How collaborative research helped SiteMinder drastically improve their connection quality
SiteMinder is a cloud-based platform that brings property owners and their guests closer together, and helps property owners to fill empty rooms. Their system is used to secure 166 bookings per minute, totalling 87.3 million each year.
We spoke to James Bishop, Senior Director of Demand Partnerships at SiteMinder, to find out how conducting research in partnership with Booking.com helped them improve their connection with us and reduce their accommodation customers’ failed reservations by half.
What drove you to focus on reducing failed reservations?
We’re always looking at ways of creating greater value for our accommodation customers, so in 2018 we were already in the process of prioritising the automation of error and connection fallback resolution.
That led to our Application Operations and Product teams collaborating this year with Kieran O’Regan, our Partner Business Manager at Booking.com, on some more research. Our aim was to take a deep dive into the reasons that some of our customers experience connection and reservation failures, and to identify easy wins that we could tackle quickly.
When you provide connectivity to 35,000 properties in more than 160 markets, like SiteMinder does, maintaining connection quality can be a monumental challenge. Despite this, in June 2019 we were already well below the global connections average of 1% reservation failures.
Given the high volume of transactions that our platform processes across the Booking.com connection, we need to make sure it remains high in quality. We’ll keep pushing for improvements, because offering peace of mind is central to how we deliver value for our customers.
Given the high volume of transactions that our platform processes across the Booking.com connection, we need to make sure it remains high in quality. We’ll keep pushing for improvements, because offering peace of mind is central to how we deliver value for our customers. – James Bishop, Senior Director of Demand Partnerships at SiteMinder
Why spend time on something that was already in very good shape?
We know giving our customers real-time connections is important to the success of their business – especially since accommodation partners with the highest levels of connection fallback are most at risk of overbookings – so we’re always determined to keep improving. Being proactive on quality also helps keep customer support requests low and allows us to scale our service more easily.
We were already doing similar work, but collaborating with Booking.com helped us to learn more about how to fix the issues we were discovering. It was also helpful that Booking.com had recently released features like the ‘Detailed Exceptions Response’ and an enhanced ‘API error dashboard’ in their Partner Portal.
These provide connectivity partners like us with access to easily fixable machine-readable errors. They have simplified the process and allowed us to resolve more problems ourselves rather than needing Booking.com’s local teams to extract reporting on demand.
How did you measure the success of the project?
It involved a process of researching and analysing the causes for failed connections, then selecting the biggest issues and solving them – in a permanent and scalable way, wherever we could.
The research showed that most of our connection fallbacks were originating from a small number of customers, so that became our focus. The really good news? As a result of our work, connection fallbacks fell from 0.21% at the beginning of July to 0.06% at the end of August.
What have you learned from the experience?
The project has confirmed that addressing connection fallbacks like this gives our accommodation customers peace of mind that the connection is working well overall. In turn that means that our customer support team receives fewer inbound requests about problems with it.
SiteMinder sets the bar high when it comes to connection quality and performance. They have speed and scale built into their DNA, which makes it easy for us to work together to make an impact for our accommodation partners. Our recent shared effort to improve connection quality has yielded fantastic results. – Kieran O’Regan, Partner Business Manager at Booking.com
Together with implementing as much automated detection and resolution of connection problems as possible, this all means we can focus more on growing our platform and adding more value than ever for our accommodation customers.
What’s more, we’ve seen the results we can obtain and the difference we can make to the reliability of our platform and the experience of our accommodation customers. By working with Booking.com to combine our efforts on projects like this, we can keep delivering on our promise to our customers.
What else are you planning to do?
There’s already more research and monitoring in the pipeline. Now that we’ve fixed the biggest problems we identified, our focus will primarily switch to prevention. We’ll be looking at specific connection errors that we see occurring frequently, and how can put automation in place to prevent our customers from experiencing these.
Over the coming months we’ll also be looking at how we can innovate on the functionality available, so that we can further improve our customers’ experience and enhance the value that they receive by working with SiteMinder.
Learn more about ‘Detailed Exceptions Response’
- SiteMinder cut its connection fallbacks from 0.21% to 0.06% in just two months.
- Proactive improvements to connection quality have reduced demand for customer support.
- Giving SiteMinder’s accommodation customers peace of mind has enhanced the value they get from the platform.