts to become much more than a search engine. One area of particular interest was the concept of ‘Entity first indexing’. This means that Google has reorganised it’s index based on entity concepts rather that urls or domains, which allows them to reach their goal of organising the world’s information more holistically & accurately by including elements such as apps, videos, podcasts feeds etc which may not have been associated with an entity previously. Featured snippets are another area that should be explored - although they are difficult to achieve, they present an invaluable opportunity, particularly when it comes to voice search. See Slides.

  4. Google is now an answer engine

    More than half of the searches on Google end without a click to another website. Why is this happening? Google has become very effective at crawling websites and finding answers within content. Google displays these answers in search results, and they often appear above the traditional ‘blue link’ organic search results. This type of search result is often referred to as ‘position zero’. This means that you can be ranked number one in the traditional sense, and users may not even see your website in the search results. This becomes even more important when we consider voice search, as ‘position zero’ is typically the answer returned to most queries. Hotels need to consider how they can answer user’s questions within their content. Answers should not just be placed within a FAQ page silo. For example, if a Google user is looking for “hotel near the Aviva Stadium with parking”, mentioning your parking facilities on your Aviva Stadium page and not just on your FAQ page, provides a useful answer to this question. See Slides.

  5. Link building still matters.

    Quality links have always and still are a key ranking factor. However, businesses are better off not doing any link building at all than buying poor quality links from irrelevant websites. If buying links, focus on ones that will bring good traffic as well as helping with SEO. Approach local businesses for links, as these are considered relevant and useful to users.

  6. Answer the Questions on your Brand’s Google Knowledge Graph

    Content within the knowledge graph is an area of frustration for many hotels. Google has limited hotels’ control over photos and descriptions. The Q&A feature is one area where you can have a degree of ownership. Q&A’s appear within the knowledge graph and allow users to ask questions which are publicly answered by Google Local Guides (note these Local Guides are other Google users and not Google employees) You need to start answering these questions before some Local Guide (who may not have ever stayed at your hotel) does. The person asking the question (and other users) will get a better answer and you have the opportunity to establish a conversation with them.

  7. Local SEO is essential for businesses with a physical presence

    Local SEO is far from a new concept but the explosion of mobile traffic over the last few years has placed Local SEO in the spotlight. Why is this? Searches on mobile tend to be more localised in intent and Google is able to capture data on real-world visits. This is powerful data for Google and Greg Gifford speculated that this will become a ranking factor. This type of data feeds Google’s answer engine. Information in the search results is likely to be the first interaction a user has with your brand. You can help feed Google the right data with Google My Business. See Slides.

  8. Google My Business is your Local SEO Bible

    Google often displays content about your hotel from user-generated content or from 3rd party websites. This can be frustrating. You can increase the odds of Google displaying accurate and flattering content in your favour by regularly reviewing and updating the data you provide to Google via Google My Business. This is more than just updating your name and contact details. Google has added a lot of features that are specific to hotels within the Google My Business interface. This needs to be routinely reviewed and updated. Check out our Google My Business guide to learn more about how you can have greater ownership of your Local SEO presence. See Slides.

  9. Create blog content for the top of funnel traffic

    Top of the funnel traffic can often be overlooked as visits from users at this stage of the purchase journey don’t lead to a conversion straightaway. However, if we want to increase traffic from users with intent to book, we should not simply ignore the top of the funnel. Creating content for users at this stage of the journey can increase awareness and in time this increases your lower funnel traffic. Your blog is the perfect place to create this content. See Slides.

  10. Talk to your guests

    Analytics and guest reviews can reveal a lot of information about how guests found your hotel, what they liked or disliked about your hotel. However, talking to your guests, whether it’s through surveys or informal chats, can answer these questions in much more depth. If you choose to do this through surveys make sure you don’t ask your users leading or loaded questions. As Els Aerts put it during her talk, a research question does not equal a survey question. See Slides.


It is important to remember that while SEO is a constantly evolving area, most of the fundamentals remain constant, so it is important to address these, while also keeping abreast of new techniques that need to be applied.

Find out more about this years speakers and access the full range of presentations HERE.

We need to talk about Conversion -  Part 2

By Editor | On Mon, August 26, 2019

By Jason Kelly, Claire Sawier and Dr Des O’Mahony.

conversion part 2 blog rooms

What works for you

In our previous article on conversion, we challenged the traditional concept of a conversion event as simply being a booking made, introducing the more relevant “net conversion rate” to take cancellations into consideration. We talked about the change of mindset that is needed for conversion rate optimisation (CRO) to adopt that wider focus. And we stressed the equal importance of CRO activity after the booking as well as both before and up to the point of booking.

The relevance of website conversion rate as an isolated metric to guide direct booking strategy was thrown into question and a more relevant and insightful booking engine conversion (BEC) rate was instead proposed.

In this follow-up article on conversion we go further and ask, why are people so hung up on average rates at all, given that there are so many disparate variables? Would it not be better for hotels to look at what’s realistic for them alone, without worrying about everyone else? After all, some really good revenue-generating hotels can have lower than average conversion for really valid reasons (e.g. conversion obviously plummets for dates where a hotel is full).

The real issue when it comes to conversion optimisation is to ensure that everyone who lands on your site with booking intent actually makes a booking and stays at your hotel when you have rooms to accommodate them. This is where efforts should be focused.

Reaching your own personalised and true conversion potential is more important and more relevant than reaching or exceeding any industry average figures. It’s all about what works for you.

Not every visitor has booking intent

You obviously can’t assume that every visitor landing on your website is interested in making a room booking. They may visit your website to book dinner in your hotel’s restaurant or find information about an event being held in your hotel. The reasons for visiting a hotel’s website (or any website) are usually numerous.

Measuring the value of such users is more difficult but the extra visits that these no-intent visitors create is another reason that your website’s overall conversion rate may not be the most useful metric for you to measure success upon. To measure real and relevant conversion, it’s therefore important to measure and manage all key goals on your website and not just room bookings.

Using tools such as Google Analytics, all traffic that is clearly not intended to result in a room booking should be segmented into distinct user buckets and channelled into other non room-booking-oriented goals. To set up user buckets you will need to identify all the non-accommodation services your hotel provides, e.g. meetings, food and beverage, events, fitness facilities, spa, golf and weddings. Segmenting your visitors and setting up specific conversion metrics for each key segment then allows you to focus on the individual metrics that matter for each distinct segment.

Conversion metrics for all users

To measure conversion from users who are not interested in making a room booking, you first must decide on what website actions would be valuable and therefore measurable. Take a user interested in your restaurant information for example - the most valuable action this user could take is to book a table.

Whatever the desired action is, your website needs to facilitate the completion of this action in the easiest way possible. Critically, your Google Analytics or equivalent tool needs to have a goal in place to record the required steps in completing that action, in order to measure the success or otherwise of the page. This allows you to see how people interact and how many complete the desired action.

Remove the noise - focus on booking engine conversion rate

To be clear, when hotels talk about conversion rate they generally mean (or should mean) that to be a room booking conversion rate. Your overall website conversion rate, based on room bookings versus website traffic, becomes less meaningful as you provide more services online so you need to remove all other variables to ensure you are singularly focused on your booking engine conversion (BEC) rate.

By segmenting your users you can therefore focus specifically on this key BEC metric, based only on those users who actually have booking intent.

Controllable and uncontrollable conversion factors

In terms of website conversion there is a lot that separates hotels who achieve figures much higher (and lower) than the industry average and there are quite a number of factors that can cause this number to vary considerably. As a rule, if a statistical average for any measured quantity or performance indicator has very wide variations or deviations, it becomes a lot less useful to an individual as a gauge of success or otherwise. BEC is such a performance indicator, varying to such an extent that average values are relatively meaningless to compare against.

BEC is influenced by many factors, both controllable and uncontrollable. Hotels with exceptionally high BECs typically also experience some favourable uncontrollable factors. For example, they may be located in an area of high demand with a large room stock that can service a high level of demand. Paradoxically you can be a victim of your own success by being in an area of high demand with limited room stock since, once full, your BEC will naturally decline. So averages don’t matter too much for hotels like this.

Likewise, hotels located in areas with declining levels of demand will see decreasing levels of conversion no matter what they do. And five-star hotels will typically see lower BECs than budget hotels almost by definition, with the decision process for luxury stays typically also being a longer one than for budget stays.

Hotels can’t do a lot about these uncontrollable factors but they need to be aware of them and they should take account of them, mitigate against their risks, and take advantage of their opportunities by applying best practices to the conversion factors that they actually can control.

So what do high-converting hotels do to positively influence their conversion rate?

1. They use a high converting booking engine

If your booking engine is not built to convert at a high level, then you are already off to a bad start. Successful hotels give themselves the best chance of success by offering a frictionless booking process. Bookassist leads the conversion charts with our top clients reporting an average 14.8% BEC. As the direct booking expert, Bookassist is laser focused on facilitating a fluid booking process across all devices, with our mobile-first booking engine specifically aimed at the unique needs of mobile bookers.

2. They provide an excellent user experience

Acquiring the right kind of traffic, having availability, and offering clear value to direct bookers are key to improving your BEC. However, if you have all of this in place but offer a poor user experience, your website users may not even stick around long enough to understand the benefits of booking direct.

Irrelevant content, slow page-loading times, complicated navigation, lack of calls-to-action (CTAs), poor imagery, poor language translations, or the lack of security all kill conversion. Building trust through obvious website and booking engine security is particularly necessary, especially when users already trust OTAs with their credit cards. Your website must instil confidence, or you will lose bookings.

For visitors with intent to book, your pay-per-click advertising and your website should guide them directly to the relevant section of the booking engine. Users landing on your homepage should be able to enter their desired dates without difficulty, find your special offers and rooms pages, while users landing on your landing pages should be guided by relevant CTAs or links into other relevant pages. For example, a user landing on a page about your hotel’s family-friendly facilities should be guided with CTAs directly to family offers and links to pages about your family rooms, not just to a generic list of all your availability where they have to fend for themselves.

Hotels that have had their website built by Bookassist can seamlessly integrate special offers from the booking engine into their landing pages in this way. As a result, Bookassist’s web design clients have close to 20% higher BEC than hotels that work with other web designers, and clients that use Booking Engine, Web Design, Digital Marketing AND Metasearch in unison with Bookassist achieve 35% higher BEC than booking engine users only.

3. They open up direct availability

One of the biggest barriers to conversion is a lack of availability. Our data at Bookassist shows that a high percentage of positive availability requests correlates positively with strong booking engine conversion (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 - graph conversion based on availability
Figure 1 - When date searches are more positive, conversion is more positive. Retaining availability for direct booking is critical.

Hotels that return more than 80% of date requests as available have double the BEC of those that have availability less than 50% of the time. This may all seem terribly obvious but if a user can’t find availability for their desired dates, they can’t book. It does not matter how strong you are in other areas that influence conversion.

4. They offer more than just price parity!

The only place a customer should ever be able to get the best value should be hotel direct, but sadly this is often not the case. Hoteliers need to consider total value as a key influencer on conversion, as a better price alone might get you the booking in the first place but perceived better value elsewhere is what likely leads direct bookers to cancel. (Read our article on cancellations for further insights into cancellation rate reduction strategies.)

5. They offer real direct booking value

To affect positive conversion, direct booking benefits need to be clear, explicit, and offer real value to the direct booker - and that means that these benefits should ONLY be available to direct bookers. Again, not only do we see a lot of lukewarm direct booking benefits, but we see indirect OTA bookers by default getting these benefits too. Hoteliers need to take a long hard look at the actual value they are offering direct bookers, and ask themselves if it’s enough to impact positively on net conversion on their own website.

Some hotels offer more value to their direct bookers by providing them with free breakfast, welcome drinks or an airport transfer. This should not be a tick-the-box exercise. You should only offer benefits that you would realistically expect hotel guests to value and actually avail of.

Price comparison widgets are commonly used by our top performing clients. They offer a price comparison against popular OTA websites, as well as listing direct booking benefits so are a useful tool to transmit total direct booking value.

6. They focus on quality traffic with Paid Search and Metasearch

The total number of website users is a useful metric but for most hotels it is somewhat of a vanity metric. Increasing traffic from channels where users have actual intent to book should be the goal. Machine Learning approaches that generate an understanding of users’ levels of intent is increasing advertisers’ ability to acquire the ‘right’ kind of traffic from Google Ads.

Typically, search traffic (both paid and organic) and metasearch traffic contribute the majority of hotels’ website bookings. All of Bookassist’s top performing clients appear on at least one metasearch channel and have campaigns on Google Ads targeting searches for their brand name. Typically, users on metasearch or those searching for hotel brand names are reaching the final stages of their booking journey.

Metasearch campaigns drive traffic to your website and communicate the value of booking direct when your own website has a more favourable price, even before a user may have visited your website. In the example in Figure 2, a user can see that there is a clear benefit to booking direct in comparison to other websites displaying rates for the hotel. Our clients with metasearch campaigns have a whopping 24% uplift in BEC versus those without.

Figure 2 - google metasearch example
Figure 2 - Ensuring Metasearch listings give good pricing, engenders confidence with the “official” label, and pushes direct advantages.

7. They focus on return users with remarketing

Attracting new users to your website is vitally important for feeding your funnel. But there are a multitude of reasons why hotel website users don’t necessarily book upon their first visit. Website engagement and conversion tends to be higher from returning users, so non-converting new users should be encouraged to be return users.

Hoteliers can employ numerous tactics to ensure they remain visible to non-converting users after they have visited their website. One of the most widely used tactics is remarketing. While many will associate remarketing with seeing banner ads related to websites they have previously visited, remarketing can actually be used across Google’s suite of advertising channels - search, display, YouTube and Gmail. You can adjust their targeting and messaging to encourage users to re-engage. Retargeting existing users with an enticing, tangible reason to book direct can give them the nudge they need to return to the hotel’s website and complete their booking.

While remarketing allows you to retarget any website user, it is more effective when users are segmented into buckets. These are called “audiences” within Google’s tools. An audience could be specifically created for users who have interacted with your restaurant while a separate audience can be created for users who have checked for availability or viewed your website’s room pages. A more granular approach could include segmenting your users who have intent to book a room into different audiences - this could be based on interest in product type - for example family rooms, their location, or by the dates they have requested availability for.

Google is not the only platform that allows you to retarget users. Audiences based on visits to your hotel website can be created on Facebook and used for campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is often overlooked for this purpose and while it does not have the same reach as remarketing campaigns on Google’s Display Network, we often see better website engagement (bounce rate and average number of pages viewed per session) from traffic generated from Facebook Ads compared to remarketing ads on Google’s Display Network.

8. They use custom Intent audiences

What about people who are interested in your hotel but have yet to visit your website? Google Ads’ custom intent audiences provide an opportunity to directly target these people. Such audiences are created by entering search terms and URLs. For example, you could create a custom intent audience by entering keywords related to the hotel’s brand name and URLs from the hotel’s listings on popular OTA and travel websites.

Bottom Line

Every hotel has its own personal level of potential booking engine conversion. Hoteliers should not be hung up on average rates but rather on what’s possible for them, and they should seek to optimise that. But real understanding is needed in order to determine your optimum level. There are factors outside your control that can limit your potential but if hoteliers take ownership of the factors within their control, the ceiling on booking engine conversion is pushed much higher.

Isn’t it time to take a look?

Jason Kelly is Senior Digital Marketing Specialist, Dr Des O’Mahony is CEO & Founder and Claire Sawier is Head of Marketing at Bookassist, (, the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide.

Get ready for major changes to payments processing - PSD2 is on its way

By Claire Sawier | On Mon, August 12, 2019

By Claire Sawier and Don Cronin

Just a little over a year since GDPR came into force hoteliers are facing yet more EU legislation with the adoption of the second European Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Here’s what all the fuss is about.

What is PSD2?

If you haven’t heard of PSD2 then you are not alone as awareness across the industry is only beginning to pick up. PSD2 is a follow-up to the initial European Payment Services Directive (PSD1) which was adopted in 2007 to make cross-border payments easier, more efficient, and more secure within EU Member states. PSD2 is being introduced in order to widen the scope of the initial directive. PSD2 is due to come into force on September 14th, 2019 although it’s increasing likely that implementation may be delayed as many Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and merchants continue to struggle to be ready to meet the deadline.

Why is PSD2 being introduced?

There are a number of important benefits to PSD2. It will enhance the initial successes of PSD1 in the prevention of payment fraud and will strengthen data security protection, which is really important in today’s digital payment environment. PSD2 will benefit consumers by making cheaper and more innovative electronic payment options available. New players have emerged in the area of internet payments which enable consumers to pay instantly without the need for a credit card. Examples include Apple Pay, Google Pay and Paypal. PSD2 will regulate these new payment options and make it easier and safer for consumers to access them. This is great news for around 60% of the EU population who do not have a credit card (figures according to the European Commission, Payment Services Directive FAQ).

Another important and significant element of PSD2 is Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) which aims to reduce credit card fraud and make payments more secure for consumers by forcing ‘two factor’ customer authentication to payment processes, in other words, forcing payment processing to challenge users for more identification information before allowing any card charge. The introduction of SCA is a significant legal requirement.

How will Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) be applied?

Strong Customer Authentication mandates that for online payments, both originating and terminating within the EU, at least two of the following three factors must be provided by you online in order to validate the card and allow payments to proceed:

  1. Knowledge – something only you know (password, PIN or memorised swiping path)
  2. Possession – something only you have (mobile phone or QR code evidenced device)
  3. Inherence – something you are (fingerprint, voice, face recognition or retina scan)

From September 14th, hotel bookers online will have to provide two factor authentication instead of single factor (just the card CVV) as is mostly the case today. Some people are already familiar with two factor approaches, such as having a PIN sent to their phone as a secondary layer of authentication, but from mid September onwards it is likely to be used far more frequently to ensure enhanced security.

How will SCA impact online bookings?

The overriding fear is that these authentication requirements will frustrate users to the point that it will negatively affect conversion. More significantly, the immediate threat of potential disruption to businesses and customers is much more of a worry as non-compliant participants run the risk of having customer payments delayed, challenged or rejected entirely. On top of this the continued exposure to fraudulent transactions will continue to undermine business. In the worst case scenario where no action is taken by banks, then hotels should expect higher booking abandonment rates and an increase in authorisation declines.

Are all bookings subject to SCA?

Certain transactions will not be subject to SCA and will remain out of the scope of the legislation. Cardholder-present transactions are an obvious transaction type which will be out of scope. Paper-based transactions, mail-order, telephone-order (MOTO) transactions, and Merchant Initiated Transactions (MIT) will also be out of scope.

Other transactions, while not out of scope, can be effectively managed so that they are exempt from a SCA challenge. These include trusted beneficiary transactions, low monetary transactions, low risk transactions, and recurring payment transactions.

However the majority of online payments will require SCA, even including online bookings which require no upfront payment but use credit card guarantee only.

Will OTA bookings also need to meet SCA requirements?

OTA bookings are subject to the same rules as direct bookings. They too will need to implement two factor authentication. It is not yet known how OTAs will manage this. However it is likely that the preponderance of up-front payments is likely to increase. The exposure therefore is that hotels become further ensnared within the OTA web which is already creating daily difficulties for clients as it stands. If hotels utilise an OTA SCA processing solution then they run the risk of losing even more control of a key element of the booking process and may incur even higher costs. At this stage Bookassist would advise hotels to wait to see what the OTAs propose and be cautious and patient before taking the next step, as understanding the ‘small print’ could be crucial to avoiding future undesired consequences.

What do hotels need to do to prepare for PSD2?

The good news for hotels is that the responsibility for PSD2 lies primarily with payment gateways and the banking or financial sector. Hotels need to ensure that their payment partners are PSD2 ready in addition hotels should check with their own banks and/or payment gateway provider to ensure that they have taken the necessary actions to ensure that they are PSD2 ready and can receive funds without issues post September 14th.

Equally hotels should speak with their PMS supplier, booking engine provider, their online distribution partners and enquire how they plan to authenticate and facilitate payments post September 14th. Confirmed compliance will avoid the risk of a drop in conversion with guests dropping out of booking processes and buying rooms elsewhere.

Hotels will also need to review and update their terms and conditions to ensure that they take account of the new PSD2 legislation.

How is Bookassist preparing hotels for PSD2?

Bookassist has been working for many months with its payment partners to ensure that we and our clients are PSD2 compliant. This has involved an update to all our various payment gateways and integration software. Bookassist will continue to keep clients informed of any additional PSD2 updates including additional requirements, should this become relevant or updated implementation timelines which may be announced.

Claire Sawier is Head of Marketing and Don Cronin is Head of Product at Bookassist (, the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide.

Why hotels should claim their Google My Business Short Name URL

By Rumenigo Fernandes | On Mon, July 15, 2019

By Rumenigo Fernandes

google my business short name url banner

Google has introduced a new Google My Business (GMB) feature that allows hotels to create a short URL for their Google My Business listing.

This new feature makes it easier for hotels to share their GMB profile and collect guest reviews.

Example of current URL:,-6.3796203,15z/

New Short URL:

google my business preview on google maps

Why claim your Short URL?

Your Google My Business profile is a key brand asset and although not mandatory, we recommend you protect your brand assets and therefore claim the short URL you want before another brand does. No two brands can have the same short URL so we recommend you protect your brand by claiming your free short URL now.

Once created Google will also generate a review link e.g.

You can share your short URL to request reviews, share hotel directions etc. Additionally, you can print your short URL and circulate on promotional material as you would for say TripAdvisor review requests.

When a user searches for your brand the Short Name URL will be shown on the Google Knowledge Graph. Google’s idea with this is to allow users to easily share your hotel profile with friends and on social media channels.

google my business share link preview

How to create a Short Name URL for your hotel

Login to your hotel’s Google My Business Profile
Click Info and you will see the feature @ Add short name.
Click on the pencil icon to create your Short Name URL.

google my business admin menu preview

Note: Your Short Name URL should be consistent with your other social media vanity URLs to maintain brand consistency and recognition. Google will automatically suggest a Short Name URL but it is not mandatory to use this. If you like it you can use it, and if not you can create your own.

google my business profile short name preview

Important points to keep in mind when creating your Short Name URL

1. Maintain Brand Consistency

Brand consistency is key. You need to review all of your social brand urls to ensure consistency across all platforms.

social media platforms including facebook, instagram, twitter, and pinterest

The GMB short urls are in line with the Hotel’s facebook URL:

2. Keep it Short

Google lets you use up 32 characters but that does not mean you have to use them all. Keep it short unless required.

3. Use Caps and/or Hyphens for clarity

Eg. MyHotelName vs myhotelname
Or NameDublin vs namedublin

Adding “-” can help to clarify even more

Eg. My-Brand-Name vs MyBrandName
Or Name-Dublin vs NameDublin

Note: you cannot use spaces or special characters to create short URLs.

google maps location pins banner

4. Use of Localisation terms

Localisation terms can be used to distinguish individual hotels within a hotel group for example. All hotels use the common Brand name and additional location term to differentiate each hotel by location.

My-Brand-Name-Dublin vs My-Brand-Name-Galway

Hotels that have a similar name to another hotel in a different location may also need to make use of the localisation term if the other hotel has already claimed the short URL “my-brand-name”

In this case the 2nd hotel can’t claim “my-brand-name” but can make use of the localisation term as a work around.


5. Think Long term

Google allows you to change your Short Name URL up to 3 times a year. While this is great to know it’s best to get it right first time. So take your time to create a Short Name URL that can be used long term and is consistent with your other social media vanity URLs.

Learn more with Google My Business Help

Google my Business provide a guide to help you with every aspect of the set up and includes information on how to change or delete your Short URL to how to report a user that has illegally claimed and is using your brand Short Name URL.

Stay Tuned

Google Short Name URL is a new feature within Google My Business profile and we expect more changes in the future. To keep up to date with industry trends and changes don’t forget to visit our Bookassist Blog.

5 New Features Coming to Google My Business

By Samantha Salazar | On Thu, June 27, 2019

google my business logo

Last week, Google announced a handful of new changes coming to Google My Business.

Hoteliers can now implement these new features on their Google My Business profile.

1. Better branding through short names and URLs. Hotels can now claim a short name and URL for their business. This will allow you to easily refer guests to your profile. This will also make it easier to search for your property in Maps.

2. Welcome offers to reward loyal followers. Promote unique special offers directly through your Google My Business profile.

welcome offers for google my business

3. Cover photos, more prominent logos, and photo displays to showcase the best of what your property has to offer. In addition to including a profile cover photo, hotels that have completed their core information (phone number, hours, etc.) will now be able to have their logo displayed at the top right-hand side of their profile. We will also be seeing photos uploaded by hotels displayed more prominently on their profiles through a new dynamic module, with photo captions to give life to your imagery.

google my business adds short names cover photo

4. Take your Google My Business offline with custom posters, social posts, and more from reviews and highlights on your profile. All for free with Google’s new Marketing Kit.

5. The most significant update announced is that Google will be highlighting the top five percent of businesses in a particular category with the “Local Favorite” designation. To help people easily find and engage with these businesses, Google is also creating digital and physical badges of honour. We can expect more details on these recognition categories later this summer.

Hoteliers can now implement these features by updating their settings, by visiting Google My Business or learn more by connecting with their digital marketing specialist @Bookassist.

Google My Business is just one essential aspect of optimising your Search Engine Results Page! Why not have a read through our previous article on Owning Your Hotel’s Online Real Estate?

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