Accommodation availability on our new website

As you know our new website is due to go live at the end of September and we’re thrilled to let you know that we will now be able to show your live accommodation availability on it.

We have provided information here on what this means for both you and the consumer and what you need to do in order for your availability to show on the site. Please take the time to read this information before letting us know which platform (or platforms) you want your availability to show from.

How will this work?

Searching accommodation by availability and booking online is taken for granted by many consumers nowadays. Not offering an availability search means that people are likely to leave our site to find another that does offer it – and that means potential lost bookings for our members and lost visitors to our destination.

We have not been able to offer live availability for all of our members previously, and this is something we have been looking to address for a while. It is extremely important to us to offer the most effective booking tools, so that visitors can easily find and book accommodation, driving income to you, our members and bringing more visitors to our area.

Our new website is able to show live availability from the following sources:

Property Management Systems:

  • Freetobook
  • Supercontrol
  • Eviivo
  • TXGB*

Online Travel Agents:

  • Booking.com
  • Expedia
  • HotelPlanner
  • Sykes Cottages

For the Online Travel Agents you will not have to do anything more than tell us your chosen platform, we will connect this to your listing and consumers will then be able to use our site to search by availability and book direct with you.

If you want your availability to show from any of the Property Management Systems there is one extra step you need to take by allowing us access in your settings and we will send instructions on how to do that at a later date.

* TXGB connects with several other systems, extending the integrations available. Currently included are:

  • Angelfish
  • Anytime Booking
  • Caterbook
  • Guestline
  • iBex/Seekom
  • Little Hotelier
  • Mews
  • Oracle Hospitality / My Fidelio
  • SiteMinder (inc. Little Hotelier, RMS, InnStyle, Protel, Avvio, Hotel Perfect, and many more)
  • RoomMaster
  • Update 247

If you use any of the above and wish your availability from this to show on our site you will need to create a TXGB account and connect the two accounts. It is easy to fo and we will send instructions on how to do this.

If you do not have an online booking system or your system is not provided above you can also use TXGB to set one up. For more information on this see here.

What will the process be for the consumer?

When a visitor performs an availability search on our website, all businesses that have matching availability will be returned in the search results. When they click on a business all of the information on the accommodation type available and the price will come from the booking site meaning you do not need to add anything further in order for this to show. It will also be clear where the availability has come from and once the customer clicks on ‘Book Now’ on our website they will be taken to the booking page of the website platform (e.g. Freetobook) in a new tab, allowing them to complete the booking. Please see the example below: 

The booking will be completed on the external website (e.g. Freetobook) and the normal charges will apply for that website as you will have previously agreed with them. There are no additional charges for allowing availability to show on our site.

Please note that the booking confirmation email will be sent to both the consumer and you, the business, from the availability source (e.g. Freetobook) the same as any other booking made through them.

What if I don’t want to offer online booking?

We would argue that online booking is essential for many people when planning holidays, and by not offering the option you may be missing out on potential bookings.

However, if you don’t want to offer online booking, then that is absolutely fine and you don’t have to. We are simply introducing it as a new option for those businesses that want to use it, and we will not be forcing it on members who don’t want it.

Members that aren’t online bookable will still appear across the website as normal and will be returned in non-availability searches. The only time they won’t be seen is if the visitor looks for specific dates – e.g. B&Bs available on 10th July 2021 for 2 people.

Why did you choose this system?

This solution has been implemented by our website provider Simpleview on destination websites all over the country. It is a tried and tested solution that has been introduced by many other destinations as they recognised it allows the widest number of businesses to participate in online booking and gives the consumer the best choice and booking options.

We conducted our own research prior to choosing this solution for Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism including speaking to other destinations who have implemented it and had it running for several years. Their positive feedback and the difference the system has made to their members encouraged us that this was not only an important step for us to take, but crucial if we wanted our destination and our member businesses to compete in an increasingly digital world.