The Ultimate Instant Booking Performance Guide

Congratulations! You’ve activated instant booking. Now, learn how you can convert even more reservations through this powerful distribution channel.

To increase your conversion rate, you need to understand the factors that influence how often your property will appear in the instant booking placement – including the qualifications required to appear. Here’s a full explanation and top tips to improve your performance.

How You Appear in the Instant Booking Placement

There are a number of factors that determine if you’ll appear in the instant booking placement:

  1. You must have availability for the traveler’s search dates
  2. Your pricing for those dates must be competitive
  3. Your room & rate content must be accurate and complete
  4. Your API connectivity must be strong
  5. You must select a commission level. At the 15% commission level, your rate will appear half the time; at the 12% commission level, it will appear a quarter of the time.

To help you monitor these factors, we’ve created the Instant Booking Performance Center. To access the Performance Center, log into your Management Center. Under the “Products” menu at the top of the page, below “Instant Booking,” select “Performance Center.”

Read on for more details and tips on how to improve your instant booking performance.

Please note: If your connectivity partner is not yet activated in the traveler’s home market, you cannot appear to them in the instant booking placement.

Availability

If you aren’t returning availability through your connectivity partner for the traveler’s search dates – we will display rates available through your other distribution partners.

Not seeing availability when you think you should? Use the Instant Booking Performance Center to check your availability rating. In the "Availability" section of the Performance Center you can see your rating and how often you - and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) selling your rooms on TripAdvisor - reported availability for travelers’ searches. 

Take Action: If you’re availability rating is lower than you think it should be, check the settings in your connectivity partner’s system or speak directly with them to ensure that all available rooms are being sent to TripAdvisor instant booking.

Rates & Pricing 

In order to appear in the instant booking placement, the rates you’re providing via your connectivity partner must be competitive with those of your other distribution channels.

Not sure how your rates compare? Visit the Performance Center to see the percentage of time your price beats, meets, or loses to other distribution channels.

Take Action: If your rates aren’t competitive, you won’t appear in the instant booking placement. To maximize your appearances, you should review your rate and distribution strategy and ensure you’re providing the best rates possible to TripAdvisor. Any promotional rates you offer directly to OTAs should also be made available to TripAdvisor instant booking. Also, be sure to provide an accurate breakdown of all taxes and fees – including city taxes.

Content 

Your rate and room content must be complete and accurate for you to appear in the instant booking placement. TripAdvisor emphasizes the importance of complete content because research shows it leads to greater conversion. Here are some best practices:

Rate information:

  • Rate plan name: Conversion increases when users think they’re getting a special rate. “Exclusive” rate has proven to have the highest conversion among rate names, however, other names that emphasize a special price are also successful.
  • Rate plan description: Use the description to reiterate that this rate plan is limited to TripAdvisor. Be sure to include any important or additional details that the guest needs to know.
  • Cancellation policy: Rate plans with “Free cancellation” and a “Cancel by [Date]” convert the highest. If this isn’t an option, be sure to outline your Cancellation Policies as clearly as possible so potential guests can easily understand them. Don’t leave room for misinterpretation – include the exact time frames, details, and penalties associated with your cancellation policy.
  • Deferred payment: Messages such as “Book now, pay at stay” perform well. Check with your connectivity partner to identify what options are available.
  • Rate plan amenities: Increase conversion by promoting high-value amenities such as “Breakfast” or “High-Speed Internet Access” – they perform even better if they’re free.

Room content:

  • Room name: Make sure your room names are identifiable and unique to each rate code plan (ex: “Ocean View - King Room with Breakfast”). They should also be succinct – 50 characters or less.
  • Room description: Your room description must be between 50 – 400 characters and easily digestible. Be sure to include bed-types and configurations, room views, room size and maximum occupancy. Avoid using industry jargon, abbreviations, all caps or listing any unnecessary or repetitive amenities.
  • Room photos: Include at least 3 high-quality images per room type. Ideally, use professional photos of the bedroom living room and bathroom. Avoid photos that are blurry and ensure that the photos best represent the actual room & experience travelers can expect if they book at that rate. 
  • Room amenities: To ensure your room amenities appear correctly, please remind your connectivity partner to use the Open Travel Alliance code list. We recommend including a minimum of 10 amenities to best showcase your property.
  • Other information: Don’t forget to include hotel policies related to children, pets, transportation/shuttles, meals, and smoking as well as check-in and check-out times.

Having content issues? If you’re in a market where instant booking is live, you should enter some test travel dates and go through the booking process to confirm that everything looks right.

Take Action: In most cases, you can address any issue by checking the corresponding content fields in your connectivity partner’s system and adjusting the information you provide to them using the guidelines above. If you’re having problems, contact your connectivity partner.

API Connectivity

Your API connectivity health is critical to conversion on TripAdvisor. If travelers are receiving error messages when they go to book, you're going to lose those guests. Therefore, making sure your API connectivity error rate is low (below 5%) is extremely important to converting lookers into bookers.

Want to see where you stand? Visit the Instant Booking Performance Center and view your API connectivity rating and associated error rate. 

Take Action: If your error rate is over 5% there's an issue with your API connectivity and you should contact your connectivity partner immediately.

Commission Level

The simplest way to get more traveler views, and more bookings as a result, is to choose the higher instant booking commission level. By choosing the 15% commission, you effectively double the number of times you could be viewed by potential guests. To change your commission level, click the “Settings” tab within the instant booking dashboard and then select “Change Commission” on the right-hand side of the page.

Visit the Instant Booking Performance Center

Visit the Instant Booking Performance Center

Last Updated: August 12, 2016