Best of 2018: The new tools every hotelier should use

Yes - this is an end of year ‘best of’ blog. You probably guessed that from the title. But the difference between this end of year blog and all the other end of year blogs that are landing in your inbox right now is that this one isn’t going to go on and on about how busy we’ve been. We know hoteliers will have been busier. That’s why we’ve put together a quick overview of all the most useful new tools and features that you might have missed this year.

Everything on the list is designed to make it quicker and simpler to bring the right customers to your website, give them a fantastic online experience and learn from your data to ensure you keep getting better. That means more direct bookings for you, a better service for your guests and a clearer understanding of the best direct strategy for your hotel.

So - because we know you might have missed the odd Triptease product release this year - here’s a quick recap of the tools that successful hotels really should be using in 2019.

Bring the right traffic to your website with Guest Acquisition

Google Hotel Ads has fundamentally changed the way hotels are booked online. Google searches now account for 67% of customer journeys originating online, making metasearch is a critical battleground for hotels looking to drive direct. Unfortunately, OTAs continue to have the advantage when competing in meta auctions. Being masters of data, they can combine information about customer lifetime value, engagement level and market parity rates to impact their bid levels and win bookings every time.

While hotels rarely have the budget or scale to compete with this sophisticated, algorithmic approach, the use of parity data, guest behavioural data and booking data could see them bidding successfully on the right traffic for their business and winning direct bookings as a result. That’s why Triptease launched Guest Acquisition. Guest Acquisition calculates the potential value of a guest and the probability of them converting to make smarter decisions on how to spend in metasearch.

Try new Notifications, Nudge and Pricing Undercut Messages

You’ve probably noticed that at Triptease we test new products pretty thoroughly before we add them to the platform. We prefer to give our clients the right tools to drive revenue, rather than a long list of features they’ll probably never use. So this year after proper research and lots of user testing we made a range of new message types available to hotels.

In addition to displaying Full Screen messages on exit, you can now:

  • Display a more subtle Nudge Message to guests either when they arrive on your website or after a timed delay.
  • Set Notifications live in seconds to let customers know your exact location, and how many people are currently searching on your website.
  • Use a Pricing Undercut Message which will appear on your website in the instances when Price Check doesn’t because you’re being undercut by an OTA.

There’ll be lots more exciting developments in website messaging next year too, so keep an eye on the Product Updates page to be first to know…

Create targeted messages straight from your data insights

We’ve designed the Insights Dashboard to be a place where you can take instant actions to increase your website conversions and revenue based on the data you see there. We don’t think it’s right to provide you with a whole load of data without making it clear how you can put those metrics to good use.

In September this year we added the ability to click a button and create a targeted message straight from the Performance by visitor country data table in the Insights Dashboard. This means hoteliers can identify high (or low) value geographical audiences that they might want to target with a specific direct booking offer, then create a message with the relevant targeting specifications in place and ready to go.

We followed that up just this month with Search lead time targeting too. It’s now just as simple to target customers based on the lead time of their search. In practice that means if you notice that you have a large number of customers searching within a certain number of days of their check in date but those people aren’t converting, you can create a message pre-populated with the relevant advanced or last-minute targeting specifications.

This is just the very beginning of the instant actions you’ll be able to take straight from the Insights Dashboard. We’d love to know what functionality you’d like to see next so get in touch and let us know!

Message the right audiences with new targeting options

In September this year we set our engineers a challenge. We took a look at the feature requests we’d been getting from Triptease clients and realised that there were a range of Message Porter targeting specifications that our partner hotels were keen to be able to use. The Message Porter team reviewed that list and within six working days our customers had access to six new targeting specifications: New vs returning visitors, US state, referral URL, Check-in day of the week and URL contains. You can read more about all of those updates here.

Switch on an automated live chat assistant that’s more effective than a human

We know that hoteliers don’t always have time to answer the questions they receive via Front Desk live chat. That’s why we created an automated live chat assistant to answer all your frequently asked questions for you.

This year we worked hard to ensure that the automated assistant was just as effective as your reservations team - and with the automated assistant now able to answer more than 70% of a hotel’s frequently asked questions instantly we’re pleased to announce that it is now more effective than human staff using the Triptease Platform. Capture leads while you sleep and remove any blockers guests might face on the path to booking on your website - with no additional staff required.

Benchmark your performance against similar hotels

Back to Insights Dashboard again where another hotly-requested feature began to take shape in 2018. We think all hotels should have access to detailed benchmarking data via the Triptease Platform. Knowing how your hotel is doing is useful, but when you know how you compare to other hotels you get a much clearer view of what you might need to improve.

We started by providing Searcher conversion rate benchmarking back in September, but things started to get really interesting over the past few weeks when we started to add additional comparison categories including ADR benchmarking and benchmarking by hotel country. This means hotels can now compare their own data with our global data set as well as hotels within a particular country or with a certain ADR. And again this is just the start. We’ll be adding new comparison sets very soon - so please let us know what would be most useful for your hotel.

Request payment card details within Front Desk

Hotels see an increased conversion rate when their potential guests have a conversation via Front Desk. This year we decided to help those conversations go a step further by giving hoteliers the ability to request payment card details within Front Desk.

This means one less barrier to booking for the guest. It also means hoteliers can be safe in the knowledge that they’re PCI compliant. The card details are available for 72 hours only - after that they are wiped from the PCI-compliant storage system.

Create your own custom message designs

We originally built Message Porter with standardized designs so that any hotel could create customizable website messages in minutes - but we understand that many hotels want access to change everything from the colors and fonts to the size and shape of their messages. That’s why you can also upload your own custom graphics as an alternative to our pre-built message types.

Download disparity screenshots for a range of OTAs

The first step in any direct booking strategy is taking control of your parity. That’s why we kicked off 2018 with a full redesign of the Triptease Disparity Dungeon to make it easier for hoteliers to use. We also took some big steps forward in terms of the functionality available to hotels by adding new OTAs including Agoda and Traveloka.

Additionally, because Agoda often change their prices in an irregular fashion, it becomes very difficult for hoteliers to replicate the disparities. That’s why we’ve also added screenshot functionality for Agoda and a range of other OTAs, so that you’ll have proof that the disparity occurred even if you can no longer replicate it yourself.

Create campaigns in multiple languages instantly

Many of our clients have websites that are available in multiple languages. That meant that when it came to creating targeted messages they would have to build the same message manually several times to appear on each version of their website. This also made it harder to track the success of the message, because the data for one direct booking campaign would be spread across all those different versions.

We’re constantly looking to simplify the process of optimizing your website, so we removed the language targeting option and replaced it with a brand new automatic translation function, powered by Google Translate. You can now replicate the same message to suit different language versions of your website instantly, and your performance across all those versions will be measured as one in the Message Monitor.

We’d love to know which of these new features you’ve tried this year and how they’ve worked out for you. And of course if you have questions about the Triptease product our team of Direct Booking Coaches are always here with tailored advice to optimize our tools for your hotel. Here’s to supercharging your direct channel in 2019.

About The Author

Holly is Brand & Product Marketing Manager at Triptease.