Here's the latest advice from VisitScotland regarding the switch over next week to driving books direct to hotel's own websites.
In our opinion this is the way that it should have been and should be in the future. It is therefore important that accommodation providers ensure that the link from VisitScotland is going DIRECTLY to the booking page on their website and not just the homepage.
If you don't know what the URL is off your booking landing page contact your web booking engine provider for some assistance.
An example on our own test web site for the mythical but very competitively priced Celtic Links Demo hotel gives an idea - the customer wants to check availability and make a booking so make it easier for them. Ensure they don't have to go searching for it and use three more clicks than they have to!
Click on Best Available Rate Book Direct with Celtic Links Demo Hotel
Our demo hotel uses Bookassist Booking Engine to power the online availability and the booking engine will be one of those integrating with the proposed VisitScotland availability search in June 2013.
Anyway, the advice from VisitScotland's Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead is as follows
I wrote to you recently concerning forthcoming changes to the way in which bookings are processed on www.visitscotland.com. The purpose of this email is to give you further advice on what you should do in preparation for the removal of our online booking functionality (including Web in a Box) on 13 December 2012.
Consumers will still be able to find your business through the search function on VisitScotland.com and it is vital that you continue to keep your details up to date, accurate and have a description that best portrays the products and services on offer to the consumer. You now have the facility to set up a link directly to your own preferred online booking website.
To recap, from 13 December 2012 we will be removing our online booking functionality (including Web in a Box). In future to make a booking consumers will have the following options:
Call or email you directly to make a reservation
- Contact you directly via your own website
- Click on a new ‘book’ button providing a direct link to your online booking website
- Or continue to use the VisitScotland Contact Centre or a VisitScotland Information Centre to make a booking.
VisitScotland.com is, and remains, a showcase for Scotland, boasting a rich source of information for visitors and reaching out to some 14 million internet users. Our international and UK & Ireland marketing will continue to drive visitors to the site using a range of print, online communications and campaigns all year round.
What we advise you to doKeep updating your room availability and pricing on the VisitScotland Extranet as our Contact Centre staff and VisitScotland Information Centre staff will continue to use the search facility to find available accommodation for customers. Information on how to do this can be found in the extranet user guide.
If you have a property management system or online booking website we recommend that you add a direct link to your booking website - for a short step by step guide on how to add the link to your listing go to http://vslastminuteoffers.briefyourmarket.com/Goto/90987-1257-HRZYIG .
If you do nothing just now, you can still receive booking enquiries via telephone, email and links to your own website. In this case, we would only advise that you ensure your contact details are up to date.
If you would like to talk through these changes in more detail, please call one of our Advisors on 0845 602 3779 (available Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From June 2013, our national tourism website, http://vslastminuteoffers.briefyourmarket.com/Goto/90987-1258-0NYTTY will offer integration with a number of accommodation booking systems.
If you use one of the systems that integrate, then your own pricing and availability will display on visitscotland.comdirectly from the third party booking website, and the customer will be able to book your room online instantly.
A selection of property management systems (PMS) has been published on our corporate website here. This is not meant to be a definitive list, so please use it as a guide only. A confirmed list of supported PMS providers who are planning to integrate with VisitScotland.com from June 2013 will be published on this page from the end of January with additions made throughout 2013.