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

Booking.com Preferred IT Provider

Freetobook is proud to have been awarded Preferred IT Provider status with Booking.com

booking.com preferred IT provider

booking.com preferred IT provider

Great Technology doesn’t just happen ! Its also rather difficult to describe but when you see it, when you use it, you just know its good. At freetobook we take considerable pride in our work and our booking system solutions are renowned for their time saving functionality and their ease of use.

Along the way we work with many technology companies and there is none more switched on to the internet and the way online booking should work than Booking.com. This is why they sell more than 500,000 room nights every 24 hours and work with over 368,000 properties in 190 countries.

From our experience most of the worlds accommodation owners are looking for ways to get more connected and enjoy more distribution, at freetobook we get this message and so does booking.com.

In business great companies will seek each other out to work together, we enjoy working with the best in the booking world and are also very proud to have it recognised in the preferred IT provider status awarded by booking.com

Find out more about the freetobook channel Manager which includes a connection with booking.com

Posted in 2013, bookings, channel management, marketing, online, technology, updates | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Independent Hotel Show 2013

A big thank you to everyone who dropped in to see us at the Independent Hotel Show 2013. It is fair to say we had one of the busiest stands at the show and we were kept on our feet right from the word go. It was great to see that many businesses had heard of us and were keen to see us at the show.

We also met some of our existing clients  who kindly dropped by to say “hello”…and even helped with the sales when we very busy!  All round it was a big success and we have already booked our stand of next year – stand H56….see you there!

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Google Hotel Finder doesn’t find many hotels

Google Hotel finder needs to catchup with TripConnect

I recently wrote an article on tnooz the travel technology news magazine. (link here) All about how TripConnect is far better than Google PayPerClick for independent hotels and Bed and Breakfasts.

A reader replied to tnooz suggesting the article was ALL wrong ! Claiming I had confused Google CPC (CostPerClick) program with Hotel Finder bidding program and that Google was the first Metasearch engine to connect to hotel’s CRS.

Google PayPerClick vs. TripConnect

TripConnect PayPerClick vs Google

He makes a fair point in that there are two systems but I have certainly not confused them. The article is about independent hotels and guest houses and Google Hotel Finder is only available to OTAs and hotel chains. Google have not connected to the properties directly so independent individual properties cannot use their Hotel Finder. The equivalent product on Google is therefore straight CPC campaign.

There is therefore no confusion, TripConnect advertising has to be compared to Google standard CPC for independent properties because Hotel Finder is not available to these properties. (in some senses that is the point of the article) TripConnect connects hundreds of thousands of independent properties with plans to connect millions. These properties currently have no way of participating in Hotel Finder. Why is Google ignoring this market ?

The complainer ends the complaint suggesting that Google post a response. I for one would certainly welcome a response from them, I think there are some major advantages to the Hotel Finder system if only they would connect more broadly. Google are missing an enormous opportunity to earn click revenue and I welcome a reply as would millions of property owners that would be delighted to hear a response from Google Hotel Finder.

Posted in 2013, Google Hotel Finder, marketing, online, sales, TripAdvisor, TripConnect | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is TripConnect ?

TripConnect now live World-Wide for Hotels, B&Bs and Guest Houses

TripConnect Premium Partner

TripConnect Premium Partner

As of today independent hotels, bed and breakfasts from all corners of the world can advertise directly for bookings on TripAdvisor. Owners will be able to drive direct bookings with zero commission from their TripAdvisor pages. They will be able to bid for clicks on a PayPerClick basis.

This is nothing short of a revolution in the way TripAdvisor promotes accommodation, a new way to get direct bookings.

TripConnect video

If you are a property owner you can use the TripConnect system to show real-time rates and availability with a booking button for the customer to complete the booking.

What will you need for TripConnect to work ?

1. An approved Internet Booking Engine (IBE) like freetobook.

2. A business listing with TripAdvisor

3. A TripConnect account to pay for your clicks

When you have all three of the above you can set your PayPerClick budget and get started. You will be able to set a daily cap on your spend and you can do it for as long as you want. TripAdvisor will give you a forecast for monthly spend so you get an idea of costs.

What is TripConnect ?

TripConnect Premium Partner

As each booking comes in freetobook will show you that it came from TripConnect. You will also get a report from TripConnect showing your click costs and the booking revenue you achieved. This way you will be able to analyse the return on your advertising spend.

Freetobook is a Premium partner of TripConnect and can offer the service worldwide. If you already have a freetobook account you just need to contact TripConnect to setup your account. If you don’t yet work with freetobook this is an ideal time to signup.

 

 

More information on TripConnect click here

To signup with freetobook click here

To register with TripConnect click here

 

 

Posted in 2013, marketing, online, reviews, sales, technology, TripAdvisor, TripConnect | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments