HERA NEWS: HERA connects your offline channels with your hotel software

Do you also receive a lot of booking notifications from partners who do not have a direct interface to your hotel software, e.g. Secret Escapes? Do you have to enter every single booking manually into your hotel system?

From now on, HERA will process and enter these bookings for you.  She recognises the booking notifications, reads the data and transfers it automatically to your hotel system (PMS or CRS).

This means you no longer have to enter these bookings manually, but only confirm via the HERA add-in! This saves you a lot of time and errors when entering the data.

So you can also easily connect new partners, e.g. tour operators, who do not have an interface to your hotel software.

We can make good use of that at the moment – every booking counts.
And without more effort for the reservation department. Great – isn’t it?

And best of all, this is included in your monthly subscription.

By the way, as part of HERA’s fully automated services, there is also the possibility to transfer the booking messages into your hotel system without any human assistance.  Unlike the add-in, where the booking is transferred after confirmation by the reservation agent, here everything happens fully automatically, upon receipt of the email.

Be curious, this is just the beginning and a small part of HERA’s fully automated features.

If you are interested, just write an email to cs@hotelresbot.com and send us an example of the booking notifications you want HERA to process.

And we’re ready to go!

HERA NEWS: HERA verbindet eure offline Kanäle mit eurer Hotelsoftware

Bekommt ihr auch jede Menge Buchungsmitteilungen von Partnern, die keine direkte Schnittstelle zu eurer Hotelsoftware haben z.B. Secret Escapes? Müsst ihr jede einzelne Buchung manuell in euer Hotelsystem eingeben?

Ab sofort übernimmt HERA die  Bearbeitung und Eingabe dieser Buchungen für Euch.  Sie erkennt die Buchungsmitteilungen, liest die Daten aus und überträgt sie dann automatisch in euer Hotelsystem (PMS oder CRS).

Somit müsst ihr diese Buchungen nicht mehr manuell bearbeiten, sondern nur im HERA Add-in bestätigen!!! Das spart euch jede Menge Zeit und Fehler bei der Eingabe.

Somit könnt ihr auch ganz einfach neue Partner z.B. Veranstalter anbinden, die keine Schnittstelle zu eurer Hotelsoftware haben.
Das können wir ja momentan gut gebrauchen , denn jede Buchung zählt.
Und das ohne mehr Aufwand für die Reservierungsabteilung. Super – oder?

Und das allerbeste ist, dies ist inklusive in eurem monatlichem Abo.

Übrigens, als Teil von HERAs vollautomatisierten Services gibt es auch die Möglichkeit die Buchungsmitteilungen, ganz ohne menschliche Unterstützung, in euer Hotelsystem zu übertragen.  Anders als beim Add-In, wo die Buchung nach Bestätigung durch den Reservierungsmitarbeiter übertragen wird,  geht hier alles vollautomatisch, bei Eingang der Email.

Seid gespannt, das ist erst der Anfang und einer kleiner Teil von HERAs vollautomatischen Fähigkeiten.

Wenn ihr Interesse habt schreibt einfach eine Mail an cs@hotelresbot.com und schickt uns ein Beispiel der Buchungsbenachrichtigungen, die HERA bearbeiten soll,  mit.

Schon kann es losgehen!

HERA NEWS: Automatic signature of your offers (e-mail signature)

Your wishes have been heard! From now on you can choose your name and position from a drop-down menu!

You can create the list for all agents who work with the add-in. So you don’t have to type it in every time.

Again, HERA saves you a few seconds of boring data entry!

HERA Add-In Agent Name and Titeland Titel
HERA Add-In

You can easily create the list on the intranet.

HERA Intranet Entry
HERA Intranet

Select ‘Reservation Agent Names’ to access the configuration sheet where you can create your list of names and titles.

HERA Intranet Namen und Titel eingeben
Configuration sheet

And that’s it.

HERA NEWS: HERA recognises special requests now

From now on, HERA recognises when a guest has a special room request, e.g. room with sea view or a special package.
An example:

HERA request for special amenities
sample request

HERA detects Champagne, sea view and the dog. She filters the room types and rates and automatically suggests the matching offers in the add-in.

This saves you a lot of time when creating and sending offers to your guests.

HERA Add-In offer selection
HERA add-in

To activate this new function, you just create the respective features for each room type and rate.

Please login to the intranet, select ‘Rooms’ and ‘Rates’ and simply click on the amenities in the ‘Configuration Sheet’.

HERA intranet
Intranet

Currently only a few amenities have been created, if you need more  please send a message to cs@hotelresbot.com and tell us which ones you would like us to create.

That’s all!

HERA NEWS: HERA can now detect guest names from e-mail text

If guest names are mentioned in an e-mail request, HERA recognises them automatically.

HERA email guest name recognition
Sample request

This means you have to enter even less data manually and can send e-mail offers much faster.

This is especially useful for requests where the booker is asking for a confirmation.  Without even entering the guest names, the Reservation Agent can push the booking directly into the PMS and have the right profile attached.

Screenshot with Guest Names
HERA Page with Name Recognition

It’s even better for hotels that use the “HERA Booking Page” for the guest to confirm their booking.  The Guest names will automagically appear on the booking page, so the guest has an even smoother booking experience and does not need to enter the names again.

HERA NEWS: Automatische Signatur der Angebote (E-Mail Signatur)

Eure Wünsche wurden erhört! Somit könnt ihr ab jetzt euren Namen und die Position aus einem Drop-down Menü auswählen!

Ihr könnt die Liste für alle Mitarbeiter, die mit dem Add-In arbeiten,  erstellen. Somit müsst ihr es nicht mehr jedes mal eintippen.

Wieder erspart euch HERA ein paar Sekunden langweilige Dateneingabe!

HERA Add-In Agent Name and Titel

Die Liste legt ihr ganz einfach im Intranet an.

HERA Intranet Entry

Unter ‘Reservation-Agent Names’ gelangt ihr in das Configuration Sheet und dort könnt ihr eure Liste mit den Namen sowie dem Titeln anlegen.

HERA Intranet Namen und Titel eingeben

Das war es auch schon.

HERA NEWS: HERA erkennt jetzt Sonderwünsche

Ab sofort erkennt HERA, wenn ein Gast einen Sonderwunsch hat  z.B. ein Zimmer mit  besonderer Ausstattung oder ein spezielles Package anfragt.
Ein Beispiel:

HERA request for special amenities

HERA erkennt Champagne, Meerblick sowie den Hund. Sie filtert die Zimmertypen und Raten und schlägt euch automatisch die passenden Angebote im Add-In vor. 

Das spart euch viel Zeit  beim Erstellen und Versenden von Angeboten an eure Gäste.

HERA Add-In offer selection

Um diese neue Funktion zu aktivieren, müsst  ihr pro Zimmertyp und Rate die jeweiligen Merkmale anlegen. 

Dazu loggt ihr euch ins Intranet ein, wählt  ‘Rooms’ und ‘Rates’ und könnt im ‘Configuration Sheet’  die Amenities einfach anklicken.  

Bisher sind nur ein paar wenige angelegt, wenn ihr mehr Amenities zur Auswahl benötigt, schreibt bitte eine Nachricht an cs@hotelresbot.com und sagt uns, welche wir anlegen sollen.  

 

Why Hotels Should Use AB Testing To Drive Direct Bookings

If you asked me two years ago if hotels need to use A/B Testing I probably would have given an answer like I hear today from a lot of Hoteliers:

“A/B Testing for hotels is useful I am sure, but it seems complicated and expensive so it is probably most applicable for big hotel chains.”

 

I was dead wrong!

 

A/B Testing For Every Hotel

A/B Testing is easy, cheap and makes sense for even the smallest of hotels.  Let me tell you why.

 

Before we go any further, let me tell you that Hotel Res Bot does NOT provide A/B testing tools for your website.  Hotel Res Bot uses A/B Testing on behalf of our clients within our automated email platform.  We help our clients develop different email templates that our Hotel Email Reservation Assistant Bot (Hera Bot) uses to send out offers.  Every open, click and booking is tracked as part of our A/B Testing process.

 

A/B Testing Results
Sample A/B Testing Results by Variant for Hotel Bookings

What is A/B Testing?

A/B Testing is using the scientific method to see if changes you make to most commonly your website, are effective in generating more bookings.  Simply put, in addition to the “Champion” or current “A” version of your website, you create a “Challenger” version called the “B variant”.

Then, you test the variants against each other by sending a random 50% of the website visitors to the “A Variant” 50% to the “B Variant”.  This is perfect when you are planning a new website.  It allows you to compare the conversion figures and see if your new website actually helps you get more bookings; or as is too often the case; less bookings.

 

How much does AB Testing Cost?

In addition to some free tools and free trials, a basic A/B Testing tool which also hosts the pages for you can run something like 99 USD a month.  If we assume a new hotel website starts at 5.000 EUR, we are talking about less than 2% of the overall cost.

Unbounce
Unbounce Offering

 

If you can get 1 additional booking by testing that could cover the entire cost of a basic testing platform. Of course, because A/B Testing is so critical for all ecommerce companies there are more powerful and more expensive platforms out there which you can grow into; depending on your needs.

 

A/B Testing is Easy

Don’t let anyone tell you that A/B Testing is hard to do.  It’s not.  Anyone who thinks that it is hard to do, probably hasn’t tried it yet.  It is easier than you think.  With the A/B Testing platform we use we can create a new dynamic (optimized for desktop and mobile) webpage in minutes.  It automatically tracks all conversions and even does the math to let you know when the difference is the conversion difference is real or just based on chance.

 

Changing Without Testing Is Insane

When you think about it, it is completely crazy to spend €10.000 EUR or more on a new website and then just release it; without seeing if it converts better than your previous one.  The same thing goes for replacing your booking engine.

Can anyone tell me why hotels don’t test the new booking engine vs the old one to see which one converts better?  Just because you used a respectable agency and selected a well known internet booking engine does not mean that your conversion will increase.  All too often conversion actually decreases.  But this is often even not seen, because we are looking at the wrong numbers.

AB Testing Process
A/B Testing Process

 Cohort Analysis

When implementing a new booking engine most hotels tend to focus on total booking numbers.  The ongoing trend toward online bookings means that we should expect growth on the booking engine.  Additionally, seasonality can completely skew the numbers.  Cohort analysis is the solution to this problem.

 

It is critical to avoid the temptation of lying to yourself with top line figures.  You need to look at each day, week or month as a separate group and compare the conversion on website A vs. website B.  If you don’t break down into time periods, you could easily skew the data.

 

The HiPPO Problem

Without A/B Testing, design topics tend to dominated by the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO).  Like a hippopotomus, they tend to throw their weight around and usually they get their way.  Unfortunately, your HiPPO looks nothing like the market segment you are focussing on.  Or said another way, the overlap of your customer’s needs and what your HiPPO thinks is usually nothing.

 

I have been both the HiPPO and the person trying to convine a HiPPO and both positions are uneviable.

 

HiPPOs usually have become successful by being able to make decisions in the face of uncertainty.  To be successful in the future, HiPPOs have to change the way they think.  They need to go from DECIDING WHICH solution wins, to generating new ideas to test and implementing them.

 

OTAs Use AB Testing

I can tell you from my own experience.  The bad news is that your favourite design will rarely be the one that achieves the highest conversion.  If you want proof of this – just look at Booking.com.  I don’t know anyone that says the like the “look” of the interface.  But I can guarantee you, Booking.com is contantly testing the conversion impact of changes.  Their website is the result of the best converting design.  Is it a work of art? No – it the most powerful hotel booking converting machine ever created.  Built by A/B Testing; not by a HiPPO.

 

How Powerful is A/B Testing?

When I build my first ResBot I was extremely dissapointed with the results.  Less than 1/3 of the people that started interacting with bot were able to complete their request.  This was a small catastrophe and we needed to fix the problem; immediately.

 

One of my co-founders suggested Unbounce as a landing page platform with built in A/B Testing capabilities.  Within 2 days we had migrated out bot to Unbounce and began testing variants.  Although the journey took many trips through the A/B Testing Process before we were anything close to satisfied, it was immediately apparent that we were able to dramatically change the conversion with extremely minimal design changes.

 

We were able to move from under 30% to over 95% conversion.  This translated into a 270%+ increase in revenue.

 

AB Testing For Hotels With Minimal Design Changes

We brainstormed a ton of ideas and tested many of them.  The changes with the biggest impact were things like:

  • The colour of the booking button (red is bad, green for example is good)
  • The length of the text (the shorter the better as long as critical information is not missing)
  • “Du” vs. “Sie” (German informal or formal word for “You”) for our Bot “Du” converted better
  • With pictures or without (with was better)

 

Hotels Need To Start A/B Testing

Hotels need to start using this powerful tool that OTAs have been using for years.  If hotels continue to ignore A/B Testing it is akin to just giving the OTAs the keys of the kingdom.  OTAs now represent 29% of European Hotel Revenue up from 22% in 2013 (according to Roland Schegg’s 2018 European Hotel Distribution Study available for download at e-tourism monitor).

 

Based on the success we have had using A/B Testing for Hotel ResBot, it would be crazy for a hotel to implement a new website, or a new booking engine without testing.  In fact, we don’t make ANY changes without testing anymore and I hope you do the same in the future.

 

About Hotel Res Bot

Hotel Res Bot does not provide generic A/B Testing services for websites.  We do passionately believe in helping hotels drive their direct distribution.  A/B is a tool that Hoteliers and especially their agency and booking engine partners need to start using if they want effectively compete against the OTAs.

We believe in AB Testing so strongly that we made it a core part of our Hotel Email Reservation Assistant Bot (HeraBot).  HeraBot automatically reads and responds to email booking request with perfectly formatted emails; within seconds.  Combined with A/B testing, hotels can not save time and money by automating their email booking processes, but increase revenue through improved conversion.  For more information check out our website.

 

Credits

User Testing by Sharon Showalter from the Noun Project

Screen Capture Unbounce courtesy of Unbounce

A/B Testing Process by Hotel ResBot

Sample A/B Testing Results by Hotel Res Bot