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February 2008

Online Reservations

Online reservations continue to increase in importance as more and more consumers demand real-time, instant reservations. This page will keep you up to date on industry trends and online reservation news; if you'd like us to address a particular topic, don’t hesitate to contact us.
 

Tips of the Month

Innkeeper Comments
Online Reservation Trends

Tips of the Month

  • Make sure that all your room descriptions have photos attached to them. Photos are much more enticing to a potential guest than reading lots of copy. Log in to your Home Base and click Room Descriptions. Make sure your room descriptions are well-written and inviting. We know that people usually don't read, so if they do, make it worth their while! Allow them to picture themselves relaxing in your rooms. Need help writing your description? Contact your membership consultant at Support@BedandBreakfast.com or 800-462-2632.

Bad room description: Premium queen with private varandahs and jet tubs

Good room description: Our decadent manor suite promises a particularly unforgettable B&B experience. A beautifully appointed 450-square-foot suite with a cozy sitting area and fireplace is just the start. Add an oversized whirlpool bath for two with heated jets and TV, spa amenities, heated towel racks, and a two-person shower equipped with 11 shower heads, and you begin to see the picture! A king-size featherbed, luxurious microfiber robes, intimate lighting options, widescreen LCD TV / DVD and more may help you complete it. Experiencing is believing! Welcome!

  • Depending on where you live, travelers are looking to escape the snow, or find it for some skiing! Either way, consumers are looking for accommodations for getaways. Do you have inventory loaded so they can book with you? Please add rooms to the system to cover the next few months.

  • Do you have a room that never sells? A last-minute cancellation? Load  it into the online reservations program, and see what happens! Log in, and click the Online Reservations Manager button to load your rooms.

  • Concerned about the commission? There are many reasons why 30% is not always 30%:

  • BedandBreakfast.com pays credit card fees of 2%-4% depending on the merchant, thus reducing the commission rate to 26%-28%.

  • Extended stays are commission-free.

  • When someone books, gets to your property and decides to upgrade their room, the upgrade is commission-free.

  • The commission is a one-time cost of acquisition. A traveler may find you via online reservations, but on repeat visits, they most likely will book directly with you.

  • Many people will see your property on Expedia, and then call you to book directly. Feedback Research says that happens 73% of the time, while Forrester Research says that happens 40% of the time.

  • With only 4% of the traveling public having stayed at a B&B, the majority of people look to general travel sites like Expedia when they are looking for a place to stay. Harnessing the major marketing power of Expedia will bring you first-time B&B guests, both directly as well as via Expedia and our other partner sites.

If you have questions or would like a free online reservations consultation, contact Online Reservations Support at 800-GO-B-AND-B (800-462-2632), extension 4; 512-322-2700, extension 4 or Reservations@BedandBreakfast.com.

Innkeeper comments
"
My vacancy sign is collecting dust in the closet this season thanks to the online reservation program!”
- Karen Morella, Serendipity Bed & Breakfast, Ocean City, NJ

“The best thing I have done for my business is to use the online reservations service. I know that the commission may appear to be high, but I have more than doubled my bookings. People now can call us to make a reservation or go to BedandBreakfast.com to make a secure reservation. I advise all B&B owners to use this service; it makes common sense. I thank BedandBreakfast.com for helping improve my business.”
- Gary Dotterman, Casa do Zequita B&B, Boston, MA

If you'd like to start getting more exposure via Expedia and hotels.com, sign up today for BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations! Getting set up is quick and easy, and you'll receive a one-on-one training session to learn the program.



Are you a part of the program but are not getting the exposure you had hoped for? Make sure you have availability loaded into the system.

Adding more rates and room availability is easy! Just take five minutes to log in and enter your rates and inventory into the Online Reservations Manager by following these simple steps:

  1. Log into your Home Base, then click the green Online Reservations Manager button.

  2. Scroll over the Rates/Availability tab and from the dropdown menu, click the room type you want to add to.

  3. Click on the Add/Edit Range button; always click Set New, even if you're entering the same rate you previously had. Make sure that when you're entering your rate, you click on the blue calculator button to enter it. This will calculate your Net Rate for you.

  4. Availability: Always click Set New here as well, even if you're entering the same number as before. Please enter the number of rooms of this type that are available. Set any min/max stays you may have, and choose a date range for the change. If you only want to enter these rates for the weekdays, make sure to uncheck the weekends, and vice versa.

  5. Last, click on the Save Changes button; then remember to blackout any dates that are currently booked to avoid any potential double bookings.


It's that easy! If you have any questions or need assistance loading more inventory, please let us know. We are happy to help you load more room inventory right over the phone. Call us Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST at 800-462-2632 extension 4.


Trends in Online Reservations

BedandBreakfast.com partners are among top 20 most visited travel sites: “According to Hitwise's latest travel report, 37.34% of all visits to the online 'Travel' industry went to the top 10 websites for the month of December 2007. 46.73% went to the top 20 websites and 68.04% went to the top 100 websites.” Among the top 20 websites are Expedia at No. 5 and Kayak at No. 19.

Americans now buy more travel online than offline: “The year 2007 was the first in which more travel was purchased online than off-line in the U.S., according to the PhoCusWright Consumer Travel Trends Survey. The report predicted that ‘the gap between online and off-line will continue to widen as more and more travelers shift behavior to online shopping and buying’ The study said that 51% of U.S. travel was booked online in 2007, and it projected that percentage to increase to 56% in 2008 and 60% in 2009.”

Expedia launches new hotel certification program: “The new certification program makes it easy for independent properties and small- to medium-sized hotel chains to achieve maximum efficiency in managing their rates and inventory with Expedia. By awarding certification, Expedia is able to assure its partners that the channel management and rate allocation tools they use are compatible with Expedia’s mix of inventory and pricing models.” Inns that participate in the BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations program are bookable on Expedia.

Kayak buys SideStep: Kayak.com announced the completion of a $196 million financing round. The travel search engine will use this investment to complete a merger with SideStep, Inc. and to pursue a more aggressive worldwide expansion. The combined company will be the fifth-largest online travel operator. A release stated that consumers will conduct more than 33 million searches on Kayak.com and its affiliates in January 2008, up from 16 million in January 2007.

“Kayak.com intends to maintain both the SideStep.com and Kayak.com brands and will develop and promote each site independently, with key SideStep.com personnel joining Kayak.com’s team. Kayak.com currently has websites in the UK, France, Germany and Spain, and will soon launch in Italy. SideStep.com’s website in Ireland and its European affiliates will add to Kayak.com’s global business. Kayak.com shared that it will also announce several anchor affiliate deals in Europe in the coming months and is currently evaluating opportunities throughout Europe and Asia.” Inns that participate in the BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations program are bookable on SideStep.com and Kayak.
 

hotels.com targets iPhone users: “hotels.com has introduced a customized Web application for the iPhone and iPod touch that makes it easy to research and book hotels while on the go. The hotels.com Web application has been optimized for viewing on a 3.5-inch screen and enables users to:

  • View photos, descriptions and amenities for more than 75,000
    properties worldwide

  • Check hotel availability

  • Book accommodations

  • View existing hotel reservations

  • Contact hotels.com customer care for assistance

The new hotels.com iPhone Web application is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to use the latest technologies to connect with users and make it convenient for them to search and book accommodations. Inns that participate in the BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations program are bookable on hotels.com.

hotels.com expands across Europe: hotels.com has started 2008 with the launch of five new European local language sites in Greece, Turkey, Iceland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The company now operates 25 sites across Europe, including sites in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Benelux. The launch of the new sites continues hotels.com’s local language expansion plans which also saw Poland and Russia go live in 2007.” Inns that participate in the BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations program are bookable on hotels.com.


Questions? Please send them to Reservations@BedandBreakfast.com.
 

 

This Month's Sponsor

Gift Card Reseller Program

Could you use some extra cash? Sign up for the gift card reseller program, and make 10% on each sale! There is no cost to get started; click here for details. If you'd like to receive a free reseller kit, contact us at 800-462-2632 or Support@BedandBreakfast.com.


            

“It's easy to sell your gift cards...the fact the recipients can use them at over 4,000 different properties gives them wonderful options!” David & Julie Becker, Byrn-Roberts Inn, Murfreesboro, TN

Referral Program

What’s better than three month’s free membership? How about six months? Or a whole year? Refer fellow innkeepers to BedandBreakfast.com, and if they join at the Silver level or above, your membership will be extended by three months for each B&B that signs up. If four B&Bs sign up, your membership is free for a year!  For details, log in to your Home Base and click Referral Program under Free Member Benefits, or call 800-GO-B-AND-B (800-462-2632).
 

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"I am happy to report that we have had several enquiries from your site, and one guest who is staying for five nights, so our membership cost has been covered. Thanks for your help!" Caitlin Adair, Sanctuary, Putney, VT

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