Tag Archives: Localisation

The Royal Park Hotel in London now speaks German

Our first hotel under the BABEL Multilingual brand is now live in German. We are delighted to have delivered the German Version of the Royal Park Hotel’s website to the world, and we are now looking forward to the first direct reservations from the country.

www.theroyalpark.de

The Royal Park in London now speaks fluent German (and is learning French)

Massimilano Naspi, Head of Distribution for the Royal Park Hotel said:

We were attracted by BABEL Multilingual because it was an obvious – and risk free – way for us to increase our international exposure. We were impressed with both the quality of the work that was delivered, but also the ease with which both our website and our booking engine were translated and marketed from within Europe…

The end result is that we now truly have a fighting chance to get international reservations straight on our website, and away from the competition – however big or established they may be. I am very happy with this product.

Yannis Anastasakis, Director and owner of Electronic Hotelworks expressed his delight for the first BABEL Multilingual site becoming reality.

This is not an ordinary translation by any stretch of the imagination. As far as I am aware, our services are a world-first in multilingual website re-construction and international optimisation, as we bring together a unique blend of quality of work and an agency-like pricing model. This is a risk free product for hotels and I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to sell roomnights everywhere in the world through BABEL. It just makes sense.”

…”we are particularly proud that we seem to have achieved our aim to ensure that this is easy for the hotelier. Everything, from accessing the .com website files and re-building the website content, to picking up and translating rate-plans, room-types and hotel descriptions (as well as everything else that can be found on the booking engine) was done with great ease for them…
… for the hotelier, building an international BABEL site is proving to be a process that is much, much easier and simpler than building an original .com site – despite the very detailed work we have to do behind the scenes. And all this whilst creating excellent levels of incremental international exposure for the hotels. All this couldn’t have been done without some great partnerships with OBAN Multilingual and CookieBite.net so my sincere thanks to them too.”

“I am told that the team at the Royal Park were so happy with the delivery and execution of their German site, that they have now signed up for French to be developed for them as well.

For more information on BABEL Multilingual, please visit us at www.babelmultilingual.com, or have a look around at www.ehotelworks.com.

The BABEL Multilingual team.

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Filed under Cultural Optimisation, eCommerce, International, Marketing, Multilingual, Search Engine Optimisation

New Babel Multilingual Product designed to help hotels go to the world

After a lot of discussions, test, design and re-design, the two teams that have the understanding and resources to make a truly exciting and excellent product happen, have finally done it. I am delighted to announce that BABEL Multilingual, the new form of international e-commerce marketing for hotels, is now available for hoteliers to get… and if the conditions are right, we will do this for FREE… well, almost!

Almost a decade ago, when I first met with the guys from OBAN in a presentation they did at the Sussex Innovation Centre, I had one of these light-bulb moments. Whilst the rest of us were battling to convince hotels that spending some money with Google for some track-able advertising was a good idea (again, this was a decade ago and the market was very, very different) OBAN were talking to their blue chip clients about the end game. Proper internationalisation projects where everything is done on a per country basis, with thorough and creative local research techniques that would help identify what the search engine AND cultural requirements of each country were, and use all this information for home-grown websites, talking to each customer in his or her language, from within his or her country… why hadn’t I thought of that??!

OBAN and I hit it off right away. These guys were wondering why they had such success with global giants around the world (think BMW, governments and tourism departments of Holland, Spain, Abu Dhabi etc.), yet when it came to hotels, there seemed to be some barriers… We looked at it back then, and we pretty quickly figured it out. The level of sophistication required for boldly investing some serious money to gain a well-worth it international presence, seemed to be firmly in the court of the large chains – those with international presence in the first place. Any single hotel or small chain, which would typically invest under 10K a year on their entire website effort for their .com and .co.uk versions were very unlikely to invest with such commitment…

I immediately knew there was a gap in the market there… hotels are natural targets for foreign customers. And searches from other countries, in other languages will always yield… well… “other” results. An international version of a hotel’s website, living and growing within the target (source) country HAS to be a good thing to have. And having it sooner rather than later, HAS to be a good thing, as age is generally a factor that helps you with your organic listings extremely significantly. I know that if a hotel places a .de version of their website properly in Germany, they will have what is called “early entrant benefits” for many years to come.

There was definitely an opportunity there… Fast forward to today, and I am delighted to say that I genuinely believe we have come up with the answer.

How does it all work?

  • BABEL is a product where we take the hotel’s website and we re-construct it – using OBAN‘s awesome services – in foreign languages and for a foreign audience.
  • First we look at each hotel individually in terms of price, style and location. We then make a call on where we think there is an opportunity for them internationally (given existing AND projected international tourism trends).
  • Then we send the guys at OBAN‘s various international offices the hotel’s existing URL, and we ask them to evaluate if the website will work in that market.
  • Each of the international offices will then re-construct the website from within that country to match both the online behaviour of the guests (e.g. the terms they are using to find a hotel) but also their cultural requirements (I always have fun explaining to hoteliers why their website is going to be having slightly different colours for a Chinese version..).
  • The hotels typically approve any suggested changes right away and we crack on with buying the correct URLs, hosting a site locally (or simulating local hosting – depending on the market) and then fine-tuning the text.
  • We then get the booking engine sorted. Pre, post and confirmation e-mails – as well as modification and cancellation confirmations are translated alongside with room and hotel descriptions. The entire experience has to be strictly seamless.
  • We finally launch and we generate traffic and reservations from these countries.. and there is the kick. A hotel typically won’t have paid anything until that point. They are only asked to pay a commission on the value of the reservation, once the reservations start going through, and only for a period of time. When we have been paid for our work, the then established and well producing sites are returned to the hotels and the reservations from abroad become free!

The real excitement for me is that this has never been done before. Hotels paying on a CPA basis for an established, thorough and otherwise very expensive multilingual expansion and localisation service is a completely new thing – and seeing it move from a glint in my eye a few years ago to a real, working concept that generated revenues for the hotels – where they didn’t have anything before – is just extremely rewarding!

With thanks for reading – and don’t be shy to give us your feedback and thoughts.

Yannis Anastasakis
www.ehotelworks.com

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Filed under Conversions, eCommerce, Hotels, International, Multilingual, Search Engine Optimisation

The Arch Hotel in London now speaks fluent German

We are delighted to announce that eHotelworks have now created a truly exciting opportunity for one of its newest hotel clients, The Arch Hotel in London.

The Arch Hotel London .de

The Arch Hotel now speaks very fluent German, and can be found in Germany

The Arch is no ordinary hotel. 88 wonderful rooms, excellent public spaces and meeting rooms, and a genuinely impressive record of looking after guests. With the property being open for just over a year now, the Trip Advisor reviews are placing it firmly on the top of London’s elite hotels.

Earlier this year, the Arch joined eHotelworks in being part of BABEL Multilingual, a revolutionary opportunity for a select list of hotels to compete with online travel agencies for reservations from abroad coming directly to their own website.

Yannis Anastasakis, eHotelworks’ CEO, commenting on this opportunity said:

Unlike every other translation that you see hotels undertake, this property had the chance to get its first international language created through our BABEL Multilingual solution. That definitely means no ordinary translations! Using Oban Multilingual‘s extensive experience in cross-country on-line traffic and in creating content and designs that are both search engine and culturally optimised, TheArchLondon.de is enjoying a locally-focused presence in Germany, and is already well on its way in getting significant international exposure for the hotel.

Through the Babel Multilingual product, the Arch had its current official website re-built – rather than translated. Respecting the look and feel of the original pages, the content of the English pages was re-created from scratch to match the terms that German people use when searching online.

The end result is that the new website was made to be search engine friendly – which brings more visitors – but also consistent with the online habits of German visitors. With the right kind of promotion in Google.de, the Arch will have a great opportunity to compete directly with the likes of Hotels.de, and LastMinute.de – who so far had very little online competition from independent hotels for cross-country traffic.”

The Arch Hotel London's German Website

Possibly the most exciting element of the Babel Multilingual product, is that hotels receive the service of their international page re-construction without any up-front costs.

Uniquely, eHotelworks offers the entire range of content and url research, website hosting, website re-construction, cultural optimisation and localisation on a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) basis. Hotels are charged a commission on incremental reservations only when the international websites have generated reservations for the hotels.

To find out more about potentially getting your hotel’s website re-constructed without up-front costs, you can contact us here.

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Filed under Cultural Optimisation, eCommerce, Hotels, International, Marketing, Multilingual, Sales Strategies, Search Engine Optimisation

multilingual, multicultural and localised marketing

The argument for multilingual search engine optimisation expands well beyond the obvious benefits of having a website in more than one languages. Being able to be seen, understood and – if you do things properly – be booked in the language of your customers’ choice will give you a solid, and long-term advantage over your competition. It will also give you a very powerful tool to segment your audiences, which in turn will enable you to target needs more accurately. The result? Many, many more bookings!

Multilingual search engine optimisation is the result – rather than the clear goal – of ensuring that your website can accommodated both guests and search engines in their

Multilingual Online Marketing

Multilingual doesn't necessarily mean multinational or localised. Getting your website (and your business) to the world takes so much more than just translations.

quest for content relevant to your needs. It is also one of these activities where doing things right once, will allow you to benefit in many ways and for a long time. And what is even better, because it isn’t just aimed at better listings in search engines, it will let you start seeing the benefits right away!

Introducing a multilingual element to your website, is the type of activity that will benefit your rankings; and even the most die-hard anti-optimisation executives in any organisation would find it very hard to argue against it. Running a hotel in a world where people will check out your website for better rates and information even if they book via Kuoni in Switzerland or TUI in Germany, means that you will inevitably have the attention of an international audience. Servicing them in their language is both doing the right thing for your customers (some cultures will be delighted even if they do speak English) and it is serving yours.

  • Re-building – not translating

Re-building, rather than translating your international multilingual website, is a point of unexpected importance. There are two reasons for this – one relating to your actual visitors, and the other to your electronic ones.

  • Too formal?

Translation companies (that are not going to be working only with hotel related customers) will invariably provide the most accurate translation possible. That doesn’t always work for international visitors. Strict translations often miss the underlying essence of the message – usually making the text look stuffy and formal. Effectively hotels are getting their message written in the formal version of the language, which although it is very correct – is usually not what the local visitor would expect.

It is still much better to have the language than no language at all, yet there are also search engine optimisation implications.

  • Mismatching search engine terms?

Here at eHotelworks we look at the local search terms used by consumers before building the text and content of your website. If you want to build your website in Russian you will need to know how Russians research your destination and hotel. Are they looking for a “country-side hotel” or a “hotel in the country”? The search terms make a huge difference in your visibility and are therefore a great guide on what you should mention first. This approach ensures you are offering what your customers are looking for, when you know you have the right product.

  • Culturally unacceptable?

On top of the linguistic barrier reasons, there is such a thing as different visual expectations from customers, depending where they live. If you take Expedia as an example, www.expedia.com is somewhat different to www.expedia.co.uk, and – as you might expected – even more different to www.expedia.it.

The Italian vs. the UK and US versions are a clear example of the point of cultural optimisation on a web-page. The same company – and one that is very good at what it does – is giving different visual messages to different cultures. Italians react differently than Britons, and even more differently than the Chinese (who – incidentally – like websites that you and I would consider cluttered). Expedia has reached these conclusions when they monitored the behaviour of each audience and identified the differences. They then used different visual messages to attract conversions.

Active hotels (www.activehotels.com) is highlighting this point well. If you speak to any American, they will all tell you how dreadful the site looks to them as a first impression. Unlike Expedia, who are using their US and UK versions for conveying different actual messages rather than significantly different visual structures, Active is presenting us with what will initially seem like a paradox. A very successful company that is actually disliked by the Americans – usually a vital segment to capture success in this arena…

The explanation comes from the focus of Active. They are not known at all in the States (the company is letting its parent operations of www.booking.com and www.priceline.com take the US bookings). Their concern is the UK.

One of the reasons of their success (there are many more) is that UK customers seem to associate a cheap looking website with cheap prices (something like walking in a pound shop on the high-street). They offer all the information and functionality you would want, but they are giving you the feeling of buying at great value. (Surprisingly the actually also do often offer better value in the UK than their global competitors, and that naturally helps.)

  • Where are you based?

Multilingual and multicultural also implies local. And “local” is the current big thing! Websites that are hosted in each country have higher chances of being found. This is based on empirical evidence more than anything else, but it seems to be correct – and more correct in some countries over others. Even your Google search engine offers the option for your country’s local results. Would we be reasonable to assume that this giant of giants would waste such prime real-estate represented by the space and position of this option, if it wasn’t critically important to their customers?

Locally hosted websites, in the local language, with a local URL and a familiar look and feel will place you in front of the eyes of the international traveller, who will also understand your message and will be left with no doubt that you care.

And as if this wasn’t enough, it will give you one more advantage – one of indisputable strength.

International versions of your website will allow you to target your marketing to each country!

Germans like breakfasts included in their stay. Most likely very unlike your own holiday experience if you are a Briton, this is the time that they like to spend together before they all start their day in your resort – so they will sit for long conversations around their breakfast table for the best part of the morning. You, as the resort owner or sales and marketing manager, would most likely want to offer them an inclusive breakfast deal.

At the same time, Britons are now bombarded with double-digit percentage discounts from companies that try to survive the economic downturn by stimulating transactions that will protect their cash-flow.

A multilingual website would allow you to offer different inclusions to your guests that “book now”. Despite the obvious difficulties that this would cause your operations if your booking engine can’t support different messages in each language (there are ways around it – but never really easy to manage) having a .de and .co.uk version of your website would allow you to package a similar discount as two different and respectively appealing offers. You are effectively customising you offer to what each group wants, communicating the value of your offering to your customers; in their language too. Philip Kotler could not be happier for you.

Multilingual websites which follow the rules of reconstruction, cultural optimisation, local hosting and multi-point targeting, mean you will be seen and booked more, because you are able to communicate and be understood better than your competition.

Yannis Anastasakis

eHotelworks

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Filed under Cultural Optimisation, eCommerce, Hotels, Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation