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Visit Scotland | Alba

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The majority of people plan and book their holidays online.


In this section:

  1. How can I be discoverable and bookable online?
  2. How do I choose an online booking system?
  3. What should I consider when choosing a channel manager?
  4. Top tips for being discoverable and bookable


You may already be using some of the tools in the video. Please view it to learn what options are available to:

  • Make it simpler for your accommodation business to be discoverable and bookable
  • Reaching new markets and potential visitors

1. How can I be discoverable and bookable online?

For maximum impact online, your business needs to be discoverable and bookable.

It’s also important to tackle both together. There’s no point in allowing customers to book online if they don’t know you exist. It also doesn’t work to attract large numbers of customers online if they can’t book online.

What do we mean by discoverable?

A website is discoverable if it's designed to be easily found by users via:

  • A search engine
  • Within an application
  • On another website

It’s all about how easy it is for a user to find your business online. Whether that’s when they’re searching generally, for example "hostels in Edinburgh", or specifically for the name of your business.

What do we mean by bookable?

You're bookable if a customer can book your accommodation online before they arrive. This is regardless of whether that’s a room to sleep in, a camping pitch or a self-catering cottage. Bookable means that there should be no need to contact the accommodation provider to confirm the booking.

Let’s look now at what technology you can put in place to be both discoverable and bookable. You may be using certain tools already, and some will give you access to certain features but not all.

The stages of being bookable:

2. How do I choose an online booking system?

Check which online booking system best meets your business requirements.

We don’t endorse or recommend any system over another. The following list represents only a small fraction of booking systems available. The ones included have Scottish clients or account managers working in Scotland.

3. What should I consider when choosing a channel manager?

Some web booking engines offer:

  • Access to lots of Online Travel Agents (OTAs)
  • Metasearch sites with the potential to drive a large volume of customers to your website / increase bookings.


It’s best to do a bit of research to work out which OTAs are right for your business. This is because they can increase the volume of bookings to your business, but charge a commission to do so.

Please consider:

  • Functionality

    Understand what functionality your business needs.

    Discover what each system provides to make sure they match up.

  • OTA partnerships

    Check what OTA partnerships are in place. The three most common are, Expedia and Airbnb.

    For some accommodation businesses other smaller OTAs may be more suitable. For example, because your target audience might use them more regularly.

  • Training

    Check what training and support is available for set up and maintenance.

  • Budget

    Before coming to a decision, please consider the price of:

    • Each web booking engine

    • Any additional costs for channel management functionality

    • Any OTA commission levels

    Some systems will have:

    • A basic license

    • A commission

    • Additional features with added costs

Looking for more info on how to work with Online Travel Agents (OTAs)?

Want to see what other digital marketing channels you should also be considering


4. Top tips for being discoverable and bookable

  • Updated and available

    Get your pricing and availability updated as far ahead as possible. The further people travel, the further in advance they book. Consider at least one year’s availability.

  • Call to action

    Make your booking button (call to action) on your website is as visible as possible:

    • At all stages of a customer’s journey
    • Through all pages on your site


  • Upselling opportunities

    Build in upselling opportunities in your shopping cart. For example, before they complete their purchase, can customers add on:

    • Breakfast
    • A bottle of champagne
    • Any other extras you might offer


    Do try to keep the primary booking experience as simple as possible though.

  • Customer journey

    Go through the customer journey yourself regularly and check for barriers or breakages. This helps you:

    • Keep on top of your functionality
    • Avoid bad experiences for potential customers


  • Analytics

    Set up e-commerce analytics and goals. This allows you to see:

    • Which target audience is driving the most revenue
    • Which areas to invest in to give you the best return


  • Stay competitive

    Direct booking is the most profitable form overall. But to stay competitive, you might also need to list your property on other booking websites. This is why sites such as TripAdvisor, Expedia and can be so important.

    Look into what your competitors are doing on those sites and emulate them.

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