Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jasons Online Update

Work in progress

An email sent to all Motel Association branches by the Nelson Motel Association Branch last week proclaimed that Jasons Travel Media would be returning to the future by allowing accommodation providers to process payments for online reservations.

While this option may have been in discussion, it would appear that the Nelson email was prematurely ejaculated and unfortunately this has caused motel operators using Jasons online products some confusion.

Jasons CEO, Kevin Francis has given some surety and has announced amendments to their online offer in an email to booking-enabled operators yesterday afternoon.

It is important to note that Jasons will continue to process payments at this stage.

With the exception of purely commission operators, all propertys' contact details will be published on online listings. It is stressed that this will give customers the choice of either paying (Jasons) upfront or contacting the accommodation operator direct if they wish to make other arrangements.

Jasons have made processing payments for accommodation operators easier by thankfully repealing the silly guest check-in code requirement.

Properties with 25 or more rooms that were exclusively offered a commission model will now be given the option of a flat-fee advertising model that was previously only offered to properties with 24 or less rooms.

Further amendments are not discounted but will only occur after consultation with advertisers.

I am reasonably comfortable with the latest Jasons offer and hope that they will demonstrate success over the next 12-months by attracting an increasing swell of travellers across all of their media. This is by no means assured, however in these times, the motel industry needs to have a few strategic partners on their side... 

Jasons CEO, Kevin Francis summerises the latest updates:

"As we have been saying on our visits around NZ, Jasons role is to provide the travelling consumer with the information they want, where they want it, how they want it and at the time they want it. If Jasons do that well, the consumer will engage with our tourism operators and if Jasons handle that engagement well, then business will flow.

One of the points I was making was about choice. The consumer is the key here, not Jasons or the tourism operator. Jasons is not aiming to stand between the consumer and the tourism operator, however, Jasons needs to provide the consumer with the services that they expect. A growing segment of this base expects to transact up front on site. Another segment, myself included, prefers still to book now, pay later. Jasons needs to cater for all the consumers in the best way that we are able. As you mentioned, part of that comes in providing a consistent experience, while allowing for choice.

By implementing some of the changes on October 1, specifically for operators contracted on the commission model, Jasons removed some of this choice by omitting their direct contact information on their listings. This policy forced the consumer offsite to search for the operator to either compare pricing or to transact in a book now, pay later manner. This policy also had the effect of alienating our operators, and reducing one of the key measures of advertising success, referrals. In addition, Jasons process for handling transfer of payment to operators complicated operators' work by demanding a guest-supplied code for release of funds.

We appreciate the feedback we have received from the industry and we actively use this valuable information as we develop Jasons' products in relation to consumer demands. The best result for all is when a product works to benefit everyone involved, and that is Jasons' primary business objective.

Jasons have now made the following changes to restore consumer choice in how they book and simplify transfer of payment to our operators:


On a positive note, other changes made on October 1 have resulted in increased consumer and operator engagement on the Jasons site:


Complete information about these changes was sent to our booking-enabled operators by email this afternoon.

There is a balancing act when working with both consumers and tourism operators. As discussed in an article published by eGlobal Travel Media last week, the challenges and tensions that commonly exist between operators and their media or booking partners are not unique to Jasons or New Zealand.

Jasons depend on our operators, and Jasons understand they depend on us. It is Jasons mission to do our best for them by supplying information consumers want, when, where and how they want it, and at the same time to do it in a way that works for the success of operators' business.

As I was saying to John Gilbertson this evening, this is the first step in putting things right between Jasons and those operators that it has taken offside, there will be further changes, but these will only happen after consultation. I do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past."

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