Online Reservations: Top 12 Reasons and Misperceptions
What's in it for you
Top 12 Reasons to Take Online Reservations
1. Incredible exposure on the industry’s leading travel websites:
Over 110 million monthly unique site visitors on BedandBreakfast.com,
Expedia.com, hotels.com, Kayak.com and SideStep.com.
2. Real-time reservations:
- Receive instant, real-time, confirmed reservations while you sleep.
- No need to reply with a confirmation…these reservations are already
- If you can check your email, you can take online reservations with
3. Travelers want to book online:
PhoCusWright, Inc. reports
- Online channels are projected to generate 60% of all U.S. travel
gross bookings by 2008, moving into a dominant position relative to
- Offline leisure travel bookings will continue to shrink
dramatically over the next three years.
- 64% of all leisure bookings will be made online by 2008, versus
45% in 2005. In 2005, total travel bookings reached $224.4 billion,
the second consecutive year of more than 7% annual growth.
- Americans increasingly book travel online: In 2005, for the
first time, more trips were booked online than by any other
method, according to data released at TravelCom 2006 by the
Travel Industry Association of America and D.K. Shifflet &
- “24% of travelers who booked accommodation reservations did
so online in 2005, up 9% from the year before. Hotel chain
websites were used most often to make internet reservations,
followed by other online booking services (such as online travel
agencies). The largest share of travelers made reservations
directly with the property, but this also declined compared to
the prior year.”
- Trips booked online involve significantly higher spending on
average. Travelers spend $754 (excluding the cost of
transportation) online, $406 offline, and $219 with no advance
4. It’s risk-free:
- You pay nothing unless a reservation is booked at your
- Once a reservation is booked online, and
referral guests will book directly.
- Chance to upsell guests to a better room on arrival. (Upsell
revenue is commission-free.)
- Not all guests who find you online will book online --
many will contact you directly.
- If one reservation is booked online at 30%, and a second
is booked offline as a result of a traveler finding you
through this program, your effective commission is cut in
half, to roughly 14% after the 2-3% credit card processing
fees are backed out.
- Forrester Research says 40% of customers who go to an
OTA buy directly from a supplier; Feedback Research says
that number is 73%.
“I recently got my first
booking through BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations.
It was for a room that never books, so I listed it to
see what would happen. The guests arrived, asked for a tour, and decided
to upgrade to one of my Jacuzzi suites. The
upgrade earned us another $230; the guests had a great
time and took many brochures for their friends. If I
didn't have the "book it" feature on
BedandBreakfast.com, they might
not have reserved with us. I think if you have a room
that isn't very popular, this is a great way to get it
filled; you can always up-sell guests when they arrive.”
– Carol Kerivan, Bear Mountain Lodge, Bethlehem, NH
5. Enter inventory when
it suits your needs:
- Display availability for one room.
- Display availability for all your rooms.
- Display last-minute
- Highlight shoulder and off
- Focus on Sunday through Thursday and
6. Fast and convenient payment:
BedandBreakfast.com deposits reservation income into your bank account within four
business days of the guest checking in.
- No invoices to fill out.
- No checks to deposit.
- No credit card processing fees.
- Best of all, no waiting for your money.
7. Customizable cancellation policy:
- Properties are still paid on canceled
- Charge the first night cost for
cancellations 2-30 days before check-in.
- Charge the full amount for cancellations
0-14 days before check-in.
- Set your policy based on these
8. Maintain contact with your guests:
- For reservations booked online
SideStep.com and Kayak.com, we provide
the guest’s name, billing address, phone
number and email address.
- For reservations booked through
Expedia and hotels.com, we provide the
guest’s name and phone.
- You can – and should – contact your
guests prior to arrival.
9. Better exposure on
- Participating properties with
availability are at the top of the
city page search results.
- More search features to
highlight bookable properties.
- Site redesign elements will
place even more emphasis on
properties that are bookable.
10. Keep up with your
competition. Some BedandBreakfast.com numbers:
- Over 6,000 members worldwide.
- Over 5,500 U.S. and Canadian members.
- Nearly 1,000 bookable B&Bs.
- Most hotels, motels and
other lodging providers are
taking online reservations. They
are your competition, too.
11. Grow your overall
- One member received five
confirmed reservations in a
- Another member received
76 confirmed reservations
over a three-month period.
- Another member
experienced a 300% increase
in online reservations in
July when her property went
live on Expedia and
With RezOvation GT property
management software, you can
manage all your property’s
room inventory in one
- Your website’s
- Inventory on
Kayak.com through the
A bird in the hand is
worth two in the bush!
When you invest in
spending in the hope of
getting guests; when you
add inventory to the
system, you get
comparable exposure but
pay only when you
actually get a
- The combined
average CPC on Yahoo
for the top four
advertisers in Napa,
Austin, Boston, Key
West, Nashville, and
$1.03 per click.
- If these
one of every 100
site visitors to a
guest, their cost of
acquisition is $103
- If the average
night stay is $150,
and the average stay
is two nights for
$103 cost of
guest acquisition is like
paying a 30%
- You control the
online inventory, so
you add only rooms
you’re unlikely to
- You’re not
losing 30%, you’re
Other ways the
- Many guests
guests and will
they return or
refer a friend.
- Many guests
in which case,
no commission is
afraid of double
so when you
a date, that
log in and
black out a
not when you
expect to be
- Lower page placement.
- Limited or no photos.
- Only get the guest’s name and check in/out dates.
- Higher cancellation rate.
- Difficult to change property information.
- Similar cost.
- Eventually GDS properties will be removed from Expedia and hotels.com.
6. I’m not computer savvy!
- Your BedandBreakfast.com Net Rate Account Manager will personally train you on the phone and will be available Monday-Friday, 8-5 CST to answer your questions.
- Nearly 1,000 B&Bs already use the program.
- The system consists of essentially four screens.
7. I already take online reservations through Webervations!
- No additional traffic/exposure generated.
- Not confirmed real-time reservations.
- Useful for capturing guests from your website, but not a new business generator.
8. I only pay 5%-10% for online bookings from another service.
- Typically what you pay for bookings from your own website.
- A valuable tool to capture business on your website, not a marketing tool providing access to millions of potential guests.
- Don’t forget the cost of driving business to your own website.
9. Most online reservations end up canceling!
- Contrary to popular belief, this is rarely the case.
- Since guests are paying in full for reservation, most reservations are not canceled.
- Although it’s too early for comprehensive figures, we’ve seen a cancellation rate around 10%.
10. I don’t want to give out my banking account number.
Here’s what the U.S. Department of Treasury says: “Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) provides for electronic payments and collections. EFT is safe, secure, efficient, and less expensive than paper check payments and collections.” If EFT absolutely will not work for you, no problem. We can you mail a check.
11. If I do online reservations, guests will no longer call to book.
- As a member of BedandBreakfast.com, we still link to your website and email address, and we display your phone numbers. This gives guests one more way to book a room at your property.
- If you are not showing availability, we show a prominent message encouraging guests contact you directly.
- Remember, Forrester Research says 40% of customers who go to an OTA buy directly from a supplier; Feedback Research says that number is 73%.
12. Online reservations are just a fad!
- So are computers.
- So is the Internet.
- So is having your own website.
- So are toll-free phone numbers.
- So is email.
PhoCusWright, Inc. reports that “online channels are projected to generate 60% of all U.S. travel gross bookings by 2008, moving into a dominant position relative to offline channels.”
Are you as busy as you want to be?
This Month's Sponsor
BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations by
October 27, and you'll get a free
upgrade to the next membership level or a free secondary city
listing, valid through the end of your membership. For details,
email us or call 800-GO-B-AND-B, extension 4.
BedandBreakfast.com, RezOvation and Expedia, Inc. are
hitting the road to bring you comprehensive information about Internet
marketing, online reservations, yield management, and property management
software. Please join us for these workshops and for an Innkeepers'
Appreciation Luncheon. Read more...
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