Once we have analysed what instant booking is and how it compares to Business Listings and TripConnect CPC, we move on to analysing the many questions that this new product comes with.
- Will it be available in all markets? For now, instant booking is available only for users in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, although TripAdvisor will release it for the remaining markets in the next few months. If you cannot see it yet, do not worry.
UPDATE June 2016: Instant Booking is available in most countries worldwide.
- Can I put my “direct sale” connected to instant booking? Yes. All you need is a certified partner such as Mirai. You can see the full partner list here.
- If I don’t connect to instant booking, do I miss out on sales? No. The bookings will still arrive via the OTAs. However, you will lose out on a chance to gain direct sales quota against the OTAs.
- Is it really direct sale? Depending on how you look at it. If a client books on instant booking and therefore never visits the hotel website, he will probably maintain the conviction that he has booked “on TripAdvisor”. Also, for potential customer loyalty actions, the client’s data will be shared between TripAdvisor and the hotel. On the other hand, you can consider it a direct sale because it is not done through an OTA.
- Is it a site reserved for the hotel website or can OTAs take part too? It is open to all those who want to show their rates, including, and much to the hotel’s disappointment, OTAs (also those whom you don’t want to sell your hotel because they break your rate). However, Booking.com surprised us all by announcing integration with instant booking (which is curiously an allegiance with its main competitor). In any case, if you connect your “direct sale” with instant booking, you guarantee an appearance quota that could reach 50% (in other words, every other time that the book button appears on TripAdvisor), as long as the rate that you have is competitive.
- If a client books on instant booking, whose is the client? Technically, the client provides his personal data to TripAdvisor, so one might say that the client is theirs. However, they transfer them without restrictions to those that provide the booking (hotel or an OTA), so you could also say that the client is theirs. The question is not as simple and therefore would be “how will each of them use that data?”
- How much does it cost? Unlike TripConnect CPC, instant booking is based on a model of commission on materialised stays. TripAdvisor offers two options: 15% or 12%. With the former, you will ensure 50% of the appearances. With the latter, 25%. To this, you will have to add your direct-sale cost which will depend on the provider.
- Is the commission based on RRP (like on Booking.com) or on taxable income like it should be? It is based on taxable income. In Booking.com’s case, the 15% commission is in fact 16.5%. On instant booking, it is actually 15% (1.5% less). The difference in comparison to being a Booking.com Preferred Partner is 3.7% (from 18.7% to 15%). If you subtract the cost of your direct sale to this difference, you will get the real margin that goes directly to the GOP (gross operating profit).
- Does TripAdvisor charge the final client? No. It only puts the client into contact with the OTA or direct-sale provider, who will charge the chosen rate to the client.
- How does it affect cancellations and after-sales management? TripAdvisor discounts cancellations and allows the OTA you work with or the hotel to manage them (as well as its cost).
- How to I inform of modifications, cancellations and no-shows? TripAdvisor is placing an extranet at your disposal to make these modifications and so that you do not get charged for cancelled bookings. If you work with Mirai, you can save yourself doing this task because if you modify it on our extranet, these changes will automatically synchronise with TripAdvisor. One less job and worry.
- Who sends the confirmation e-mail to the client? TripAdvisor or the OTA/”direct sale”? TripAdvisor sends a basic confirmation e-mail and it is the OTA or “direct sale” that sends the detailed confirmation. In the test booking for this analysis, this was the e-mail that was received:
- How does a booking by a client who booked through instant booking through an OTA -like Booking.com for example- reach the hotel? You will receive it like any other Booking.com booking. OTAs do not want to help you understand what is happening or where bookings are being generated. In the same way that they do not tell you whether they are coming from Trivago or Adwords, they will also not tell you whether they are coming from instant booking.
- And if the booking comes through my “direct sale”? It depends on how each company does it. From Mirai, we clearly indicate it on the booking, so you know at all times that the sale has come from instant booking.
- If I connect my “direct sale”, can I publish all my rates on instant booking? All of them with two exceptions: those that imply payment with EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer point of sale), PayPal or bank transfer (TripAdvisor does not support these payment types). To make your job easier, at Mirai we exclude these rates in the integration with instant booking so you do not have to do anything extra.
- What do I have to do to connect my “direct sale” to instant booking? The first thing is to have a certified partner such as Mirai or any other (see complete list). From there, you can manage it directly with your regular TripAdvisor account (the same one you use to manage your Business Listings and TripConnect). From www.tripadvisor.com/instantbooking, you can activate your participation in instant booking. Payment will be direct from your hotel to TripAdvisor through credit card or direct debit in some countries such as Spain.
- What is TripAdvisor instant booking and how does it work?
- What should my instant booking strategy be?
- Has TripAdvisor become an OTA?