FastBooking comes to Southern Africa

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Paris, France and Johannesburg, South Africa; November 4, 2011

The uncontested leader in maximizing direct website bookings for independent hotels is working with John McMillan and Suzette Bouwer of Keychain Hospitality to bring its world-renowned e-marketing and technology solutions to the Southern Africa hospitality market.

Eleven years ago, FastBooking revolutionized online hotel booking with the industry’s most powerful booking engine and a unique performance-based payment model.

Today, together with Keychain Hospitality, FastBooking is making its technology and expertise available to hotels in Southern Africa. That the firm’s 7,000 hotel clients in 91 countries booked 4 million room nights in 2011 attests to the success of FastBooking’s steadfast vision, its insistence on building lasting partnerships with client hotels, and its continuously expanding suite of e-marketing and technology solutions.

Soraya Kefs, FastBooking CEO and Founder, explains, “FastBooking puts the hotel website at the heart of the hotel’s online strategy. Everything we do focuses on increasing direct online bookings. We also believe that simply providing technology isn’t sufficient. We act as a partner to our clients; we accompany them and advise them on how to optimize their revenues. Our clients know they can count on us for results because our compensation is directly related to how well we promote their hotel brand and increase their online bookings. Hence, our performance-based business model. Keychain Hospitality is our choice of a partner in Southern Africa because of their experience and because they share this philosophy. ”

John McMillan, Managing Partner of Keychain Hospitality, points out an article in August on the Gateway Travel and Tourism Conference site1 that came down hard on hoteliers in the region in terms of online marketing capabilities and e-commerce facilities.

 “With FastBooking, we know we’re working with the world’s best partner to give hoteliers in this market the tools they need to succeed online.

Increase visibility and potential bookings

Improving a hotel’s visibility begins by improving its natural ranking on the search results page of key search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing…). FastBooking creates easy-to-navigate, e-commerce-oriented websites with high natural referencing (SEO) results.

FastBooking further improves the hotel website’s visibility through its Traffic Builder distribution programs. Fastbooking Traffic Builder a three-pronged approach to reaching millions of highly qualified travelers worldwide:

  • Hotel-specific promotion campaigns on the main search engines and travel sites. FastBooking runs successful SEM campaigns for its hotel clients, with a key difference: FastBooking invests its own money in the SEM campaign; hoteliers do not pay in advance for them. FastBooking assumes the risk and the hotel pays a commission only after a guest captured on the Internet stays at their establishment.
  • Referencing the hotel on FastBooking booking portals. FastBooking.com, Collection-Hotels.com and destination-specific sites attract over 1 million unique visitors each month. Only FastBooking clients are referenced on these sites and the entire program is financed by FastBooking. Again, hotel clients pays a commission only after a guest captured on the Internet stays at their establishment.
  • Partnerships with more than 60 of the leading consumer tourism and travel websites selected for their quality and complementary geographic markets, FastBooking partnerships to ensure worldwide coverage. These partners increase visibility of the hotel website and attract more than 100 million unique qualified visitors every month bringing additional sales to hotels.

The FastBooking partnership with Hotels4U and a recently announced agreement with Travelport are examples of continuing efforts to increase FastBooking hotel clients’ visibility among travel agents, still considered a high-potential sector.  These partnerships are coherent with the firm’s strategy of developing a quality distribution network for its hotel clients by working with strong international partners.

A key feature of the FastBooking Traffic Builder programs is a link from FastBooking portals or partners sites to the hotel’s official website. FastBooking is the only provider to offer this feature. This unique function increases traffic to the hotel’s official website, enhances the brand, and ensures direct contact with hotel client (an important element for improving loyalty and repeat bookings).

We have always been convinced that the hotel’s most profitable distribution channel is their official website. The focus of our efforts has been–and continues to be–increasing the bookings via this channel,” says Soraya Kefs.

Recently, FastBooking announced another worldwide innovation and FastBooking exclusive, FastBooking Direct Link, a new service linking popular travel and price comparison sites directly to the rates on the official hotel website. The partner’s website links to a special rate results page on the hotel official website. This page displays the results of the request made by the web user on the partner site.

Increase conversion and profits

FastBooking pioneered the four-step booking process with the FastBooking Engine in 2000, and this booking engine has become the industry reference for high performance online booking technology:

  • 30 languages and 62 currencies for users to select from when making their reservations.
  • Four step booking process.
  • Multiple rooms bookings for separate dates at the same time.
  • Industry record conversion rate.
  • Lightening speed display of rates and availabilities.
  • Advanced reporting tools to keep track of Key Performance Indicators.

The FastBooking Engine melds seamlessly into the hotel website and with the hotel brand and graphic codes (white labeled). “Internet users only see the hotel’s brand name, never that of a 3rd party,” says John McMillan.

Internet users can reserve all the hotel’s products via the same reservation system: rooms, restaurants, spa, golf, and entertainment….increasing customer satisfaction and generating more revenue opportunities for the hotel. It offers unique cross selling functions.

Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research recently published a study showing that ‘people spend an enormous amount of time researching hotels, performing as many as 150 searches or visiting travel-related sites in excess of 50 times.’

 “These people are on a mission! If they can’t find what they’re looking for on a hotel’s website, they’ll disappear, never to return,” says Soraya Kefs.

FastBooking recently added new features and functionalities to the FastBooking Engine with the announcement of the general availability of FastBooking Engine Lux, giving hoteliers a choice of FastBooking Classic or Lux front ends.

FastBooking Engine Lux takes hotel online booking to the next level, enhancing customers’ online booking experience and offering  new options to better fit the hotelier’s needs, in particular those of the luxury hotel market,” says Soraya Kefs.

Among dramatic new features–and a world-wide exclusive to FastBooking Engine Lux–flexible offer displays let users toggle between ‘Display by’ based on price or room type. This improves purchasing decisions without changing the existing booking flow to maintain high conversion rates.

Improve the hotel’s competitive position 

Rate benchmarking and automatic 3rd party channel updates give FastBooking hotel clients an added advantage in the market.

  • FastBooking Checker is a market analysis tool that monitors competitors’ websites as well as third-party Internet portals in real time and presents current competitive pricing and any available inventory allocation information on a single, easy to understand screen. Hoteliers save precious time each day and receive essential information to help adjust pricing for maximum profitability.
  • FastBooking Updater is an Internet-based channel management solution that automatically updates rates and availability on all the websites that distribute a hotel’s inventory (Expedia, Lastminute.com, Booking.com, Venere….) including the hotel’s own website and GDS.

“The hospitality industry is facing major challenges. It’s important to stay abreast of rapidly moving trends, focus on initiatives that generate direct online bookings and remain flexible to adjust hotel online marketing campaigns for the best results. To do this Southern African hoteliers need an experienced, innovative partner,” says John McMillan. “That should be FastBooking.”

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Published on: November 4, 2011
Author:
FASTBOOKING’s e-commerce solutions will help your hotel increase profit through a direct sales strategy.

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