Need accommodation? Check out Trade Me's accommodation booking website!
February 28, 2014 15:40 by Jody
An operator recently contacted me wanting to know how to increase bookings and when I had a look at their website, I couldn't even see how to make a booking, and I consider myself pretty tech-savvy!
When was the last time you looked at your own website through the eyes of your customer? It’s important to ensure your website is a clear representation of your business as you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Do a self-audit of your site
There are plenty of companies who will charge to do an audit of your website, but with a keen eye and some helpful tips you can make some simple changes that may increase traffic and potential bookings at no cost.
The following are some questions you should be asking yourself about your website:
Make it work on mobile devices
- What is the first thing you notice when you visit your website? Is this what you are trying to portray to your customers?
- Is it obvious where customers can make a booking and how? Ideally the booking page should be no more than 2 clicks away
- Do all the links work?
- Have you integrated Facebook & twitter so people can easily like your product and see what others have written about you?
As screens get smaller through the use of smartphones and tablets it’s important to view your website from these devices to see how your website reacts. A common issue is a website may work perfectly on a desktop computer, yet on a mobile device with touch capabilities the user experience is just plain horrible.
Here at Trade Me, 50% of our traffic now comes from mobile devices and this is something a business needs to consider as smartphone use continues to increase.
Keep track of your site analytics
If you want to get into the nitty gritty of your website you could sign up with Google Analytics to give you data on what visitors are doing on your site, which pages they spend the most time on and numbers of visitors. More importantly, though, is to track your bookings back to referral source to see which sources are most valuable.
Customise the bookings pages
Another way to enhance the booking experience for your customers is with a custom template. This matches the BookIt booking page with the look and feel of your website to give your customers a seamless booking experience. It adds an element of trust to your site as the customers feel like they haven’t even left your site. Check out Akaroa Dolphins
and Discover Waitomo
as examples of custom templates in action.
Some other tips:
- Don’t forget to add the BookIt facebook booking button to gain additional booking exposure
- Increase the value of each booking by using BookIt add-on’s. These can be anything at all and our most popular add-ons include packed lunches, additional tours, photo/video packs, transfers or even t-shirts.
- Don’t forget to check out the competition to see how your website compares to theirs. Is it obvious to a customer comparing both sites why yours is better and offers something different?
- It doesn’t have to cost the earth to build your site. Sites like Weebly offer free website building tools, or hosting with Go Daddy even the totally un-technical can be the master of their website domain.
What have you done recently to improve your site? Share your ideas with us.
October 8, 2013 12:43 by Jody
Login to your BookIt, go to SETUP, then EDIT BUSINESS. Click on IMAGE GALLERY:
* It's easy to load new images, just choose your file and then click CONTINUE and repeat, until you've loaded them all. NB Maximum size is 4MB.
* Here you can view your current photos. If you want to change the one you currenlty have set as the 'Key Image', simply find the image you want as a the main one then click on 'Set as Key Image' and click CONTINUE.
* You can also easily change the order of your photos, simply number them 1, 2, 3 etc and like magic they'll order themselves - so long as you click CONTINUE.
We recommend at least 8-10 photos. If you are an accommodation operator, your listing will be pulling through to Travelbug and it's essential that you have a minimum of 4 photos, as these 4 photos are the first thing a potential guest will see.
Example of how to do it right:
Example of how not to do it:
October 8, 2013 12:43 by Jody
Login to your BookIt, go to SETUP, then EDIT BUSINESS. Click on IMAGE GALLERY:
It's easy to load new images, just choose your file and then click CONTINUE and repeat, until you've loaded them all. NB Maximum size is 4MB.
Here you can view your current photos. If you want to change the one you currenlty have set as the 'Key Image', simply find the image you want as a the main one then click on 'Set as Key Image' and click CONTINUE.
You can also easily change the order of your photos, simply number them 1, 2, 3 etc and like magic they'll order themselves - so long as you click CONTINUE.
September 19, 2013 08:47 by Jody
Login to your BookIt, go to SETUP, then EDIT BUSINESS. Scroll toward the bottom of the page and you'll see:
Click on Configure email templates:
The information you type into the Email text box will print on every confirmation for a guest/customer who books through a site using BookIt.
FOR ACCOMMODATION OPERATORS ONLY:
All guests who book through Travelbug receive a Pre-travel email from us, 72 hours prior to their arrival.
Directly underneath the box for email confirmations, there's another box where you can choose to enter a message that will print on these arrival emails:
If you have any questions, please contact us email@example.com
September 10, 2013 16:16 by Jody
It's simple and FREE to set up a BookIt BOOK NOW button in your own website.
Login to your BookIt account and on the dashboard you will see this:
Click on Booking buttons and it will bring up the following screens, with 3 options:
The third option is suitable if you already have a BOOK NOW button, but no booking engine. All you need to do now is copy the relevant HTML code and paste it into your website and you'll be able to take bookings directly.
There is a small commission payable on bookings made through the BookIt link in your own website - just 4.5%, and this includes the credit card processing fee.
NO SET UP FEE AND NO CONTRACTS! If you have any questions, please do email us firstname.lastname@example.org
September 3, 2013 10:05 by Jody
We recommend you have at least one cancellation policy against each room type/product, as without them a guest can cancel at anytime without penalty.
To check what you have loaded, go to Setup / Edit Business / Cancellation Policies; you’ll be able to see all cancellation policies at a glance…
If you want to add new policies, click on Add cancellation policy…
You can choose from:
· Loss of fixed amount – you specify the amount
· Loss of % of booking – you specify the percentage
· Loss of x nights – you specify how many nights
You will notice there's also the option to add a policy for a specifc date range only (eg Christmas & New Year).
Important to Note:
1. If you have duplicate cancellation policies, like in this example…
And the guest cancels, you would need to honour the lesser of the penalties. So in this example, even though it’s a non-flexible room and therefore non-refundable, you would need to honour the 24 hour cancellation policy.
2. Simply noting your cancellation policy in your property description, isn't enough. When a guest books, they tick a box to confirm they agree to the cancellation policy and this refers to your set up as above, and will override anything you may have written in your property description.
August 27, 2013 14:35 by Jody
Rate Seasons – what’s their function?
Have you ever logged into your BookIt account and wondered why your inventory looks like this?
If so, this is because you don’t have Rate Seasons loaded for any/some dates.
Rate Seasons are essential if you don’t use a Channel Manager to manage your inventory. If you don’t have Rate Seasons set up, then you won’t be bookable.
· If you have one rate for each room type throughout the year, or your rates fluctuate daily then the easiest option is to set up a Rate Season that never ends…
· If you have specific seasons, then you can set up multiple Rate Seasons
Remember: BookIt inventory can be loaded, and bookable, for 365 days so it’s best to set your multiple rate seasons up for a long way in advance to ensure you’re continuously bookable. It's currently possible to update your rate seasons right up until December 2015!
August 20, 2013 13:21 by Jody
Login to your BookIt account and click on Billing...
Billing and Accounts
· You can see which account your payments will be made to – very important to keep us updated if the bank account changes for any reason.
· If you receive a payment but don’t know what it’s for, you can look it up here:
Bank Account Details
· Here you can see the total amount paid to your account in the past, plus the amount that is waiting to be paid:
Already paid – Amount that has been paid to this account
· Click on View amounts and you’ll get a breakdown of payment dates and amounts
· Click on any BKT reference and you’ll get a summary of each booking paid in that transaction:
· Click on 'View', after Remittance email and you’ll be able to view the remittance advice that was emailed to you. If you need another copy of the email, simply click on Resend Email:
If your bank details need to be updated, please email or fax a copy of your bank deposit slip, or top part of your bank statement, through to us - email@example.com
August 13, 2013 08:14 by Jody
It is important to keep the information in your User Login's up-to-date to ensure emails are being sent to the correct person.
· The minimum user logins you need is one – Master. This is perfect for small businesses where all emails, whether a new reservation, remittance advice, or a newsletter, will be sent to one email address
· You can set up multiple email addresses to receive confirmation emails, cancellations & amendments
· It’s simple to amend change your password
· You can even check the Login History of each user (an IP address next to the time means a person physically logged in; no IP address means updates from your Channel Manager)
If you get stuck, or have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we're here to help you!
This document applies only to operators who have a custom designed skin or template for their BookIt hosted pages. If you are interested in having a custom skin built please contact us for more details.
If your custom template includes a copy of your Google Analytics tags from your main operator site you will currently be seeing a disconnect of traffic where a customer leaves your site and lands on a BookIt hosted page. This is due to the fact that although the Analytics tracking tags are the same on both sites the URL or website address is different. Due to this difference Google tracks visitors as separate rather than as one single session where applicable.
In Google Analytics reporting you might expect to see navigation paths something like the below in a single session:
- Your homepage
- Your product listing or search results page
- BookIt hosted property details page
- BookIt hosted payment page
- BookIt hosted confirmation page
You will, however, currently see 2 separate sessions one including steps 1 + 2 and the other for steps 3 – 5.
Google provides a way of ensuring that even though the website address changes between the operator site and BookIt a single visitor session can be maintained. This functionality is described by Google as Implementing Cross Domain Tracking using Google Analytics and can be found here.
Within the Google documentation the section related to the most typical operator website integration with BookIt is the first tracking scenario “Tracking Across Multiple Domains and Sub-domains”.
Within this scenario the operator site takes the place of the site referred to as www.example-petstore.com while BookIt is equivalent to the www.my-example-blogsite.com site.
It is important to pay particular attention to the changes needed to:
- the GA tracking code itself
- links that provide navigation between the your site and BookIt hosted pages
When working with GA in general the Chrome add-on’s GA Debug and Tag Assistant are both useful for ensuring the GA tracking data produced is correct.
When using the GA Debug add-on and checking that Cross Domain tracking is working correctly the fields to check are highlighted below. The first screen shot is showing output from the operator website with output from the BookIt hosted pages below. The evidence that Cross Domain tracking is working correctly is that the Visitor ID value has remained the same across both of the websites. This value is used by Google to track activity within a single visitor session.
Gotchas and Tips
- The bulk of the changes to make cross domain tracking possible relate to adding onclick events to links or buttons on the operator website that send traffic to BookIt hosted pages. If this event is not added the tracking will not work as expected
- BookIt does not currently allow for the inclusion of custom Google Analytics code in any booking tools other than custom templates or skins. This includes calendar iframes and search widgets.
- It can sometimes be useful to add the website address or hostname to the data tracked in your Google Analytics profile. There are many examples of how to do this online, however we suggest making any changes to profile filters in a TEST Google Analytics profile first to ensure they work as expected