Online travel agents are online platforms which help customers to get travel services, such as hotel rooms, flights and other forms of transportation. Essentially, an OTA functions as the link between vendors and travelers, selling travel products on behalf of hotels, airlines, and other businesses, and receiving a commission for doing so.
For hotels, OTAs serve an important role in the distribution channel, because they can extend your reach and allow you to attract customers who are unaware of your hotel. Many of the top platforms also include an extranet, or management platform, such as the admin Booking extranet, which is connected to the Booking.com OTA.
Booking.com is an OTA, which offers both a website and a mobile app for customers seeking travel services, including hotels. The Booking.com platform is owned by Booking Holdings Inc, which also owns a number of other popular online travel websites, including Priceline.com, Kayak.com and Agoda.
The Booking.com platform allows customers to book hotels, along with flights, car rentals, and package deals. The website is now available in more than 40 different languages.
In addition to the main Booking.com website and mobile app, which allow customers to search for and book travel services, a management platform is also available for hotels and similar businesses. This admin Booking extranet allows hotel owners and other senior business leaders to manage their listing on the service.
Understanding the Admin Booking Extranet
The admin Booking.com extranet is a hotel management platform, connected to the wider Booking.com platform, which allows business leaders to control their listings on the website and mobile app.
This management platform provides the facility to manage hotel reservations and optimize all of the content that is displayed to users who visit your hotel’s page on Booking.com. This platform includes your hotel description, a list of hotel services, photographs of your property, and any active promotions.
The admin Booking extranet also allows you to control room rates and room availability details, so that customers have up-to-date information and can book a hotel room through the platform. Moreover, hotel leaders can utilize the extranet to access valuable statistics, including conversion rates and other performance data.
Admin Booking Extranet Strategies to Optimize Booking.com Listings
Some of the most effective strategies that business leaders and those involved with hotel marketing can use to optimize a Booking.com listing and maximize outcomes.
- Effective Hotel Description
One of the most significant tools for attracting bookings through use of the admin Booking extranet is your hotel description and you need to make sure your description is accurate and effective. More than describing what your hotel has to offer, it should entice customers to want to spend time there.
Ideally, you should use your hotel description to convey your brand identity. Beyond this, SEO techniques are very important ;Your description should also capitalize on the use of keywords. This will then help your hotel to rank more highly on search engine results pages, which is important for overall visibility.
- Availability Calendar With a Channel Manager
In order to avoid multiple bookings for the same room at the same time, it is vital that you keep your availability up-to-date. With the admin Booking extranet, the main way to achieve this is to continually manage your Availability Calendar. This will then ensure all Booking.com users are seeing the latest information when they make their booking.
However, ideally, you are going to want to synchronize this with information from other distribution channels too. The best way to do this is to make use of a channel manager. When your hotel is connected to a channel manager and it, in turn, is connected to the Booking.com extranet, all information will update automatically as bookings are made.
- Use High-Resolution Photographs and Videos
You can control the perception of your hotel and appeal to potential customers through the addition of photographs and video content. As this is one of the ways people will form a first impression, it is essential that this content is professional and high resolution.
Capture images of the most significant parts of your property, including the exterior, the lobby, any pools, restaurants and leisure facilities, and the different types of rooms. Video content can also capture the mood and atmosphere of your hotel. Upload photos and videos via the admin Booking extranet, and ensure that you keep your images and video content up-to-date and reflective of the current state of your hotel.
- Manage Reviews
A large percentage of hotel guests will use the internet to search for guest feedback prior to making a booking, and the Booking.com platform provides these users with direct access to reviews from Booking.com users. For this reason, you need to use reputation management software, or other similar hotel technology to manage reviews.
If a customer leaves a positive review, it is a good idea to acknowledge this, respond politely, and thank them. If a customer leaves a negative review, you need to avoid becoming defensive or confrontational. Instead, acknowledge any valid complaints they have, thank them for their feedback, and explain steps you will take to fix the problem.
Factors that Increase Bookings Through the Admin Booking Extranet
There are a number of tips that can help you to utilize the admin Booking.com extranet to great effect and increase the number of bookings you are able to attract.
- Make Use of Country Rates
Many hotel marketing strategies are aimed at specific regions, and there can be many reasons why hotels may wish to appeal to customers in a particular country. The admin Booking extranet caters for this need by providing the option to enable country rates, aimed at specific parts of the world.
Allows you to provide customers booking from a particular country with a discounted rate. Hotels can utilize this strategically, especially in the event that there is an event nearby that is likely to attract visitors from a particular region. Alternatively, country rates can be used to provide discounts to local customers.
- Introduce Mobile Rates
Mobile rates are another option available from within the admin Booking extranet, providing an automatic discount for users on either the mobile app, or viewing the website on a mobile browser. Enabling this option also provides a boost on search results pages, and adds a badge next to your property’s name, boosting visibility.
Attracting mobile users is increasingly important for hotels of all kinds, because a greater percentage of customers than ever are now completing the entire booking journey on their mobile devices. Enabling mobile rates is a great way to incentivise mobile users to book with your hotel instead of a competitor.
- Use the Focus Finder Tool
Focus Finder is a tool within the admin Booking.com extranet, which can be accessed via the Opportunity Centre. In general, the Opportunity Centre helps properties to understand their current performance and to identify areas where improvements can be made, and the Focus Finder tool takes this to the next level.
Through the use of the Focus Finder option, hotels can see a complete breakdown of the entire customer booking journey, and these different stages are organised in order of where customers are most likely to drop off. Furthermore, for each stage, the Focus Finder tool then provides tips that may help hotels to decrease drop off rates.
- Offer Discounts & Freebies
The admin Booking extranet provides hotels with options to provide special offers to customers, and this can be done in a number of ways, including early bird discounts, last-minute deals, or discounts for loyal customers. Regardless, the Booking.com platform often rewards discounts via greater visibility on search results pages.
These special offers do not always need to provide financial discounts to your guests. A good alternative is to include extra services for free, which could include offering free breakfasts, free access to a hotel gym, free airport transfers, or late check outs so that customers can stay in their room for longer.
- Utilise the Visibility Booster
One of the tools provided through the admin Booking extranet that can provide instant results is the use of the built-in Visibility Booster tool. When utilized, this will increase your hotel’s rankings on search results and generally make your hotel more visible across the website and mobile app.
The way this works, however, is that you agree to pay Booking.com a higher commission fee for bookings, in exchange for this increased visibility. The tool can be used either in the short-term, or as a long-term option, and it can be especially good for increasing bookings during times where you are anticipating lower demand.
Why Are Online Travel Agents Important?
Online travel agents are increasingly important for hotels, because they serve as both a marketing and a distribution channel. A growing number of potential guests now turn to OTAs to search for their hotels, because they function as a kind of ‘one stop shop’, allowing them to easily search for hotels, read reviews, and compare prices.
Expedia.com is a travel booking service and the main OTA operated by the Expedia Group, which also owns a number of subsidiaries. It is based in Bellevue, Washington, in the United States and was founded in 2001. It is one of the highest grossing travel companies in the world and has localised sites in 40 countries. Customers can book hotels, holiday homes, B&Bs, flights, rental cars, activities and other travel services. In terms of marketing, it places an emphasis on cheap and affordable accommodation.
Hotels.com is a service which allows users to book hotels, B&B accommodation and condos online. It is based in Dallas, Texas, in the United States and is owned by the Expedia Group. The platform operates on an international scale and a huge part of its business model is based on repeat business. Indeed, a major component of the company’s offering is the ‘Hotels.com Rewards’ scheme, where users can claim a price reduction after every 10 overnight stays that are booked through the service. Hotels.com is part of The Expedia Group.
Agoda.com is a global accommodation booking service, which is based in Singapore. Like several other OTAs on this list, it forms part of Booking Holdings; the parent company behind Booking.com. The Agoda network provides users with a choice of over one million hotels or holiday homes, with a strong focus on the Asian market, although it is increasingly targeting Europe and the Americas too. In terms of its approach to marketing, the company places a strong emphasis on providing customers with cheap or discount accommodation.
Priceline.com is owned by Booking Holdings, the same company that operates Booking.com. However, the Priceline.com company has its headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, in the United States. Click here to list your hotel to Booking.com. The main difference between Priceline.com and Booking.com is that Priceline.com focuses even more heavily on the discount travel market. To achieve this, it offers a ‘Name Your Own Price’ model, where customers are able to set their ideal price, location and hotel star level, and the service will then find a suitable option.
Airbnb is an online hospitality marketplace, which allows members to offer lodgings or to book overnight stays. Its offerings primarily consist of home stays, although the brand has branched out and now lists hotels too. However, Airbnb tends to be quite strict about the hotels it will allow to be listed on its platform, as they must meet certain criteria. Typically, a hotel will need to prove that it has unique design characteristics, that its rooms have a clear local influence, and that guests have access to shared common spaces.
The TripAdvisor.com platform is an online travel and restaurant service, which is primarily focused on reviews and other user-generated content. However, it also has a built-in hotel booking service. The company itself has its headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts, in the United States, and was founded in 2000. TripAdvisor works with third-party connectivity partners, displaying live hotel prices and availability listings. The website also has an advertising partnership with Expedia and its Priceline.com subsidiary.
Booking.com is one of the most important distribution channels for many hotels, but to get the most out of it, you need to make effective use of the admin Booking.com extranet. Through this management platform, you can control availability and room rates, manage discounts, participate in special partner programmes, and much more.
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