In this short video webinar, co-founder Adam Brownstein explains the value of buuteeq’s BookingCenter integration.
Booking Center has a number of services that add a diversity of marketing options to hotels of all sizes.
Booking Center interfaces with all the major global distribution systems (GDSs), opening even more opportunities to fill your rooms.
Booking Center’s property management software (PMS) called MyPMS gives hoteliers the options they need to manage the day-to-day complexities of running a thriving hotel.
buuteeq and Booking Center put hotels before more ready travelers. Hotels will enjoy more confirmed reservations by guests found with a larger marketing net.
Click here to learn more about buuteeq’s new integration with Booking Center.
Adam: Hi everybody from Seattle, Washington and Nova Scotia and Northern California. This is Adam from buuteeq. I’ve got Jason and Jason from BookingCenter along with us. Hey guys.
Jason A: Hi.
Jason B: Hello.
Adam: Hello. This is the first in a series of instructional webinars about what in the world are BookingCenter and buuteeq doing together and why it might be of interest to your property. This is our beta test for the week. It’s a small intimate crowd. Rather than have this be a draconian, boring presentation although I have some pretty slides and some charts, ROI things to share, I thought I would just open up the microphones too because we have a small audience today. That way you can just share what’s on your minds, what you guys want to learn in the next 30 minutes or so and we can keep it tailored to you.
We’ve have Doreen and Jennifer on the line. If you feel like just being passive and letting us do the presentation, just say so via chat here and we can just present and you guys can kick back and have your coffee or afternoon tea, depending on where you are in the world.
One person is busy multitasking so we’re going to keep it passive and I’ll present for now. Then as questions come up in the GoToWebinar little tool that you should all have, just ask them. You can put them in the chat box, you can put them in the question box, I don’t really care. Ask away and we’ll get started.
I’ll share a little bit of the story about why buuteeq and BookingCenter are collaborating. It was started like many love stories between two businesses do at a conference and a trade show called CABBI, a California Bed and Breakfast Industry event a couple months back.
buuteeq, being very good digital marketing to drive more traffic and convert traffic into reservations, had long coveted a really rich, content management system that we have, but also a CRS, a centralized reservation system, property management system. The other piece of the puzzle to really manage reservations, which is something that buuteeq does a little bit, but others do it better. BookingCenter contacted us and said, “We really like what you guys are doing to drive demand into booking engines. We’ve got a great bookings engine solution and maybe there’s something we can do together.” A lot of us in both companies come from the same part of the country and sort of a similar culture. We thought this would be a nice match made in heaven.
We’ve collaborated to provide a very rich, important solution. Really, it’s not for us necessarily. It’s not even for you the owner/operator. It’s more for the guest experience. I wanted to demonstrate what that looks like to your guests and why it could be valuable to your business. Then we’ll add Jason and Jason for color commentary on the BookingCenter side.
Let me talk a little bit in the first part about digital marketing today and why it’s different from what you may have experienced. Digital marketing, when we think about the prologue, the history up until now, it’s very often centered around a static website. What I mean by static is it’s not a live thing that you can really make changes to easily. It’s advantageous to make changes. It’s good for SEO. It’s good for driving more traffic. It keeps guests engaged. It keeps you on your toes. Making changes is typically expensive to do because you’re partnering with an agency or it’s a complicated thing to do, or it can take time. Neither of those words are good, pleasant words to think about. That’s what we in the industry have been dealing with for a long time when it comes to online marketing.
The pivot that we’re making now is something called digital marketing systems. If you can remember one thing from today because you’re very busy, digital marketing systems are really combining the beauty of online marketing at its best with the beast of analytics and the ability to know down to the pennies, pounds, and pence of your business where your traffic is going and how you’re monetizing that traffic against your reservations channels. The analytics piece is really a powerful concert of what BookingCenter does and what buuteeq does.
A digital marking system, in a nut shell, is really the website, the mobile website. Mobile is important we’re going to talk about that. It’s a social presence. Social is also becoming more and more relevant for guests not only to get to know you, but to actually book with you. Then finally the analytics piece. There’s a before and after story here. We want you to think about the after as a system that allows you to make a yearly investment in a digital marketing system and in return you can really get better ROI. That’s the kind of high level set.
Before we talk about website design and what works for guests, analytics are fundamental. They are no longer an option. They really are essential. I’m talking today more than just Google Analytics, which is available and it’s free. It’s also very cumbersome if you want to look at a view of guests’ behavior online from the hospitality industry. Google Analytics is a general tool that would take 30 minutes to an hour to really get a view of what your guests are doing online. It only shows you where they’re coming from. Once they’re on your site you don’t have any visibility from Google and that’s really where the most important analysis takes place.
The ability to see what people are actually looking for, what pieces of your website they are going to before they hit the booking button, that’s something that a digital marketing system can do for you. The same system that you log into to see where your guests are coming from, you can also see what they are doing, what rooms they are looking at, what rates, what promotions before they actually book. You get that view with the digital marketing system that Google Analytics alone would not allow you to do. Very, very valuable. That’s a backend piece.
In addition to that, another thing that’s important about digital marketing systems is that they’re all cloud based. Whether you’re an owner/operator and you’re away from your property but you want to manage your digital marketing or you’re on property, perhaps you’re a professional staff and you want to do some changes, any place that you have access to the internet, a secure connection in the cloud. Just like the BookingCenter cloud-based PMS, the buuteeq cloud-based digital marketing system is log on anytime, anywhere to manage your business.
Now we’re going to talk about design. In buuteeq, we come from a fairly long rich heritage of making things really, really freaking pretty on the web. Pardon my vernacular there. It’s true in that compelling design really translates people who are looking into people who are booking.
Here, what we see is an example of something we called eye tracking. Although I’ve been in digital marketing now for about 15 years of my own life, I did not see it until a couple of months ago. What eye tracking does is it actually looks at the retinal scans and behaviors of travelers, of guests, vis a vis what they’re seeing on the screen. This is not where they are clicking. It’s actually where they are looking.
One of the things that we confirmed from seeing this is that their eyes go to content that sells rooms and sells experiences. Here we see a website where we have a beautiful, rich, broad, photographic asset. The eyes are going here. We can also see here the heat map is really going to the bookings button. That sends guests right into the BookingCenter environment and we’re going to show that environment in real time and how BookingCenter and buuteeq together make it better.
In addition, all the menu items on this site are very clear and easy to figure out. In both leisure and business travel there is something that is interesting in that travelers really want to turn off their mind and turn on their heart. In other words, don’t let me think about how to use the website. Just let me find the things that are really interesting to me quickly and easily so I can see your compelling story.
As an example of that, when someone goes on to your current website today, 7 to 7.5 times out of 10, about 70% of the time, they’re going to click on the rooms button. Once they click on the rooms button, they’re really going to have a chance to see the product, the experience, the core of the experience. From there, you have another 50% probability that the rooms they’re going to click on either photos or location because they want to see, “Is this close to where I want to go?” Photos really help to tell the story. We’re going to demonstrate that in a minute.
Having things be compelling and emotional but also really measured as we saw back here with the analytics is very, very important. Another trend that is here to stay, it’s not going to go anywhere, in fact it’s going to get bigger, is mobile. I would encourage you at some point in the next couple of hours to look at your own properties website. Not on your computer where up until a couple of years ago almost a 100% of people were viewing you online. Look at it from your phone.
Today, up to 20% of prospective guests will look at you on a mobile device first. They will have a real impression of your brands and your guest experience. Not only that, we’re starting to see actual booking behavior clicking from the phone actually into your booking engine. By 2014, Google predicts that this will be 80%. Google and Apple, as you know, are two of the linchpin [inaudible 10:50] of innovation and consumerism and really are focused in a war on mobile. One thing’s for sure about the outcome of that battle. Consumers will start to look at you more and more on mobile first.
At buuteeq, we don’t think of mobile optimization as something special or something incremental that we charge for. It’s included with all the services that we do because it’s where your guests are going today. In balance to that, there’s another new channel and new trend and that is social. Facebook, initially of course, was a bunch of college kids on campuses collaborating around something new, this digital club or tribe. It has morphed into a juggernaut. In fact, one of the statistics that I really love about Facebook is that if Facebook were a country, only India and China would be bigger.
You’ve got a very interesting billion person base of users that are now starting to use Facebook to ask friends and family, “Where should I go when I travel? What should I do when I’m traveling?” Your properties are certainly on Facebook in some way. In a very short order very easily they can actually start to book rooms with you on Facebook.
Here we see an example of what Facebook looks like in the wild where on a home page of Facebook your guests can be one click away from clicking into not only seeing more about the rooms, but actually clicking right into the BookingCenter environment to book with you directly. Most analysts in the industry believe about 10% of all digital traffic to inns, hotels, lodges, getaways is coming from Facebook today. That’s something that is also a part of a digital marketing system.
What I wanted to do now was show you a little bit about how this all works in the wild. I’d like to do that with a couple of live examples. This is a lovely property here in Washington State called the Adrift Hotel. The Adrift Hotel is collaborating both with buuteeq and with BookingCenter. Let me show you the buuteeq piece first and then we’ll talk about how we really leverage or two technologies and two companies for your benefit for more direct bookings.
Here we see this nice deployment. It’s really leveraging photos to share the story of the property. As we said, 7.5 times out of 10, a guest is going to click on rooms. When a guest clicks on rooms, they are presented with very clear, actionable information that allows them on one single page, which is the best design practice, to search for rooms that might be interesting.
Let’s say that I’m interested in this ocean view, deluxe, queen room. I’m able to toggle through a nice slide show to gain a sense of the fit and finish of the design of the room. I’m also able to look at more info on the room. Again, one click away from the home page we are able to compare rooms. This is something that guests will love because they want to know how big is the room, what kinds of amenities it has vis a vis all the other rooms. This is something we allow for very easily and very simply.
The next place where guests are likely to click is on location. If I like what I see in the rooms, there is a very high probability I’m going to ask, “Okay, what is to do in and around this? Is it part of the destination that I want to go to?” Here again we see the ability for you as the owner/operator to curate everything on a map just as you curate everything in the rooms portfolio. Then finally the ability to show nice photos or to show completely customizable custom articles that could be activities to do in and around the area, more photos, more of the story of what you want to tell is all highly customizable with the digital marketing system. Here you’ll notice there is a lot of bicycle culture on the Washington coast. We have a nice locally shot video. Videos, text, all those assets are laced very elegantly and very easily together in this site.
Working with the buuteeq digital marketing system, it takes about half a day to transform a static website into a mobile-optimized, conversion-centric, analytics-at-your-fingertips experience and a digital marketing system that is live for your guests to experience easily.
We talked about mobile. Just to show that superfast, here I’m going to munge this together so you can see what it would look like on a mobile device. This is a mobile-optimized experience where we have a nice, rich photo asset. All the rooms are easily clickable not with tediously looking at your fingers. It’s one thumb click away as we say in the mobile word. We optimize for mobile that way.
The guest experience becomes more rich as I start to get into the booking environment. Here we start to marry the power of BookingCenter and the elegance of buuteeq. When a guest clicks on “Book Now,” this is a new set of dates that I want. Let’s say that I want to go July 13th and 14th, sort of after the holiday. This is BookingCenter in all the inventory management that you’ve come to know and love over time, with a very guest-oriented, user-friendly user interface that allows guests to really continue to be sold on the room and all the things that you can do in and around the hotel, to select a room, to maybe pick additional packages and add-ons that they would like, and then to go seamlessly into the booking environment.
This is product integration and design integration that BookingCenter and buuteeq have collaborated on together to reduce breakage and improve conversion. That’s something when you choose to work with both buuteeq and BookingCenter you get. That’s something that very few other booking engines are able to do with buuteeq, this kind of stylized, very conversion-centric experience for guests that’s really important. One way or another you are paying with time, money, and effort to get guests into your booking environment. You want to make sure they can book. It’s very important.
Now what I’d like to show before we take it back to some topical questions that are coming in from the audience is the ability to really look at analytics and how to manage content seamlessly and easily. This is a customer that we have partnered with that’s given us permission to share their analytics. You can see that not only you can look at where the sources of traffic are coming from, but you can also take a look and see on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis. This is all highly optimized just for hospitality in the digital marketing system, the ability to see where your conversion traffic is coming from. Then finally you can take a look to see bookings, how many reservations were made, what the average night’s stay is, what’s the average book rate is, what rooms people have booked actually, and what search terms drew them to your site. This is a very important part of content management system. Here we call this Back Office.
Again, you can do this from an iPad. You do this from a new Microsoft Surface. Before working at buuteeq and founding buuteeq, I was actually a product manager on Microsoft Surface so it’s nice to see the news coming out this week. You can manage it from any connected device in the cloud. You can manage this very, very easily.
I’ll just show you with a demo account what this will look like. If I have a hotel and I wanted to manage the location of something in and around the hotel, I might manage a new category called restaurants. I might search for a restaurant here in the digital marketing system. I’m going to pick something local here to Seattle.
While we’re doing this there are a couple of questions that are coming along the way that I’m happy to answer. While we’re going into this, one question that’s come up is, “I get a new website. I get a mobile-optimized website. I get this Facebook presence…” I’ll show you what this looks like on Facebook as we’re doing this. “How much does this all cost?” We charge, like a lot of cloud-based solutions, this is a yearly fee.
This is what this looks like on Facebook. Someone had asked in the audience today what the Facebook deployment looks like. Here is a nice hotel that has all their marketing assets here one click away from their home page on Facebook, including the ability to book online and make reservations. You can see that.
We charge a yearly subscription fee and we do that based on the number of rooms. When a hotel or an inn is interested in working with us, one of the first things we do to answer that question about what are the costs is to understand how much revenue we can generate in direct bookings.
Let’s pick a nice 50-room buuteeq hotel. Let’s say that the average rate is about $200 a night and guests are staying a little bit more than two nights, as is the industry average. The occupancy rate is a nice healthy 70%, a little bit of seasonality in there. They’re doing about 20% of their bookings directly online, an important channel. In that scenario, on a monthly basis, there is about $90,000 of revenue that is unrealized. If I have a nice small inn or a B&B, we take it down to five rooms and it’s about $9,000. Either way, that’s real money.
Now we start to think about how we can improve your business with the digital marketing system. Typically, for a property of that size with that much fallow inventory that is not being marketed and sold, we would, in the worst case scenario, increase occupancy about 2%. Usually it goes up to about 4% or 5%. We do that by driving more traffic and converting that traffic on your new website.
Let’s stay still with the disaster, worst case scenario. That’s about $72,000 of incremental yearly revenue that we would be driving for you for a yearly investment, that ranges in size of rooms, from about $3,000 up to $10,000 depending on the size of the property and number of rooms. We think about order of magnitude return on investment for that yearly subscription.
Someone else has asked, “Well, I paid once for my website. Why should I pay you every year?” The answer is you actually don’t pay once for your website today. For a static website, there are ongoing maintenance costs to make changes to that site. Again, we’ll revert to the slide show here. To make changes that are actually relevant, like you want to run a timely promotion or you want to get ready for a Groupon or Living Social event that you’re running, typically there are fees associated with it. There are also maintenance fees. If you want to make a change and mobile optimize, that costs something extra. If you want to optimize for Facebook, that costs something extra.
In contrast with a digital marketing system, beyond the flat fee that buuteeq and BookingCenter take on for the digital marketing piece and the booking solution piece respectively, you’re going monetize all the additional traffic and conversion that’s coming to you directly. That’s an important distinction on cloud-based digital marketing systems from standard sort of doing it the old way, the static way, slow complex expensive way.
Just looking more at a couple of other questions. We have Jason and Jason on the line. I’ve been talking for a little bit of time here. Jason and Jason, do you guys want to add some comments or insights to what we’ve been going through today? A-Okay from Jason and Jason in Nova Scotia and in California.
Another question that’s come up is not so much the how much does it cost and why, but how hard is this to do? It’s actually quite simple to do. One of the things that we’ve enjoyed in buuteeq and collaborating with BookingCenter is that it’s very easy for a buuteeq customer that’s already live and up and running and enjoying all of this to get up and running with BookingCenter and vice versa. It takes really about half a day of work to move photos, to move location, points of interest and other pieces of data and content that are going to be really compelling to guests over into our system. Then our system is securely hosted with Amazon. That allows for security. It allows for speed. It allows for elegance. It’s a better, safer, faster environment whether it’s mobile, social, or web to have guests experience your brand. It takes about half a day of your time to get up and running.
Once you’re up and running, one of the nice things about a digital marketing system versus the old way of doing it is when you want to make a change, it could be a photo on the home page, it could be a new point of interest like a coffee shop, a restaurant, a museum, or a cultural point of interest that is not far away from where you are, all of that is very easy to change, enhance, and improve. In retrospect, you can really make it easy for you to make changes on an ongoing bases.
Jason and Jason, now that I’ve unmuted you, apologies for that, now you can make some comments on what we’ve seen this morning and afternoon depending on where you are.
Jason B: Not a problem at all. That’s great. I don’t know if the questions have come across yet, but basically I’m assuming a question might come about of how is the integration from buuteeq to BookingCenter and the cost and so on. Again, it’s very seamless. There’s nothing you really need to do if you currently have BookingCenter booking engine. The cost stays exactly the same. Nothing changes there. It seamlessly integrates for you on your behalf.
Adam: That’s right.
Jason B: The point is there is nothing you really need to do, which is great.
Adam: Yeah. It’s very easy. In fact, let’s just show that as a concluding point for the session today. A great point, Jason. There’s no extra cost beyond what you’re already paying for BookingCenter too. There’s a yearly subscription with Bouuteeq and that’s very much based on the ROI that we are delivering for you on size of rooms. Happy to talk with you more about that off line.
Here when we see what reservation system you choose with buuteeq as a BookingCenter customer, you’ll go into a third party CRS. BookingCenter is the default. You have a set of very clear and discoverable site IDs and chain codes that BookingCenter will help you administer, connect, and then you’re up and running. Your guests will love you for it because they not only find you more easily with buuteeq, have a super compelling experience on what room to book, but also when you book now, you are enjoying that elegant presentation layer of buuteeq. These are days that the hotel is full, which is great. Good for them. When I pick the days that I want, I’m in an elegant system that has the brawn and the might and the 20 years of experience that BookingCenter has all laced together with this nice presentation. That is a great point. Very seamless, easy-to-do integration.
Well, this is a short and sweet webinar today. We’re going to be doing a series of these talking about different topics over time. Next week, we have what I call the home and away series going on with buuteeq and with BookingCenter. buuteeq is going to be presenting on Tuesday and BookingCenter is going to be presenting on Wednesday. We’re looking forward to that.
I’m going to sign off now. It’s Adam, again, saying thanks so much for taking time. I totally appreciate it wherever you are in the great world of ours. Special thanks to Jason and Jason. We’ll look forward to doing this again and taking on more questions. Just send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’re very happy to follow up with you. Thanks so much. we appreciate it.
Jason B: Thank you very much.
Jason A: Thank you.