Touch, the ‘mobile-first’ booking engine

“We’re happy to announce our new mobile booking engine, called Touch, built from scratch and designed for a new generation of guests. It’s free to all users of our existing Smart Booking Engine. Before I outline some of its key features, it’s important to state why we have just produced this new tool for our customers – and also how it has been designed”

Antoine BuhlR&D Chief Technology OfficerAvailpro

The Availpro team is excited to launch Touch, the new mobile booking engine.

First, it’s been a while. Back in 2011 we launched our original mobile booking engine – at the time we were market leaders, producing the first type of booking engine of this kind for hotels – but times have changed. In those days, not all smartphones were as powerful or as fast as desktop computers. That particular mobile booking engine offered many features, but not as many as our powerful desktop version.

Today, we have created an entirely new tool to satisfy the needs, and demands, of your guests. We’ve analysed our data from the past few years, and in the past six months bookings that originate on a mobile device – be that smartphone or tablet – have grown exponentially. The timing is perfect.

 

Customer-centric features

We feel that our new mobile booking engine is unique in the marketplace. It is not simply a responsive version of our current desktop engine, nor something that has simply been modified, with fewer features. Touch is a powerful new tool that has a winning combination of extra features, above and beyond offering booking a room, including:

  • Offer codes
  • MixedRates
  • Currency display
  • Language display
  • New payment modes
  • Extras selection
  • Summary before payment page
  • Booking modification/cancellation
  • New confirmation page

There are more being planned – scroll down for a taste of things to come. And any new features will be rolled out to mobile first, and desktop second. We expect the mobile version to be the main engine, and our data is backing this trend.

In fact, Touch is not just a new product from Availpro, it represents a complete shift in our company’s thinking. We are now a mobile-first company, and this means that the majority of future launches and updates will be based on mobile devices.

Meanwhile, it’s important to note this engine is not an app – it uses the device’s internet browser. However, that doesn’t mean it does not offer the best experience, because the design of Touch means it offers as close to an app experience as possible.

 

Building bridges

Touch is about building relationships. By making your guests’ lives easier every step of the way, from booking to check out, they’ll come to trust your brand, enjoy the complete experience and in turn become a loyal guest. That’s why we call it Touch – touching guests’ lives is part of the hospitality experience, and today our technology lets you do this better than ever before.

We believe that the relationship between hotel and guest is an online relationship, and Touch is the place where it will be grow. For example, we have also redesigned guest feedback surveys, so they are more integrated into the booking engine. And Touch also gives your hotel more notification options, for example to confirm bookings by SMS or email, with other options coming soon that will give you more opportunities to connect with the guests before the stay, during the stay and after the stay. Technically, it’s a mobile booking engine; but it offers our hotel clients a whole lot more. Let Touch help you build the bridge between the booking process and guest.

 

Into the future

With all our product launches, we’ve still got our eye on the future. Some of the new and exciting features planned shortly include more integration with the apps that are already on the user’s mobile phone. For example, all maps use GPS technology and soon we’ll be unveiling some clever extras that tap into the user’s location, useful for hotel groups with a wide geographical reach.

Meanwhile, expect connections between your hotel’s booking engine and the user’s mobile wallet application, such as Apple wallet. So that means essential ticketing or confirmation documents will be downloaded straight to their device.

 

Meet us half way

With this new roll-out, it’s important your hotel website is optimised for mobile devices. This way, you can give the browser – whether a new guest or returning guest – the best online experience – and easily direct them to the booking engine, where they can then great experience selecting dates, extras and more, via Touch.

A mobile-friendly website does not have to be complex – it can be simple, even with a few pages, but what’s crucial is that it has to work. At Availpro, we are always happy to advise you on how to proceed if your website is not optimised in this way.

To recap, this is not just an upgrade – it’s a completely new version, and a new opportunity for you to build a relationships with guests. We don’t think that anyone else has created a dedicated version for mobile like this. As always, we want you to tell us what you think, so please contact us if you have any feedback, comments or suggestions.

 

Antoine Buhl – Chief Technology Officer – Availpro

Antoine became an entrepreneur after finishing my studies, and helped set up various start-up companies, including Hypnotizer (video streaming) and PixVillage (peer-to-peer photo sharing). He joined Availpro to develop both platforms and products. Antoine is passionate about building innovative apps, and the processes that lead up to their success.

If you want to read the full story behind Touch, check our previous blog posts:

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