iCal Airbnb Wimdu FlipKey HouseTrip

iCal for Airbnb updates

Airbnb iCal Synchronizer

iCal is a standard format for calendars, it can be used to share date information. Some big companies like Airbnb, Wimdu, FlipKey and others use iCal to receive simple availability data. They use iCal because it is easy and very simple. Because it is a very basic format of data it is also limited.

We have created a way for you to export your availability in iCal format to these big sales systems. So if you already have an account with Airbnb, FlipKey or company that allows iCal import you can register for our iCal service and use freetobook to export your open/closed dates.

synchronise via iCal calendars

Freetobook iCal updater

Because of the simplicity of iCal there are limitations. While you can synchronize open/closed dates you cannot give rates, minimum stays or other data. Another important limitation is the data only goes one way freetobook will give you an availability feed for export but we do not import any data from them. This means Wimdu, FlipKey and other sales bookings need to be added to freetobook to keep your diary up to date.

Freetobook has also created a separate iCal feed for all your bookings. This is a private feed which you can use in your iPhone or other mobile device to keep up with your bookings on the go. Because iCal is a standard format for calendar data there are many ways to view your bookings on different calendars.

Freetobook offers both of these iCal services for our customers you can find them in the TAB”Plus” if you already have a freetobook account. If not why not get one today and start enjoying some of the many fantastic booking solutions provided by freetobook.

Click to find out more about our iCal synchronization

Click to find out more about freetobook channel manager

Freetobook is a Internet Booking Engine with many added services and connections to the world’s biggest sales systems like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, HostelWorld and many others : find out more about freetobook on our home page.

 

 

 

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HostelWorld Channel Manager connected

Channel manager for HostelWorld

Connect to HostelWorld.com

Freetobook channel manager keeps on growing with the new connection to HostelWorld you now get even more distribution. This is great news for Hostels, Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses and hotels using freetobook.

(HostelWorld includes Hostels.com and also BedandBreakfastWorld.com)

Hostels will be listed on HostelWorld.com and Hostels.com websites

Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels and Guest Houses will be listed on BedandBreakfastWorld.com and also HostelWorld.com

HostelWorld has a comprehensive selection of hostels with over 35,000 places to stay in 180 countries. Take advantage of an extensive affilate network with 3,500 global affilate partners including Lonely Planet and Travellers point.

channel manager for hostels.com

connect to hostels.com

Commission payments to HostelWorld and BedandBreakfastWorld tend to be lower than many of the other worldwide OTAs so you may end up getting more bookings for a lower commission.

Freetobook will continue to add functionality to our channel manager so you get more distribution for less…

bed and breakfast world channel manager

connect to BedandBreakfastWorld.com

If you are already a freetobook customer you can click the PLUS Tab and select channel manager to get these new channels. If you don’t yet have a freetobook account find out more about freetobook here. To find out more about the freetobook channel manager click here.

 

 

 

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Channel Manager News – Agoda added

Agoda added to freetobook’s Channel Manager

Channel Manager Agoda added

Agoda added to Channel Manager

We are always looking for new ways to increase exposure and bookings for clients so we are very happy to announce we have just completed a full integration with Agoda. They are one of Asia’s leading hotel booking sites and growing very rapidly elsewhere…. all are very good reasons to connect with them.

Key benefits
- a simple and quick registration process via the PLUS tab in freetobook.
- additional bookings from the fast growing Asian markets through the regional market leader.
- a competitive commission rate – all pre-paid by customers meaning low cancellation %.
- increased exposure with their targeted promotions and weekly newsletters (going to 7 million members in 25 languages).

We are really happy to say that our experience thus far of Agoda has been nothing but positive, they are very focused, efficient and friendly.

Click to find out more about the freetobook channel manager.

Posted in bookings, channel management, marketing, sales, updates, website | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Multi Language booking increases your bookings

Direct bookings increase with multilingual bookings

We are already seeing an increase in direct online bookings as a result of the new multilingual online booking process.

Multi Language Online Booking System

Multilingual Booking Engine

Freetobook now has online booking in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese. (More languages will be added.)

When your customers can book in their native language the booking process becomes easier and as a result you get more bookings. This is no surprise as we all want an easy quick way to make a booking.  Booking in your native language greatly simplifies and speeds up the process thereby increasing the number of bookings.

When potential customers book using the freetobook internet booking engine freetobook detects the language of their browser and presents the booking process in their native language or the default language of the property.

Our accommodation owners located in 84 different countries worldwide are benefiting from this new addition to our system, bringing more direct bookings.

Find out more about the languages option or the services offered by freetobook’s online booking system .

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Wearable Internet Booking Engine

Freetobook glasses on the catwalk in Paris.

Check bookings, manage channels, send invoices and emails from your glasses. Freetobook looks at the Internet Booking Engine of the future with this fun one minute video !

Will the future of online booking management look something like this ? Integration with glasses or other wearable technology enables you to manage your bookings on the go.

While it’s slightly tongue-in-cheek we can see the application of wearable technology letting you know how your business is doing.

Posted in marketing, mobile, online, tips | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

SCAM on GoogleMaps and GooglePlaces

Do Not pay for GoogleMaps or GooglePlaces subscription this is a scam

GoogleMaps subscription scam

Do not pay cold callers for GoogleMaps subscription

SCAM ALERT: A number of accommodation owners have made us aware of bogus callers who claim to be offering to put your accommodation on GoogleMaps and GooglePlaces. They say they can do this for £149 per year or £199 for two years.

It is essentially free to get listed on Google so do not pay these cold calling scammers any money – it is a sham.

If you have had a bad experience with a Scam let us warn properties – share it on freetobook facebook page – click here.

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FabPay – Payment Gateway for accommodation providers

Low cost pay as you go credit card payments

At freetobook we have created a low cost, pay as you go credit card handling system for UK accommodation owners.

Low Cost Card Payment

Credit Card Payment

FabPay offers full integration with your freetobook booking system, saving time and money when you switch to FabPay.

With FabPay, taking payments is no longer a complicated drawn out task. Just click the button and the payment is on it’s way to your bank !

Key Benefits:

1) Simple and quick – card payments made in seconds.

2) Secure and PCI compliant, all transactions are made on the SagePay gateway.

3) Simple to setup – You can run FabPay alongside your existing card payment system, no need to change.

4) NO monthly costs and NO tie in period, simply pay as you go.

5) Cost neutral, you can make a small charge to your customer for card handling so it costs you nothing.

6) It’s all connected, your online and phone payments are shown in each booking.

FabPay vs PayPal

FabPay vs PayPal

Many smaller properties use PayPal for card transactions, this could be very expensive compared to FabPay. If you are paying PayPal 3.4% on a debit card this could cost you £10.20 on a £300 booking. With FabPay a debit card transaction costs only 22 pence + a max gateway fee of 75 pence, a total of no more than 97 pence using FabPay. Massive saving !

The same £300 payment from a personal credit card with FabPay would be 1.35% + gateway fee i.e. £4.05 + 75 pence = £4.80 still less than half the price of PayPal. Click here for full cost comparison of FabPay vs PayPal

With FabPay there is a one off setup fee of £69. Credits are then bought to pay for each transaction (gateway fee). The more credits you buy the cheaper each transaction is (payment).

The most you ever pay is 75 pence but it you are using a larger number of transactions you could be paying as little as 24 pence per payment (gateway fee).

Find out more about FabPay at www.fabpay.com

Existing customers of freetobook can easily register for FabPay low cost payment system in Tab”Plus” and SubTab”FabPay” – start saving today !

If you do not yet use the freetobook Internet Booking Engine find out more at www.freetobook.com

Posted in bookings, card handling, FabPay, online, payments, sales, upgrades | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Share your reviews online

Freetobook review sharing widget

Share hotel reviews

Share your Reviews

Isn’t it great to get fantastic reviews! You work so hard looking after your customers, naturally they give you fabulous feedback that influences potential future guests. To find your reviews in freetobook simply go to your “Home” TAB and select “Reviews”.

Share your great reviews with the world. Freetobook is about to release a new review sharing system so you can get your reviews out there and read by potential guests.

Sharing reviews is easy with :

  • a simple to install review widget for your website, available in a variety of formats and the ability to resize and customise colours
  • freetobook’s new “click here to share” a review instantly on facebook and twitter.
  • linked to your booking system for instant direct bookings.
Review sharing widget for hotels

Review sharing widget various sizes

It gets better…each review widget will give guests instant access to your freetobook reviews and link them directly to your booking system, making it easy for impressed customers to make a direct commission free booking there and then.

Keep an eye open for the launch of the new review sharing system… another great idea from freetobook giving you more for less. As soon as the review sharing system is available you will find it in the same place as your current reviews – go to your “Home” TAB and select “Reviews”.

Social Media review sharing for hotels

Social Media review sharing

We expect to launch the new review sharing system before Christmas 2013 so it won’t be long before you can show off all your best reviews across your website and social media platforms.

In the spirit of sharing please feel free to tell others about your experience of freetobook the internet booking engine with more for less.

Posted in 2013, bookings, customer service, facebook, marketing, online, reviews, sales, social media, upgrades, website, widget | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Get more TripAdvisor Reviews automatically

Fast, free and easy way to get more TripAdvisor reviews.

TripAdvisor for Business

Business Services from TripAdvisor

With freetobook you always get a competitive advantage from our cutting edge technology that keeps you in control and fully armed with a variety of tools and services, all created to maximise your bookings, marketing and reputation.

TripAdvisor Review Express

Review Express automated TripAdvisor reviews

Using this new function freetobook gives you the option of connecting TripAdvisor’s automated review request system to your customer’s email address and checkout date. If you opt into this service (in your TripAdvisor account) then TripAdvisor will be given all of your customer’s email addresses along with their checkout dates (future bookings). If you authorise TripAdvisor they will then send out automated review requests after your customer has checked out.

This service is available free of charge to all freetobook customers. It is available to all accommodation properties except those listed as Vacation Rentals by TripAdvisor.

How do I switch on Review Express automatic emails ?

1. Simply login to your TripAdvisor account on TripAdvisor’s website, click on the “Review Express” logo and select the “Send Emails Automatically” TAB (there is no need to contact freetobook).

2. Agree the Review Express conditions and confirm that freetobook is your internet booking engine.

That’s it! This is a do it yourself service and there is no need to contact freetobook.

How does Review Express work ?

If you have agreed the terms on TripAdvisor then freetobook will check all of your future bookings and send the email address and the checkout date for each booking. TripAdvisor will use this data to send automated review request emails to your customers a few days after they have checked out. (note this service is completely optional, no data is sent without your authorisation)

How much does it cost ?

Freetobook makes no charge for this service and TripAdvisor do not charge. It is a do it yourself service, simply opt in by logging into TripAdvisor, no need to contact freetobook.

What freetobook does when you sign up to Review Express.

Review Express example email

Example of an automated review request

Within 24hours of signing up to Review Express the freetobook system will automatically send TripAdvisor the guest email addresses and checkout date for all your future bookings. If a booking is later modified we send TripAdvisor the new data. If a booking is cancelled we let TripAdvisor know not to send an automated review.

TripAdvisor have let us know that if a property later opts out of Review Express they will not send any automated reviews using the data you have given them access to. You opt out from your TripAdvisor account and freetobook will know within 24hours.

Freetobook provides the Review Express service automatically there is no need to contact us as the service is activated using your TripAdvisor account. Like many services offered by freetobook it is free and optional. Freetobook also offer some premium paid for services like Channel Management and Mobile Website and Booking – find out more.

Click here to visit TripAdvisor’s page and find out more about Review Express

Posted in 2013, bookings, Review Express, reviews, tips, TripAdvisor | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mobile hotel bookings grow

Mobile hotel bookings keep growing…

Mobile Hotel Websites

Mobile hotel booking

Here at freetobook we keep an eye on industry trends and an even closer watch on trends within our own booking systems.. with thousands of accommodation owners using freetobook we have an insight into trends and that can help you improve your direct bookings.

Freetobook is a highly advanced mobile friendly internet booking system which enables all our customers to maximise their mobile bookings.

7 Mobile Booking Trends you need to know about

1. Over 10% of all availability searches on property websites are using a mobile or tablet (freetobook)

2. Mobile traffic has (in the last year) grown over 10 times faster than desktop visits (freetobook)

3. In the last three months 61% of email opens in the USA were on a mobile or tablet.

4. 25% of smartphone owners booked hotels using their smartphone

5. More than half of all travellers researching their travel plans on their smartphone

6. This year over 1 Billion people bought smartphones

7. Over 50% of all phones sold are now smartphones

Most research is now showing that customers are using multiple devices to book and research travel its fair to say the touch points with customers are diverse in time, browser and device.

Mobile Hotel Bookings

Mobile Bookings for hotels

One of my favourite quotes is “Five minutes here, two minutes there, and I booked a trip without taking a huge, long chunk of time to plan everything.” (Google 2013 Traveler report)

Freetobook has the flexibility and advanced functionality across mobile platforms so your customers can book on any device, this means you won’t lose bookings as the world of mobile changes and customers habits morph, freetobook moves ahead.

Google has recently released their 2013 Traveler report which shows Mobile booking trends and broader traveller attitudes and behaviours. For anyone interested in how travellers are interacting with the internet Google’s report is a must read. I have enclosed a link to it at the bottom of the page. Find out more about a freetobook mobile website and mobile bookings

Watch the freetobook video below and see what mobile booking can look like for your customers.

Google research study on the 2013 Traveller – get your report on this link  

Posted in 2013, bookings, marketing, mobile, online, sales, technology, trends, website | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment