September 28, 2021

How to Grow Direct Bookings at Your Hotel with 1 Line of Code and $0 Invested

Travel is on the upswing, with three distinct surges amplifying the number of bookings hotels are experiencing as the world exits its lockdown state. The first boost, which is already well underway, is the return to European summer travel. Following closely behind is the burst of previously cancelled weddings and honeymoons, now being re-organized in earnest. The third post-lockdown rush is expected to surface around the 2021 holiday season, when families and groups embark on postponed vacations en masse. 

With an impressive number of reservations to be seized upon in the coming months, hotels must ensure they are prepared to take full advantage of the booking boom. While marketing efforts are a substantial part of the battle, enabling the smoothest possible direct booking experience is just as crucial to ensuring that the prospective guests who are drawn in stay engaged until the checkout process is complete.

To accomplish this task, hotels should focus their efforts on offering an entirely intuitive booking experience that avoids tiresome redirects and lengthy payment processes. Hospitality players have long relied on outdated booking platforms in contrast to businesses in the fashion and beauty industries, for instance, which have made easy-to-use e-commerce tools the norm. 

According to Selfbook Founder and CEO Khalid Meniri, “Sites and digital experiences used to exist in silos. You have a grid for discovery on one page, but then, if you want to transact, you are redirected to another. Today, the travel industry still has that fragmented functional silo experience. You go to a hotel website, you hit reserve, and you get redirected to a form-heavy template that’s not secure.”

The solution? Selfbook’s one-tap payment technology. A forerunner of seamless hotel bookings, the payment module eliminate redirects, creates an entirely unified checkout flow, and ensures secure card and mobile wallet processing for a modern e-commerce experience that mirrors the seamless journey travelers seek out when booking a vacation. So, what exactly are the building blocks to offering a simple and streamlined user experience?

“The first thing you want to do is bring all of that together with a unified experience that is as seamless as possible for the end user,” says Meniri. “The second thing you want to do is reflect the brand experience, because what you see digitally has to be parallel with the overall brand message so you can create a direct, continuous user experience.”

With a single line of code integrated directly within hotels’ own Central Reservations System, hoteliers can ensure their guests remain embedded in the world of their brand while simultaneously benefiting from Selfbook’s quick and easy booking interface. Allowing guests to stay enchanted by hotels’ brand identity and experience reduces the likelihood of drop-offs, all while playing into Selfbook’s mission of encouraging direct bookings. The ability to pair the payment technology with an on-brand website is just the formula to keep users engaged and see them through to checkout.

In addition to requiring no more than one line of code added to the hotel’s backend, rather than an entire rewiring of the system, Selfbook charges $0 for setup. This democratizes the payment technology, creates a lightning-fast and secure booking experience, and empowers hotels to start garnering direct bookings right away with no upfront investment.

Once bookings start rolling in, Selfbook charges a 3% transaction fee plus $0.30 per transaction, which equates to just 0.9% of average net revenue per transaction after Interchange++ card processing fees. With revenues skyrocketing up to 25% thanks to Selfbook-powered direct bookings, hotels are immensely rewarded for a fractional cost.

By integrating Selfbook’s payment technology into their CRS, hotels will drive revenues with smoother UX, mobile bookings thanks to digital wallet integration, and no redirects to old-school booking platforms, all while maintaining an on-brand connection to their user base.

One line of code. Zero dollars invested. Limitless direct bookings.

September 28, 2021

Cut to the Chase: Selfbook’s Direct Bookings Are the Future of Travel

Hospitality players from Algarve-based boutique hotels to 5-star Hong Kong mainstays are  stepping up to the plate to offer customers the best possible experience as the world approaches a  post-lockdown state. Fine-tuning the digital experience to draw visitors in after a practically travel free year seems to be a universal aim, but hoteliers must find the right approach to make future  clients feel at ease as they get back into the swing of traveling. Crafting an intuitive, seamless  experience that avoids operational hiccups is paramount to capturing and maintaining their  attention and, ultimately, to driving hotel bookings. 

Google has taken a first step in this direction by eliminating the requirement for hotels to pay to  appear on its Hotel Search feature. The result? Hotels’ own websites are featured free of charge,  along with a handy “Official Site” button to foster trust and facilitate click-throughs straight to the  hotel’s booking page rather than to a multi-brand platform. This allows hotels to draw customers 

directly into their universe, rather than losing them to a sea of faceless options on external booking  sites. 

The opportunity to be featured on Google Hotel Search payment-free brings hotels, especially  more niche players with smaller advertising budgets, onto an equal playing field with behemoth booking platforms, enhancing their visibility and encouraging customers to book directly with the  hotel. While most consumers’ modus operandi when booking typically involves selecting the first  and cheapest link for simplicity’s sake, Google’s new feature empowers hotels by helping them  stand out regardless of their budget and, when paired with Selfbook, allows them to save up to a  quarter in revenue by eliminating booking agency commissions. 

Selfbook’s direct booking technology takes the wheel as soon as a customer clicks through to a  partner hotel’s official website link. Sites equipped with its easy-to-use capabilities can maintain  the flow from a customer’s initial Google search all the way through to payment without ever detracting from a controlled, on-brand experience. Without pop-ups or redirects, clients won’t be  led toward alternatives, but will rather move through the booking process within the world of the  brand, becoming increasingly inspired along the way. Whether planning a romantic Venetian  getaway or a horseback riding trip in Patagonia en famille, travelers will stay in the vacation  mindset from room selection to checkout thanks to the integrated nature of Selfbook-enabled  platforms. 

Attribute-based shopping takes the Selfbook experience to the next level, allowing travelers to  speedily upgrade and include add-ons to their room with a single tap. Breakfast in bed, a green  juice-stocked minifridge, or a rooftop yoga class are all just a click away, and the price of each  individual addition is simply tallied up to funnel the checkout process into one single step. With  an eye to consumers’ potential desires while booking, Selfbook’s hassle-free technology boosts  average order value thanks to the ease of incorporating last-minute additions to one’s stay or  selecting an ocean-view room on a whim.

With booking abandonment rates sitting near 85% on hotel websites (which is even lower than the  desertion frequency faced by online travel agencies), Selfbook can help guide customers through  the process without losing them at any stage, especially when it comes to payment. The only direct  booking platform of its kind to incorporate digital wallets such as Apple Pay, AliPay, Google Pay  and more, Selfbook enables completely frictionless, practically instantaneous payments. The  integration of digital wallets therefore greatly reduces the risk of losing customers at the final stage  of booking and consequently bolsters conversion rates. 

With direct reservations, hotels can also build more personal relationships with their customers  and encourage repeat purchases on their own sites by connecting with clients following their stay with on-brand, hyperlinked email communications. By forging stronger bonds with clients,  hospitality providers can also compound savings on repeat cuts formerly taken by booking  agencies and reduce client acquisition costs, which gives them the bandwidth to offer discounts  and loyalty programs to faithful customers and further improve their relationships. Hotels will also  undoubtedly sharpen their understanding of their clientele along the way.  

As Google makes strides to foster direct bookings, the future of hotel reservations is clear: Direct  interactions between travelers and hospitality providers, rather than middlemen, is the only way  forward. Not only will it save hotels money, but consumers will benefit from a seamless, instinctual  booking journey that is as experiential as their stay.

September 16, 2021

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