Destinations

Dynamic packaging: Opening up new opportunities

ACCOMMODATION-ONLY sites can be a straightforward way to get into dynamic packaging.


But if you’re used to picking up the telephone, not typing into search fields, how easy are they to use? Travel Weekly asked travel agents who book beds online every day of the week.


Trustaccommodation



How many bookings a day do you make through Trustaccommodation?
Nine or 10 bookings, which is about 70% of our hotel accommodation.

Most popular destination?
The Greek Islands. Trust has the most keen prices for Kos, Rhodes, Crete and Corfu.

Is it easy to use the site?
I’m not a techie but I find it really easy. If you make a mistake it prompts you. You can type in hotel codes or the first few letters of the name or do a search using one to five-star and room-only or all-inclusive.

What are the best bits?
Definitely the transfers – you can add them to the booking. Also you can print out your vouchers and invoices.

What could be improved?
My one complaint is you can only check a maximum of three rooms at one time.

Your best booking?
I recently booked a customer nine nights over Easter in a five-star bed-and-breakfast in Sharm el-Sheikh. We couldn’t believe there was availability

One tip for agents?
Give it a go! It’s really easy.


Medhotels



How many bookings a day do you make through Medhotels?
Each agent makes three or four, which is about 70% of our bookings.

Most popular destination?
Sharm el-Sheikh is still the most popular despite the bombings. It’s too early to tell if that will change. The Balearics, Greece and Turkey also do really well.

Is it easy to use the site?
It’s very simple, well laid out and not too technical. You’re not restricted to certain durations and if someone wants a particular hotel you just type in the name.

What are the best bits?
You can scroll back – some other sites make you re-enter all the information. Medhotels’ communication with agents is fantastic too – they’re always calling to see how we’re getting on, what’s selling, and they have a really good after-sales service.

What could be improved?
You can’t do multiple room functions with different occupancy. But that’s the only thing really.

Your best booking?
I booked a client into the Hauza Beach Hotel in Sharm, she was really impressed with the accuracy of the description and asked for prices for later in the year.


One tip for agents?
If you know what you’re looking for then fill in all the search fields, but if you don’t then leave some blank and you’ll get a wide selection of hotels.


Holidayandmore



How many bookings a day do you make through Holidayandmore?
I only opened my agency six weeks ago and already 80% of my accommodation bookings are through Holidayandmore.

Most popular destination?
Italy, especially Venice, and also Barcelona and Valencia.


Is it easy to use the site?
It’s easy all the way through. They give you all the accommodation options from the start so it’s easy to up-sell the customer from, say, self-catering to a good hotel package.

What are the best bits?
There’s a car hire option on every booking – it’s the second page you get to and you have to go through it. It’s easy to forget about car hire but it can be a nice extra earner.

What could be improved?
A few technical things need improving. For example if you type in departure date and duration in the search engine it doesn’t produce the return date for you.

Your best booking?
A lady came in wanting to go to Malta for a wedding. She already had lots of information and prices but I managed to save her £200. She was delighted and told all her colleagues.


One tip for agents using the site?
Many of the companies travel agents deal with have question marks over customer security. But with Holidayandmore you know customers are protected.


Bluebookonline



How many bookings a day do you make through Bluebookonline?
About one a day.

Most popular destination?
New York definitely, also other cities such as Amsterdam or Barcelona. I also take a lot of bookings for London breaks.

Is it easy to use the site?
I find it extremely easy. It only takes seconds to log on, the information you are asked to input for the search is really simple.

What are the best bits?
There are pictures of all the hotels so can have an idea of what a place looks like. Many of my clients would only want to stay in historic buildings so I can rule some out straight away and I can speak with authority about a place.

What could be improved?
You can’t see hotels on a map – a client might say they are visiting the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but I have no idea where that’s near. I phoned Bluebook and someone was able to explain where it was.

Your best booking?
Last year a client went to New York, Boston and Memphis. I booked their accommodation, transfers, a helicopter excursion and Graceland tickets all on one booking. The client was really happy and I earned nice commission on the extras.

One tip for agents?
Some agents who have been in the business for a while may find the technology a bit daunting, but they should persevere as the site is really easy to use.


Lowcostbeds



How many bookings a day do you make through Lowcostbeds?
It depends on the time of year, but on average about three. That’s about 12 % of my bookings.

Most popular destination?
The site mainly covers Europe and the Mediterranean, and we mostly sell mainland Spain.

Is it easy to use the site?
It’s very easy and user friendly. It takes you through step by step. It’s fast and you get your invoice and voucher back on an e-mail within five minutes of making the booking.

What are the best bits?
Without doubt the aftercare – it’s very good. You get through to them straight away and that’s important to a travel agent, we can spend a lot of time hanging on the end of the phone.

What could be improved?
Not much – the site is very good. I would like to see them branch out into the US more, but what they do at the moment is excellent.

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