August 1, 2018
New Sales Channels in the Mobile Era
WeChat Mini-Programs Real-Time Booking
Launched in January 2017, WeChat mini-programs are similar to native apps but are cloud-based and available within the WeChat platform, China’s largest social media platform. This means that users do not need to download a mini-program to their phones, saving them large amounts of data storage. The main focus for a mini-program is to provide companies and media outlets a platform to serve their targeted customers and audience. By March 2018, the company announced that there were 400 Million total WeChat mini-program users of which 170 Million were daily users.
How can hotels utilize WeChat mini-programs? There is no doubt that WeChat mini-programs will be one of the highest performing direct channels for hotels, directly bringing a larger number of bookings. However, there are many issues such as choosing a qualified mini-program developer and other basic functionalities like UI design, search, booking and canceling functions.
Real-Time Hotel Data Connection
As one of the direct sales channels for hotels, WeChat mini-programs must offer users accurate room rate, inventory, and availability (ARI). Therefore, they must be connected to the hotel’s Central Reservation System (CRS). Once they are connected, customers will be able to see real-time room type, availability and rate when they search, book or cancel any reservation. Once the booking is confirmed, the booking data will be sent back to the CRS from the mini-program.
Localized Availability Cache
When the hotel promotes its mini-program through high-volume media channels, the mini-program will receive a large amount of traffic in a short amount of time. An effective, localized caching service will help the hotel’s CRS significantly reduce the direct impact of room price data shopping requests, as the traffic will be redirected to the caching servers. Before any booking confirmations are made on the mini-program, the system will perform a live check between the caching data and the data in the CRS to make sure there are no price discrepancies.
Global Currency Conversion and Settlement
Currently, WeChat Pay only supports RMB settlements which makes currency conversion a must if any foreign hotels want to be a part of a WeChat mini-program. DerbySoft can convert various currencies to RMB and help hotels make an RMB settlement as well.
Network Data Security Service
As global security is becoming more and more important, all online businesses should follow both PCI certification and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). These regulations guide data security and privacy for users and should be followed by as a best practice by developers of mini-programs.
Integration with Loyalty Program
When current loyalty program members book via a WeChat mini-program, their membership status will be recognized, and they can apply their membership rate and discount. Mini-programs will also provide a similar functionality to enroll new members.
Independent Technology Platform
WeChat mini-programs can be inserted or embedded in any promotional article within the WeChat ecosystem just like pasting a URL link. The operation team and/or agency can easily use this function to promote and drive traffic to the mini-program. In the end, the technological side of the platform remains unaffected by the operational side, as it will continue to maintain accurate dynamic data and a good booking experience without any interference.
DerbySoft connected Club Med to WeChat via the social media platform’s mini-programs in April 2018 by developing real-time booking and online payment functionality for the resort brand. Club Med’s mini-program is more integrated and easier to use than other third party mini-programs on WeChat. With the Club Med mini-program, WeChat users can search, book and make payments online to 16 Club Med resorts across China, Asia and the Indian Ocean via the WeChat app. Three months after the launch, the average monthly traffic grew rapidly by 40% per month with a very high ROI.
Olivia Chen, VP of Marketing & Omni Channel China of Club Med said, “DerbySoft took only three weeks to develop the WeChat mini-program, integrating with Club Med’s CRS to connect the resorts’ real-time available, rates and inventory (ARI) to the WeChat mini-program. Furthermore, it looks clean and modern while retaining powerful functionalities. Our global customers can search and book any of our resorts by using the mini-program. This has led to the rapid growth of our WeChat direct sales and collaboration with DerbySoft has led to a win-win situation for both sides.”
DerbySoft has the world’s leading real-time hotel connectivity technology, hotel data caching technology, hotel metasearch technology and global monetary settlement function. DerbySoft is also ICP certified and GDPR complaint, the two global data security guidelines. In development of the WeChat mini-programs, the features are not only limited to the standard aspects such as excellent UI design, reservation and cancellation abilities, city and keyword search, hotel content display, loyalty program and membership integration, but also includes, global currency conversion and settlement, hotel catering and dining as well as other hotel facilities like moon cake, buffet, Spa, etc.. Lastly, a powerful global support team is at your service 24/7 through DerbySoft.
If you’re interested in learning more about how DerbySoft can connect your brand to the 170 Million of WeChat mini-program users, contact DerbySoft at BD@DerbySoft.com
DerbySoft is the leading provider of high-performance distribution services to the hospitality industry through an array of products and solutions. Build is the industry gold standard custom connectivity platform and Go connects distributors and suppliers in a more streamlined platform for those looking for faster speed to market. DerbySoft also provides solutions for metasearch and digital marketing challenges through the Click product. Most recently, DerbySoft launched Max, the content platform that communicates over 500 aspects of hotel properties to distributors to create a higher booking conversion.
With six offices around the globe and 400 employees in over 11 countries, DerbySoft continues to develop the next generation of online hotel distribution infrastructure. derbysoft.com
About Club Med
Founded in 1950 by Gerard Blitz, Club Med has created a new holiday concept of “exquisite one-price all-inclusive” and created a children’s club in 1967 to provide children with a wealth of activities. Club Med is guided by its pioneering spirit to find special destinations. Today, Club Med has become the world’s leading brand of “exquisite one-price all-inclusive,” creating an unforgettable holiday experience for families and couples through the integration of French elements.
Club Med has nearly 70 resorts worldwide, 85% of which are resorts of “exquisite one-price all-inclusive” and “Exclusive Collections”. Club Med is spread across 30 countries and has more than 23,000 Goodwill Organizers (G.Os) and Goodwill (G.Es) from 110 different nationalities.