Let's dispel some of the myths and confusion around Jack Rabbit and online booking :)
Jack Rabbit is first and foremost an INDEXER.
A few times a day the Jack Rabbit "widget" - that white box on the TAP (tourism and parks) consumer facing website (tourismnewbrunswick.ca) hops over to each operators online booking system and asks how many rooms are available.
It doesn't hold anything or take a portion of your rooms, it just asks "how many rooms do you have not booked?" Then later in the day it asks "OK now how many rooms do you have that are not booked?"
It then holds on to this information and so when a consumer puts date ranges into the white box, it searches its information that it is holding on to and returns results
From there the consumer sees what operators have rooms available, and can choose to book, view the operator's website, start again, etc.
To actually book a room, the consumer must go to the operator's online booking system.
And here's where some people are confused
The operator can run ANY online booking system s/he wants to. The Jack Rabbit will hop over and "talk" to any online booking system.
There are many many many types of online booking engines and they range from online web based engines to full property management systems. Some which interface with online merchant accounts and some that don't (ie take credit card deposits, hold credit card information)
It's up to the operator to choose which online booking system s/he wants to use.
They also range in pricing from a percentage to a flat monthly fee.
AS AN OPTIONAL BONUS - the people who developed Jack Rabbit will provide any operator who wants it a free online booking system. This is SEPARATE to the Indexer the Jack Rabbit team runs on the TAP website.
The free online system is basic but they, the Jack Rabbit program team, are also making some improvements to it. Neither TAP or TIANB can make any improvements to the free portion online booking system.
There are many ways a consumer can find an operators website:
- Rack card at a VIC
- Google search
- www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca (TAP)
- You Tube video search
- RTA or DMO site listing
- a direct link from a previous customer / friends / family
- a facebook ad
- etc etc etc
Being in the TAP check availability widget is not the be all and end all of people finding your accommodation. It's just one route to it.
The cost for showing up in that widget is $125 a year
PLUS the cost of an online booking system. OR you can choose the free one from the Jack Rabbit company.
You must do your RESEARCH on what online booking option is going to work for your operation!!!
Implementing this technology and making the change from that notebook or calendar to online is a BIG one.
It takes planning and commitment and knowledge and money.
Remember when you wanted to build that garden for your guests to enjoy. So you plotted it out, bought the tiny plants and voila ... your guests sat in front of 5 inch tall hostas and said, "ah, that's cute"
Now it's a few years later, the hostas, which you moved to get more sun, are 2 feet tall and the bistro table set you purchased on clearance is a perfect spot for guests to relax.
The point being, the garden didn't start out as a magical place, and neither will your online booking engine.
Because you didn't understand flowers that well, you might have lost some, and had to replant others. Same with online booking - make sure you understand your options.
However in time, your online booking engine will be a magical place and as you sit in your garden, sipping a cup of tea while it takes reservations for you, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
As always, anyone from the TourismTechnology.com team would be happy to help explain how online reservations works (the other Atlantic Provincial portals are different) and we also have reviewed at least 12 online booking software engines and can dispel some of the myths.