Industry: Travel, Bookings
Challenge: Building high-performing, mobile-responsive, SEO-ready websites that convert at scale; With summertime bookings skyrocketing in anticipation of Covid’s retreat, Avvio is relied upon more than ever as the leading booking technology provider for hotels and the best way to deliver personalized booking experiences for individual guests.
Solutions: Avvio’s digital marketing expertise, its team of UX design pros, and the speed, security, and support of WP Engine’s managed WordPress platform.
Results: Meeting a booming market trend head-on; Avvio works with a rapidly-growing list of more than 500 hotels, driving nearly half a billion Euro in annual revenue. With WP Engine managing performance, WordPress updates, and security & compliance related to GDPR, Avvio’s “Web Delivery” team is focused on building beautiful websites that optimize the booking experience for every hotel and the guests they serve.
Founded in 2002, Avvio develops cutting-edge technologies that enable hotels to drive outstanding growth in direct website bookings, while reducing dependency on online travel agents (OTA’s.). In 2017 Avvio launched Allora.ai; the world’s first booking platform powered by artificial intelligence. Allora.ai creates a personalized booking experience for every guest, which drives engagement and unparalleled guest conversion and is supported by digital marketing with outstanding website design.
"While our teams provide the needed expertise on the front end, we can only deliver the full scope of our digital experiences with the best WordPress hosting platform in the world. "
—Ian Sloan, Vice President of Digital, Avvio
Meeting a growing digital demand head-on.
The digital pivot that began in 2020 certainly sparked numerous changes, but it also accelerated existing trends that were already ascendant. Digital commerce, for example, has surged since the start of 2020, with the UK eCommerce market projected to be worth £200 billion by 2021, and with many online retailers around the globe seeing higher-than-ever traffic and sales.
This digital shift has meant an even greater focus on hotels’ digital experiences as the travel and hospitality market gradually re-opens.
According to data from Avvio, a leading hotel technology provider that works with hundreds of hotels across Europe, this boom is particularly visible in the UK, with August hotel and self-catering bookings 91% ahead of last year (July +45%, September +36%) and families more than doubling their share of UK hotel bookings from 11% in 2020 to 24% YTD in 2021.
The average length of family stays has also seen a huge, 75% increase, and the average value of these bookings has increased by a whopping 94%.
“This sharp rise in bookings can be largely attributed to the growing sense of optimism surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and a massive, bottled-up demand for the travel and hospitality industries that’s only beginning to reach the surface,” said Ian Sloan, Avvio’s Vice President of Digital.
As this demand peaks, Sloan noted that mobile has overtaken desktop as the channel of choice for digital commerce, with more than half of all Internet traffic shopping from a mobile device—a trend that’s clearly reflected in Avvio’s bookings data.
“More and more of the bookings we see are coming from mobile,” Sloan said.
“Over the last three years, mobile visits to hotel sites have grown from 56 to 66% and mobile bookings have grown from 31 to 46%, making it the largest booking channel.”
Deep expertise combined with managed performance.
As all of these trends have converged at once—the rise in online bookings, the increased emphasis on mobile, and the demand for personalization across every channel—Avvio is relied upon more than ever as the best way for hotels to deliver powerful digital experiences that can meet the high digital demands of today’s online audiences.
“There's never been a more crucial time for hotels to drive direct bookings,” Sloan said. “With so much of our industry just re-emerging, they need to retain as many bookings as possible and drive them through their most profitable channel—direct.”
Avvio helps here by creating high-performing, SEO-ready websites that convert, with an emphasis on great UX, digital marketing integrations, and a proprietary AI-powered booking engine for powerful user-centric personalization.
“We specialize in building great-looking, high-performing hotel websites that bring users from search into that direct channel," Sloan said. "While our teams provide the needed expertise on the front end, we can only deliver the full scope of our digital experiences with the best WordPress hosting platform in the world.”
Knowing that Avvio's websites are backed by the best-in-class performance, security, and award-winning, 24/7/365 support that all make WP Engine the #1 hosting platform for WordPress, Sloan and his teams are free to focus on the mission at hand, and what looks to be their busiest bookings season yet.
“There’s a huge need for fast, high-powered, eye-catching, digital experiences that can capture these audiences via search and bring them to hotel sites for bookings,” Sloan said.
“It’s about being ready to meet this massive demand head-on, with the best digital experiences in the market," he added.
"Avvio can do so confidently with WP Engine at its back.”
Higher-than-ever bookings, faster-than-ever growth.
As the summer inches closer, Sloan and the teams at Avvio are busier than ever, building new sites to keep up with growing demand while emphasizing the entirety of the digital experience across all of their websites.
“Once we’ve built and launched a site for a new customer, we try to get them to intensify their efforts in two key areas,” Sloan said, “Personalization and Protection.”
Personalization is tied directly to Avvio’s AI-powered bookings engine, which provides personalized recommendations, including trip add-ons based on individual profiles.
Protection means focusing beyond the booking, with efforts in place to maximize retention.
“If 100 people make a booking, 20-30 of those people generally cancel,” Sloan said, so it's about initiating a retention project that leverages our AI capabilities to help with things like sending messages and reminders to a guest in the days and weeks leading up to their stay.”
Adding all of these elements to the booking experience are just a few of the factors that make Avvio unique in the booking technology space, as they do so much more than providing a booking engine.
“Many of our clients start with us for booking engine functionality specifically, “Sloan said, “but once they realize we offer bespoke website builds and fully-integrated digital marketing services, they see the difference we offer in the market.”
A few of Avvio‘s top hotel choices for the summer include: