How Vertical Booking built an effective communication strategy to drive API adoption
Vertical Booking, part of Zucchetti Hospitality group, is a Premier Partner that has partnered with Booking.com for 15 years. Working together, we support properties in their performance and operational tasks. In the past two years, Vertical Booking has launched a number of solutions that are designed to simplify daily tasks and optimise pricing strategy on their platform.
We spoke to Ilario Francesco Ceruti, Senior Software Engineer, and Valentina Caseri, Senior Client Service Executive, to find out how Vertical Booking created an effective communication flow to share newly implemented solutions with their properties.
What are your expectations in the post-development stage of implementing a solution?
Property owners and managers who use Vertical Booking’s central reservations system (CRS) consider our channel manager as the point of contact when managing their tasks, operations and performance on Booking.com. After implementing a new solution, we expect to see improvements for our customers that save them time, centralise management and ease the operational stress that comes with managing multiple platforms.
What is your communication approach?
Our goal is to update our customers on ‘what’s new’ while providing them with the relevant tools that can help them grow their business based on market requirements.
After planning and releasing solutions specifically designed for Booking.com, we follow a detailed communication plan. This plan is tailored to the needs of the audience, and we segment based on audience type – such as resellers or hotels. All of our campaign activities target a selection of different languages to cover our major markets – Italy, Switzerland, the US, France, Germany and Spain.
Human connection is important, and we believe connecting with our customers to keep them informed of relevant opportunities helps us to deliver a better experience. This is why we have two support networks in place:
- Local resellers: Working through resellers allows us to reach properties in specific markets, because they have a close relationship with them and are often their first point of contact.
- Customer support: Our support team often advises our customers on tool usage, and aims to solve customer needs with specific tool adoption. For example, if a customer wants to stimulate more demand, our support team may recommend a promotion.
What channels do you use to reach partners?
We find that email is the most effective channel to communicate with our customers. Our campaigns are sent to our entire portfolio of properties on the planned date, and we monitor email open and click rates to measure impact. We also share a post on our social networks, including LinkedIn and Facebook.
Depending on the campaign, sometimes the message is strengthened with webinars, both international and localised. Recently, we also hosted dedicated training sessions for our resellers.
For content formats, we find the use of handbooks very beneficial. It’s also important that our customers have access to resources like ‘how to’ guides whenever they need them.
How does Booking.com support your communication strategy?
Thanks to the advisory of Booking.com’s technical specialists, we receive fundamental information and valuable feedback on how to transfer pricing features and other API solutions to our interface.
We also find that joint webinars and marketing material help to reinforce our message and value proposition.
What has been the most successful solution in terms of adoption to date?
Definitely Occupancy Based Pricing (OBP), especially in the US market where it was previously requested by some of our larger customers. The number of properties using this type of pricing grew steadily to 20% in the two years following the release.
Thanks to the flexibility it offers all traveller audiences – from groups to couples to solo travellers – the OBP solution brought in significantly higher revenue during peak season.
In terms of our partnership, what are you looking forward to in 2022?
We want to maintain our Premier Partner status. We see that this has great value for our business in terms of visibility, access to insights and innovations, participation in customised deals and co-branded initiatives – all of which were especially relevant over the last two challenging years.
In 2022, we hope to see the full recovery of the travel industry, and to continue working with Booking.com on what has always been our common goal: mutual customer success.
- A detailed communication strategy can help keep your customers informed about new and existing solutions, which in turn can drive API adoption
- Vertical Booking finds email to be the most effective channel when communicating with their customers, followed by social posts and webinars
- Human connection can help make your communication strategy stronger, with Vertical Booking working through local resellers and their customer support team to reach customers and build relationships with them