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How do we add an availability checker/widget to our own website?
I don't know if there is a website widget for booking.com. I designed and built our website. We use Fare harbor. There is also another service called Peek. Both of these companies specialize in online booking for your personal website. As with everything there is a fee.
There's two answers to your question depending on what you're looking for.
1. You want to send visitors to BCD, and have them take payment.
In this case, I recommend you sign up for their affiliate program. This let's you receive a small commission for all traffic you send to them - even if it's to your own property. The commission is a percentage of the commission BCD gets from hosts and guests.
Once you have signed up to be a BCD affiliate, you can implement their widgets - availability checker, reviews, etc, on your own website. But the booking will still take place on the BCD website.
2. You want an independent booking solution, and take payment yourself.
This let's you keep 97+% of the amount paid by guests. Only payment processors like Paypal or Stripe need to take a cut. Building with wordpress you can use services like "Fare harbor", as suggested above. Although there are many other plugins more suited to hotels and managing rooms, syncing calendars etc.
@Kevin - What's your impression of FareHarbor?
Integrating this on your own website is not too difficult, although you would need to hire an agency to help you do it.
I guess the big thing to remember about FareHarbor is that they are geared towards Outdoor Adventures, not lodging. We started out as an Outdoor adventure company doing Snowmobile tours here in Alaska. And that's how we got Fareharbor on our website. One great thing about them is they set it all up for you, your back office, and your website. As with everything being somewhat tech savvy helps if you need to do a booking through them when someone calls you to book a room rather than book right from your website. Then you need to know your way around your own back room in Fareharbor pretty well. All this was pretty straight forward as not only do I have a Lodge that I run year round, I am also a pro web designer which is an obvious advantage when it comes to understanding how it all works. But one thing Fareharbor could not do for us was transition from Outdoor Adventures into lodging. The filters weren't there. Example. We have a strict no child policy. No children under 16. Fareharbor had no way to filter out children. So when people booked they could still book with small children and show up when we had other guests that booked with no children. Not a great scenario. In the end we had to drop FareHarbor. As of right now I have not found what I see as a suitable replacement. I built our website. And one thing I have implemented is Live Chat on our website. This is a great tool to convert visitors on your site, and there are no fees. The object being convince them to call to book a room. Since my above post we have gone through a re-branding. We no longer do outdoor adventures and have moved into nothing but lodging. Hence the name change. But if anyone want to see how the chat look and works you can go here. Hope this helps.
Your website design is very visually appealing. The chat is a great addition too. "Crisp" also makes great chat software.
One plugin for Wordpress sites that supports filtering by children + adults is MotoPress booking plugin. https://motopress.com/products/hotel-booking/ . It has zero commissions, allows iCal syncing, decent booking dashboard and great out of the box front-end.
In fact, I build all of my client's sites with it.
Let me know if you have any questions about implementing something like that.
Thanks for the info Sir! I will definitely be looking into MotoPress. I know my way around Wordpress Pretty good, but if I run into problems I will let you know. Thank you again for your advice :)
Great! Best of luck :)
In connection with the issue of booking button for the site I have a question,
Have anybody used freetobook service? Can you say something about it?
Is it useful?
I have not personally used Freetobook. And I am always skeptical when I here the word "free."I know that as with most services they offer a free version but typically what happens when you dig a bit deeper into any service like this, they will always leave out the most important function making it almost impossible to use until you pay for a monthly subscription that includes the function you need. Like say for instance iCal. That's the ability to sync all of your online calendars across all platforms. I guess for me the bottom line is to find the service that makes the most sense to you, and go with it knowing that you will have to pay for it one way or the other.