Why a Booking Engine on your Website is Vitally Important for B&Bs

Here are some reasons why instant online booking capability on a Bed & Breakfast’s website is vitally important:

  1. B&B’s can offer incentive pricing for direct booking on their website versus OTAs.
  2. Encourages international guests, and can actually increase the diversity of guest demographics.
  3. Helps capture reservations from potential guests that would otherwise leave the website and search elsewhere (the fact is, most guests are searching multiple accommodations on the internet, and just don’t want to waste time emailing or calling).
  4. A well-integrated Booking Engine raises the credibility bar for a B&B.  Properties using freebee booking buttons, old style email request forms, or PayPal-style payment buttons are often perceived by guests as amateurish or “low-budget”.  This is a perception that, rightly or wrongly, reflects how well the B&B manages their accommodations.
  5. The importance of collecting deposits online with a booking cannot be overlooked.  Most free booking buttons don’t offer this.  Additionally, a well-established Booking Engine that can verify customer credit cards, and handle collections in multiple currencies is important, particularly in many regions.  Many international guests will not be able to book if their cards are being declined by second-rate providers and merchant accounts.  Most innkeepers don’t know that even PayPal restricts payments from cardholders in many countries.  These are questions that all innkeepers should be asking when selecting a Booking Engine provider.

So, if you are an innkeeper or manager of a small hotel, consider how online booking capability may enhance your business.  Ask questions, and consider several providers before selecting one that’s right for you.

For some ideas on how BedBreakfastTraveler.com (Instant World Booking) can improve your website with a Booking Engine, visit:

http://bedbreakfasttraveler.com/booking-engine.php

 

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Time for a New Booking Engine

Time for a New

Booking Engine!

Get a new IWB Booking Engine for your website.

New for 2014, Instant World Booking offers the guaranteed lowest cost versus any competing solution. So, now is the time to switch. Shop around, then come to Instant World Booking.

Try it today with no contracts, no obligation.

Instant World Booking has the lowest price, guaranteed. No exceptions. Just contact us for a personalized price quote. If we can’t reduce your current cost, you get our booking engine free for a year.

This offer is a virtual “game-changer”!  IWB’s Booking Engine is fully integrated with IWB Front Desk 2.0 and IWB Channel Manager (see below for more information). In fact, Instant World Booking now offers more service and payment options than any other provider. So why not switch now?

Get a New Booking Engine?

IWB Channel ManagerIWB Channel Manager

now updates Booking.com, Expedia, and over 150+ booking sites

Manage hundreds of booking sites from a single calendar.

See all your reservations in one place … Booking.com, Expedia, HostelWorld, Travelocity, Orbitz, and dozens more.

Bonus: Free listing on the GDS … access over 450,000 travel agency sites worldwide.

Manage your calendar on all your booking channels from just one source.

Additionally, all booking sites will automatically be updated every time you receive a reservation. Here’s how it works. Whenever you receive a booking on any channel or website (e.g., HostelWorld, Booking.com, Expedia, etc.), your availability calendar is immediately updated on all connected sites. Over 150 booking sites are available. Even update all your calendars when you receive a reservation from your own website (IWB Booking Engine required).

Get IWB Channel Manager Now?            Questions?

Why IWB Channel Manager?

  • Less than $14 per month
  • More than 150 booking sites, plus the GDS, all included
  • Free signup for IDS/GDS sites, reaching 450,000 travel agents worldwide
  • All major hostelling sites included, HostelWorld.com, Hostelbookers, etc.
  • Incredible savings of time and money by updating your calendar only once
  • Automatic updates for incoming reservations

IWB Front DeskIWB Front Desk 2.0

Free Trial!

IWBFrontDesk.com is a property management system (PMS) that will save you money. Enhance your front desk operations by managing your reservations, guest communication and other functions more efficiently.

Get 1 Month Free. Just enter Promo Code SAVE2014 to begin your free trial.

Get your Free Trial?

Savings of 40% to 85%

IWBFrontDesk is significantly cheaper than many popular property management systems (front desk software).
Compare now?

Learn More?            Questions?

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Talking about Increasing Your Web Exposure for Online Bookings

When it comes to your accommodation & lodging business, having the right exposure is key.  You want to maximize your potential for online bookings from multiple channels.   But, you don’t want to have all the work of managing your information and updating your calendars on all those channels, right?

This is the type of discussion we have every day with hotels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels of all sizes every day.  So, what if you called and asked how we could expand your exposure and increase your business.  Here’s a hypothetical answer about how the discussion might go:

It was very nice speaking with you this afternoon. We discussed 2 optional services that, based on our discussion, will work very well for your business. These services are:

1) IWB Channel Manager

2) IWB Booking Engine for your website

 

CHANNEL MANAGER

First, regarding IWB Channel Manager, you mentioned that it was your goal to (a) increase exposure of your property for bookings, and (b) have just one interface to deal with for calendars, billings, commissions, etc. IWB Channel Manager can meet these goals.

Here is our proposal for how it works:

You pay a monthly cost of $14 for the basic IWB Channel Manager membership. This offers connections to a variety of booking channels, e.g., Expedia.com and others. This service enables you to manage your calendar just once on our website, and it simultaneously updates all your 3rd party booking channels. This eliminates any time and effort having to maintain multiple calendars on multiple systems.

For a channel that you are already signed up with, e.g., Expedia, we offer an Expedia connection. And, within 24 hours you can begin using IWB Channel Manager, and updating your Expedia calendar from IWB. There are no other costs. Whatever you Expedia commission and arrangements are would continue as before.

We discussed connecting you to our excellent Reconline channel. This channel offers a simultaneous connection to about 120 IDS booking sites, plus the GDS. Premium IDS sites include premium channels such as Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, and many other similar sites. The GDS are the reservation systems used by over 300,000 travel agents to book their air, hotel and car reservations.

To get set up with Reconline, with simultaneous connections to all 120 IDS sites, plus the GDS, we will facilitate the application process for you. There is no cost for setup. There is a 17% commission for any bookings that originate from any of these sources. The billing and commission process is handled all centrally.

So, to summarize, IWB Channel Manager will connect your IWB calendar to your external channels, so you only have to maintain one calendar. The Reconline channel will publish your property on about 120 sites plus the GDS. The total cost will be only $14 per month for the membership, and 17% commission on any bookings from any Reconline channel. There are no other costs.

 

BOOKING ENGINE

The second service that we discussed is a new Booking Engine for your website. This service will enable customers to book reservations instantly on your website. And, it’s a natural complement to the Channel Manager, since bookings will be confirmed from the same calendar you’re already maintaining on our website. So, one source for all bookings and channels. And, our pricing options are very flexible.

We discussed a setup in which customers would pay a standard flat $25 deposit on each booking. Our cost for this booking engine would be $5 per reservation. There are no setup fees or other costs.

We offer alternative pricing methods, including a 35% deposit option, which would have a 5% commission cost. Or an 8% deposit option, which would have a 1.9% commission cost.

Alternatively, you can select a no-deposit option which would have a monthly fixed price of $28 (pricing available through November 2012).

 

GETTING STARTED

1) To get started with IWB Channel Manager, please log in to your profile at our website.  Once logged in, proceed to the CHANNEL MANAGER page. Purchase your membership to get started.

2) Once you have purchased the membership, proceed to the Setup Interface. There you will select CHANNELS, and then the “Reconline” channel. Follow the instructions on your screen to request Reconline setup.

3) We will then send you the necessary Reconline application materials, and initiate the set up process.

4) For any other channels you want to setup, follow the instructions on the Setup Interface.

5) Before setting up and connecting any channels you will need to add your calendar of availability on IWB’s Calendar interface. Proceed to the CALENDAR page to do this. This will also need to be done before we can setup your Booking Engine for your website.

 

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New Version of XML API introduced, featuring “Get Bookings”

Instant World Booking features an advanced XML API, enabling accommodations to easily use XML feeds to:

  • Get Calendar Availability/Allocations
  • Set Calendar Availability/Allocations
  • Retrieve Bookings
  • Our latest version 2.1 was released today, and includes the capability to download bookings/reservations right from the system.  This version effectively completes Instant World Booking’s upgrade to a fully functional Calendar and Bookings XML Interface.

    If you use 3rd party software to manage your calendar or other front desk functions, contact your provider today.  Tell them you want them to integrate with IWB.  Integration is free to you, and can usually be completed very quickly.

    To get started with our XML API, begin by checking out our manual, or send it to your developer:

    Instant World Booking API XML Manual

    To read more about Instant World Booking’s XML feeds, and who currently uses them, see:

    http://www.instantworldbooking.com/blog_iw/category/xml-feeds/

    For more information, contact us today at: info@instantworldbooking.com

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    Property Management Systems Integrating with BedBreakfastTraveler.com

    ASSD Hotel Property Management System is one of the latest PMS systems to interface with BedBreakfastTraveler.com (Instant World Booking).  If you currently use a 3rd party PMS or Channel Management System, or any Calendar Management System for your B&B, contact them today to tell them you want their system to feed BedBreakfastTraveler.com (IWB).  Perhaps you’re using one of the more popular Calendar Systems from Webervations, Rezovations, or others.  Most front desk software providers will be more than happy to integrate with booking engines of your choice.

    So, tell your front desk or calendar management provider today that you also want to feed your availability to BedBreakfastTraveler.com.  This is the best way to improve the management of your online services, save work, and increase the opportunity for more bookings.

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    US Travel Promotion Act

    In a nutshell, the Travel Promotion Act is: “A bill to establish a non-profit corporation to communicate United States entry policies and otherwise promote leisure, business, and scholarly travel to the United States.”

    International travelers are an important customer in the US travel industry.  Visits to the US are below 2000 levels, and this has a great impact on the North American economy – especially the micro-economy of the travel industry.

    Some B&B owners and innkeepers have do not support this bill because it would involve a new $10 fee on travelers from visa-waiver countries. Compared to what Americans pay in similar fees when visiting European countries (most fees are hidden in taxes and fees in your airline ticket) this is very minor.  The question is whether $10 fee that is good for two years would prohibit people from traveling to the US.

    PAII.org, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, supports the bill.  For more information on what the bill might mean to your bed and breakfast business, please see their blog at:

    http://www.innkeepingblog.com/2009/09/action-alert-to-innkeeping-industry-help-pass-travel-promotion-act-now/

    To understand more about the powers of the bill and how it would be funded, click here.

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    How to – Link Building for B&Bs

    Your bed and breakfast’s website is one of your most valuable assets.  Like all of our assets, we wish to grow their value.  But how can we do this, even in a down economy?  Your website and the traffic it brings is an asset you can grow anytime.

    One of the most important value “drivers” of your website is search engine ranking.  Obtaining quality inbound links to your website from 3rd party sources is a major component of your search engine rankings.  Most search engines consider a link to your website as a “vote” for the importance of your website.  The more links that point to your homepage, the more important your site becomes when people search on major search engines.
    Reciprocal linking is not the way to go, although it can be used sparingly.  Major search engines today are able to figure out what links are reciprocal or not, and reciprocal links are heavily discounted, along with you website if you employ them.  Reciprocal links should be used sparingly, and only with websites of actual bed and breakfasts.  It’s fine to trade links with other B&Bs.

    The highest-quality links are one-way links to your website that come from related, relevant, and quality websites.  Building links can take a lot of time, but is worth the effort.

    For another form of link that can drive qualified traffic to your website, BedBreakfastTraveler.com offers free links to your webpage with any free listing on our service.  There are over 100 websites in BedBreakfastTraveler.com’s network (Instant World Booking), and an average bed and breakfast may have listings on up to 15-25 sites, all with one free listing.  This means that on any of these SEO-optimized listing pages, a link to your homepage will appear.  Free links on our network display your website in a shadowbox on the listing page, and do not re-direct the user to your webpage.  Your entire website is visible however.  Free links also do not appear on premium sites like BedBreakfastTraveler.com and InstantWorldBooking.com

    Introducing Paid Links

    For a small cost, paid (sponsored) links are available to gain even more traffic to your website.  Paid links will re-direct the user right to your website, and paid links appear on our premium sites.  Note that all our links are constructed in strict agreement with Google’s guidelines.

    Again, all you need to do is have a free listing on BedBreakfastTraveler.com, and then you can access either the free links which are automatically provided to you.  Or, purchase paid links by signing in to your listing at BedBreakfastTraveler.com.

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    RezOvation Pricing

    If you’ve been reading our Intelligence for B&Bblog, you know that BedBreakfastTraveler.com believes in transparency, especially when it comes to pricing of services for your B&B.  Occasionally, we profile other services which compete with ours.  We don’t care so much that mentioning competing services basically amounts to free advertising for those services.  We’re more interested in transparency for you, our consumers and clients.  So, when selecting services for publishing, marketing, and booking your bed & breakfast, please remember to compare prices.  And, don’t overpay!

    Rezovation offers services for property management and online reservations.  As a business manager, if price is important to you, please do compare.  According to the Rezovation.com website, the minimum cost for Rezovation GT Online is $50 per month.  But, that’s for just the smallest B&Bs of 1-4 rooms.  If you have at least 10 rooms, the price more than doubles to $110, and for large properties (50+ rooms), may be at least $300 per month, with an added setup fee of $999.00!  Yes, Rezovation GT is a great property management tool for those who want to lay out the cash, but there are many cheaper alternatives for small inn businesses.  Again, the prices quoted here are directly from the Rezovation website

    BedBreakfastTraveler.com (by Instant World Booking) offers a premier online booking service, including credit card acceptance.  Booking engines for your website is a particular specialty of ours.  If you have the cash to pay for the competing Rezovation GT service, and want online bookings, there is an additional per-reservation fee up to 30%.  For more on the additional fees see our separate article at:

    http://www.bedbreakfasttraveler.com/blog_bb/2009/12/bedandbreakfastcom-pricing/

    Now, compare with BedBreakfastTraveler.com (by Instant World Booking).  If you want a fully integrated booking engine for your website, you can choose from many custom options starting at our lowest cost of just 1.9% of total reservation volume.  This is the absolute industry low for a booking engine on your website.

    What about credit card processing?  Rezovation GT offers optional credit card processing for an additional monthly service fee and per-transaction fees.  Note that this is above and beyond the fees you are paying to maintain your own merchant account.  BedBreakfastTraveler.com on the other hand offers integrated credit card collection for your online bookings, and you do not even need your own merchant account.

    Finally, if you want to connect to the Global Distribution System (GDS), Rezovation GT offers a premium option, allowing you to connect for just $649 + $15.50 per reservation + $250 / yr maintenance after first year.

    For an unlimited budget, there are many services out there that can maximize your online exposure.  At BedBreakfastTraveler.com (Instant World Booking), we offer the maximum cost-effectiveness for online exposure.  Don’t pay the high prices unless you’ve tried Instant World Booking first.  If you don’t like your experience, you can always try the others and pay higher prices later.

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    St. Augustine, Florida Bed and Breakfasts

    St. Augustine is widely regarded as the quaintest and most historic town in Florida.  If you’re looking for a little sun as well as a stay in a Victorian or historic bed and breakfast, St. Augustine will not dissapoint.  Check B&B reservations in St. Augustine.

    For more about bed and breakfasts in St. Augustine, see:

    http://blog.bedandbreakfast.com/post/2009/12/08/St-Augustine-Inns-and-Cedar-House-Inn-Welcome-Guests-to-Holiday-Tour.aspx

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