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Booking.com with Vik Channel Manager in WordPress [ENG]

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Hi! This video shows how to set up the
plugin Vik Channel Manager on a WordPress website.
This is how the plug-in looks like once installed. We are working on a demo
website powered by WordPress where we also have previously installed the
plug-in Vik Booking and setup with some room types rate plans and rates; so once
you insert your e4j Connect API key, which can be obtained by making a
subscription for the e4j Connect service, the system will activate all channels
selected for your subscription. In this video we are going to see how to
configure channel based on API technology, so with a two way full sync
connection, like Booking.com. The first thing to know
is the hotel Id of our property at Booking.com
and, once the connection between your account in the channel manager provider
e4jConnect (us) has been activated, we can proceed with the configuration of
the entire system. From the page settings in Vik Channel Manager, we have to fill
in the parameters at the bottom of the page with our hotel id. There’s an important setting to consider
before saving: for the price comparison the system needs to know whether
Booking.com requires the prices to be tax included
or excluded for most European countries. This parameter needs to be set to tax
included so we leave it as it is and we click the Save button.
Now our hotel id has been saved. The Channel Manager needs to know what is usually
called the “rooms mapping data”, which indicates the relations between
the rooms of your website and the rooms of the channels. As a first step, we go to synchronize our rooms and by
clicking this button the system will read in real-time all rooms and rate
plans from our Booking.com hotel id will occupy the availability for the
corresponding roommate on your website. Let’s create the relations; luckily the
room names are pretty intuitive. I’m going to link the triple room to the
corresponding triple room on the website. The center of the page will show the
relation; the apartment goes with the apartment, and then the double room. Once we know the relations are correct
we can click the Save button. One important thing to be noticed about the
rooms mapping is that the relations between the channel rooms and the website
rooms should always be one-to-one, so this means that one room of Booking.com
should be connected to just one corresponding of the website and
vice-versa: in our example the comfort triple room
is correctly mapped to just one corresponding room of our website. After
saving the system takes us to the rooms relations page where we see a schema of
the current relations between the channel rooms and the website rooms. We
also get a message right after mapping the rooms with a new hotel id: it’s
asking us whether we want to import the active reservations from Booking.com.
This is a useful function to download on our website in the booking engine all
the reservations from the channel with a checkout date in the future. This is
fundamental to complete the configuration process with Booking.com
which requires the channel manager to transmit back the information about the
availability and rates. For this reason our website needs to have the correct
rates defined, as well as the correct availability: this means that all future
reservations must be saved in Vik Booking. Let’s quickly open Vik Booking
on a new tab. The page “all bookings” is showing just
one test reservation coming from our website, so the page “availability
overview” will show just this night booked for our “double room” with the
units remaining on these dates. Let’s go back to the channel manager and let’s
import the active bookings. The request will take a few seconds to
complete. All the active reservations for the mapped rooms will be imported from
Booking.com and the page dashboard will show some notifications for the new
bookings downloaded. If we go back to Vik Booking to see an overview of the
availability, we will see that we have more dates and rooms booked. The page all
bookings is now showing also the reservations that were just imported
from Booking.com. It’s important to notice that the
imported reservations during the first configuration phase
will have just some partial details: some information will be missing, for example
the total amount the credit card details and the country of residence of the
guests. Of course all the new bookings
downloaded by the channel manager from here on, will be comprehensive of all data. At this point, we need to make sure our
website has all future reservations saved, and it has the correct
availability for all rooms. The booking engine Vik Booking is the central
reservations system that contains all bookings coming from any channel, website
included; in case you are missing some bookings, you can always create them
manually. You can use the page calendar to create manual reservations, or you can
also do it from the page availability overview.
Let’s try to close a room on some dates. Let’s close the apartment from the 10th to the
15th of August, maybe because we received the booking over
the phone. Let’s move on to the 15th of August and
let’s close the room. What’s the difference between closing a room and
booking a room for a real customer? The difference is in the number of units
that get blocked for a specific type of room on certain dates: when you close a
room the system will generate a booking to occupy all of its units. Such special
bookings will be excluded from all financial reports and from the
statistics because it is not a real reservation. So I go ahead and close this
room once confirmed by going back to the parent page,
I will see that the room has been booked: in fact those dates are marked in red. If
I had closed the Double room, which has five units available in total, I would
have obtained the same result meaning that all the five units would have been
booked. Instead, if I had made a simple reservation the result would have been
different. Let’s try to book a room until the 20th
of August. We booked just one unit I could have chosen to book more than one
unit, up to five in this example. Let’s assign a customer to the reservation.
This is a test customer previously created for another booking. I can also
enter a custom rate for this booking. Let’s do 300 euros.
Then I click Save. Good, by going back the system will
refresh the availability. I’ve booked just one unit, and so I have
four units remaining in these three nights. Now that we know the availability
on our website is correct for all rooms, the only remaining thing we need to take
care about before completing the configuration of Booking.com or any
other channel is the price and configuration; the price is in the rate
plans for the rooms on the website must be correct, they have to reflect the
pricing you want to have. If you watch some other videos you will see how to
set up the pricing for the various seasons or dates of the year, as well as
the occupancy pricing, which are very important also for the channel manager
in order to transmit the bulk actions to update the inventory on Booking.com Once we know the rates and the
availability are correctly set up on our website, we can go back to the channel
manager to finalize the configuration of the channel Booking.com.
We only need to submit the to bulk actions; in the meantime we see the two
notifications for our test reservations we did before, the closure of one room,
and the other reserved, the system is telling us that the channel
Booking.com was correctly notified. This is not sufficient for the first
configuration of the channel and one hotel id: once you connect a new account
with the channel manager, Booking.com will reset your rates and availability.
All the current reservations will remain unchanged of course, but they need a full
refresh to be transmitted throughout the channel manager, complete of rates and
availability. We can submit this full refresh by using the – bulk actions from
the bookings menu. The first bulk action is called copy availability. The page is
asking us the range of dates that we want to update; by default this is set
from the current day to one year ahead. We could deselect some rooms to exclude
them or we can toggle the selection. Let’s keep all rooms selected and we
just need to select all channel that we want to update, Booking.com in this case.
If we had connect in other channels, then they would have been displayed next to
Booking.com. Let’s submit the page by clicking the
button at the top of the page. The system will read the current availability for
the selected rooms and dates from the website and the exact same availability
inventory will be transmitted to booking.com to align the units available
for all rooms. Once completed, we will see a log, which tells us the availability
transmitted: for example, we did some bookings for August.
Let’s move on to the beginning of the month. We’ve booked the double room from the
17th till the 20th until the night of the 19th. We should have four units left
for the double room on these dates. If we check the response of the channel
manager, we see that from the 17th of August till the 19th, we have transmitted
four units available. The notifications page will show us a real-time response
from the channel Booking.com it was successful, so we can proceed with the
other bulk action which will transmit the information about the rates and
restrictions. This is another important function, pretty similar to the other
bulk action, but with some differences. We can exclude or include certain rooms
from the update and we can choose the dates to update. We have two more columns:
the first is the selection of the website rate plan, from which the system
will read the rates for transmitting them to Booking.com. This is important:
rates are not read from Booking.com or any other channel; they are read from
your website and transmitted to the channels, also after the first activation
of your connection with Booking.com they reset all rates and availability, and
so at the moment they have no data. We need to retransmit this information to
complete the configuration of the channel manager. Let’s transmit the rates
for our non-refundable rate plan. We need to take the check box for
Booking.com next to each room we would like to update. Once we click the check
box, a drop down menu will be displayed for us to select the corresponding rate
plan at Booking.com that we want to update; this is an important choice
because right now we want to transmit the rates for the non-refundable rate
plan to update the corresponding non-refundable rate at Booking.com. We
are working on a test Hotel and so it may be possible that your property does
not have a non-refundable rate, maybe it only has a standard rate; if this was the
case, then you should select just the standard rate for both web sites and
channels. The column at the center is required by
the system to know whether the prices should be transmitted to Booking.com
exactly is on your website the same pricing as for your booking engine or if
they should be altered, meaning that the rates of your website should be
increased by a percent or absolute value. This would create an incremental rule
that the system will save for many other functions that update the rates on the
channels. Once we submit the function the system will read our prices for the
non-refundable rate, and it will transmit them to Booking.com for one year to
update their corresponding non-refundable rate. Let’s wait for the
process to complete. The result will be a real-time response
taken directly from the channels. Once done, all rates will be instantly
visible from your Booking.com extranet account, and in our example the property
would go back online at Booking.com ready to be booked: in fact, rooms can be
booked on certain dates only if they have information about the availability,
which obviously needs to be greater than zero, and if they have the cost defined
for the various rate plans. The response was successful, so we can now transmit
the rates for the other rate plan standard rate. Let’s change the relation
of the rate plans by choosing the standard rate for both website and
Booking.com. Then we submit again the bulk action.
This operation should be repeated for each rate plan that you have on both
website and Booking.com or other channels in case you only have one rate
plan like the standard rate, then you need to launch this bulk action for the
rates just once: in fact, sometimes your Booking.com
account may have some derive rates, which are not parent rates that can be updated
through the channel manager. In case of derived rate plans, by transmitting the
costs for the parent rates like the standard rate, such child rates would
update by themselves automatically. Our response was successful also in this
case, so our configuration process for Booking.com is complete; now we can try
to simulate a booking, maybe by choosing some of the dates previously tested. We
can choose to book a room for three nights. Let’s look at the current
availability: we can reserve the triple room, the double room and the apartment,
which has just one unit left. These are the rates that we’ve just transmitted
together with the various occupancy pricing rules. The setup of this hotel id
is complete, and so the system is now able to do its job by itself.
If I went ahead to complete a booking, the channel manager would instantly
receive a reservation. This is a test platform of Booking.com, but every new
booking modification or cancellation would be instantly and automatically
processed by the channel manager: in case of a new booking, we would have a log
similar to this one and the availability would be synchronized across all
channels, website included. That’s all. This was all it takes to setup the
channel booking.com in the channel manager.

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