SynXis’ Guest Connect Improves Look-to-Book Conversion and Increases Bookings for Hotel Groups

  • SynXis Corporation
  • 06.13.08
Hoteliers switching to SynXis' recently launched Guest Connect booking engine are already reporting significant increases in both the volume of bookings and conversion rates from visitors to their Web sites.

Guest Connect was developed by SynXis, the Sabre Holdings business that provides complete hotel distribution, Internet marketing and channel management solutions worldwide.

Guest Connect was developed to provide hoteliers an easy way to customize the online shopping experience. Guest Connect templates guide the flow of the booking process and enable the hotelier to incorporate the specific product elements that will best merchandise their property or chain from expanded property descriptions and rich images to dynamic packaging, promotional pricing (with slash-through pricing), room preference selection, upgrades or links to a virtual concierge for additional services. In addition, hotel managers have access to integrated, comprehensive tracking tools that give a complete view of their return on investment (ROI) for online marketing efforts.

Remington Hotels recently launched a new Web site at its Inn at Key West property and implemented Guest Connect shortly after. By comparing before and after statistics, they found that the Guest Connect booking engine produced over 250 percent more bookings than the old booking engine when compared on a weekly basis. This increase resulted in more than $45,000 in incremental revenue each week for the 100-room property.

“We spend a great deal of time and money making sure our Web sites are optimized properly for the search engines. But it is just as critical that when visitors find your Web site that they have a simple booking tool that converts them from a looker to a booker or you are leaving money on the table,” said Brad Nelson, brand revenue manager for Remington Hotels. “The results we’ve seen in just a short time with Guest Connect prove this to be true. We now have the ability to control not just the look and feel but also the flow of the booking process. We are also in the process of implementing other customized features like dynamic packaging and promotional pricing which will also help contribute to an increase in bookings and revenues.”

According to a recent Forrester study, the online travel industry’s largest performance gap is a customer’s expectation of usability versus what the online experience actually delivers. SynXis’ approach to developing Guest Connect was to tackle this problem head on through providing the right balance of functionality and usability.

During recent independent usability studies Guest Connect scored 95 percent when tested with consumers, one of the highest scores in the history of this experienced usability lab. SynXis involved extensive market research, hotel customer feedback and technical innovation to achieve these types of results from first launch, successfully maintaining the balance between the end-traveler’s usability needs and the need for hoteliers to merchandise and maintain their property content.

South Point Casino in Las Vegas has recently switched its booking engine to Guest Connect and has taken advantage of the ability to add a custom tracking code to measure the ROI of their marketing efforts. A recent email promotion drove visitors to their Web site which then resulted in a five percent conversion rate, above the industry benchmark of 3 percent for an email campaign from a resort.

Sally Gaughan at South Point Casino said, “We are now more in control of our marketing dollars based on our ability to track all of our marketing efforts and see the exact return. We have been very pleased with the increased conversions we’ve seen with Guest Connect. Guest Connect’s valuable merchandizing features such as the ability to have multiple images and rate filters really help sell our property, especially to first-time visitors.”

The Sonesta Collection – Hotels, Resorts and Cruises has also recently moved to Guest Connect and takes advantage of many of the new merchandising features available to increase online sales and marketing. After switching to Guest Connect, Sonesta’s conversion rates have been steadily growing, resulting in an increase in revenue produced from the online channel.

“Since going live recently with Guest Connect, we have seen an increase in the number of reservations over the same period last year and we expect the trend to continue,” said Pam Castonguay, corporate reservation and distribution manager for The Sonesta Collection. “With Guest Connect, it is now easier then ever to make changes to template shells. We have found it simple to achieve the customized look we need to successfully merchandise each of our properties. Also, having the flexibility to use multiple tracking systems is a great feature to help us track our ROI.”

Scott Alvis, president and general manager of SynXis, said that the feedback they get from hoteliers who are seeing these type of quick results from Guest Connect is the elimination of the hassle factor – both for setting up customizable sales paths and for tracking ROI, which then can be used to provide near real-time feedback to adjust the sales paths as consumer trends adapt.

“Our team is focused on providing tools that make it easy – but also very effective and near immediate results that are easily tracked to verify ROI,” added Alvis. “Guest Connect is the culmination of customer feedback, industry best practices, advanced technology and a strategy and investment for the hotel segment we began over five years ago to make channel optimization possible from the property level up to chain level with easy to use tools and processes, metrics and quick return on investment. We will continue to make these types of investments that help hoteliers manage the ebbs and flows of the business and ever-evolving consumer trends.”

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