Val d'Hérens counts on OpenBooking
We are very delighted to tell you, that another customer successfully implemented the metasearch OpenBooking just before the end of the year. In the valley of the former Hérens glacier, which went smaller about 10,000 years ago, a successful Valaisian tourism organization revises its online accommodation concept. For this reason, the decision was made to chose a ready-to-use all-in-one solution for browsing online bookable availabilities.
New entry at the end of the year
The Office du Tourisme du Val d'Hérens has been working intensively with our OpenBooking team since last summer. Their focus was on setting-up their online platform for the upcoming tourism year. After all, it's the "International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development", as the United Nations General Assembly named it in November 2015. "Sustainable" is the right keyword here: Due to OpenBooking, Val d'Hérens does not have to worry about any subsequent costs after integrating the availabilities search. It does not matter if they are adding a new booking vendor or exchanging an existing one. The already set-up interface automatically adjusts itself to the new search volume. It eliminates unnecessary navigation obstacles to predefined selectable accommodation types and the customer does not have to decide beforehand whether he is looking for a hotel or a vacation apartment. Some people just want to be inspired during their research.
Contrary to previous utilizations of the white label solution, Val d'Hérens would like to present themselfs and its regions more professionally. A thorough search about all the availabilities in Val d'Hérens did not completely meet the detailed requirements for their regional metasearch. Because of our former works for Valais and Switzerland Tourism, OpenBooking was already well positioned when it came to filtering individual places. The idea was to use OpenBooking both at Val d'Hérens, as well as for the subordinate regions. Today their website has several sub-websites to the respective destinations and a superior portal for the whole tourism organization. For example in Evolène, covering the entire Val d'Hérens region is not particularly attractive. Technically OpenBooking is already able to deliver only a local subset of the availabilities.
New solutionsWithin a few days the responsive interface was expanded by the functionality of so-called "places". This feature is already known to customers with direct access to the OpenBooking API. As of the new acquisition of Val d'Hérens, sub-regions can now also be used within the same white label integration. Zermatt Tourism and Valais Valais Promotion are already able to search for individual localities. Since our white label application was often used within small destinations this feature was not really necessary, but it was already planned for a future release.
New fields of application
How are "places" used within the existing user interface? If a customer is looking for a holiday apartment in the Evolène region, the use of a geographically superior search is rather unfavorable. If this visitor is aware of the location, he will quickly notice that many recommendations have nothing to do with his current context. When the customer searches in Saint-Martin and also receives successful availabilities from the Evolène region then one does not seem to understand his needs. In the case of lack of local knowledge they may be disappointed after arrival, because the previously booked activities are not within the expected radius.
Even if the individual tourism organizations work "hand-in-hand" every day, they want to encourage the visitors to book with them. That's why the "place" feature was needed.
However, it may happen that a visitor does not find anything for his desired time span. In order to keep these customers the superordinate search finally sets in. Before this the potential customer is shown that he now leaves the chosen context and is researching at the new tourism level with the same filter criteria. In this case research is performed on whole Val d'Hérens with identical parameters.
For the beginning the Office du Tourisme du Val d'Hérens has opted for three booking vendors and master data interfaces.
In parallel to valdherens.ch our solution is also used at Evolène Région, Saint-Martin and Mont-Noble. Because all these sites are located within the same environment there were no obstacles to the ready-to-use search interface. For the listed websites our OpenBooking white label solution is easily addressed by the quick booking function on the homepage.
More release details
In the current release the data transfer was significantly improved. All parameters can now be transferred to the white label interface via HTML5 data attributes or URL querystring values. This possibility is particularly useful when the search is executed without a previous trigger. Event pages are a good example for this use-case. At a dinner show for 2 people the details are known both, date and number of people. Display this information on a suitable place on your website.
The developer documentation has also been revised. New features have been added and existing ones have been enhanced. Among other things, we updated the list of data suppliers and their functional range.
The most important change in the latest release was the location-specific limitation. It is now possible to define places(by zip code) as an ID and the searchable availabilities are reduced to these locations. If an additional "fallbackplace" is provided, OpenBooking offers a fallback to a larger regional circumference. When no results are found or the availabilities so far don't meet the visitors requirements, the availability search can be enlarged to the entire OpenBooking client. This feature is not a blackbox, it is checked in the background how many results are to be expected. Only when accommodations are found an additional button appears and prevents negative user experiences.
We would like to thank the Office du Tourisme du Val d'Hérens for their confidence and look forward to a successful year 2017.
Author: Christian Namberger
Christian has been working for PIXELTEX for over 5 years. As a professional IT specialist for application development, he started as a flash developer. After many years as a software developer and project manager, he changed to account management for our tourist partners. Today, Christian is responsible for marketing and communication with OpenBooking clients.