Disney, Pinterest, Tax, Ice, Online booking & startups
Online booking is “the belly of the beast”. On Super Bowl Sunday I announced to my family: “I am ready to go into the belly of the beast.” The beast in question: Walt Disney World’s resort booking system. I love Disney World. It’s my all-time favorite vacation destination.
I do not love its reservations system, however. For nearly every one of my vacations there, the reservations process has been miserable. This time might have been the worst, though. To book three rooms each, at two resorts (a total of six reservations, in other words) took hours. I missed the Super Bowl because of it.
I called the reservations line at 4:53 p.m. At 6:05 – one hour and 12 minutes later – my reservation was finally complete. I had to give my credit card number at least six times. I had to give the names of the people in my party, their addresses, their email addresses, umpteen times. [read more]
How Pinterest Is Changing Website Design Forever. Even if you haven’t ever visited popular visual bookmarking site Pinterest, you might recognize its design elements — which have been popping up everywhere since the startup burst onto the mainstream scene in 2011.
The site doesn’t use traditional web building blocks. “It’s almost like a window-shopping mode,” says Khoi Vinh, the former design director for NYTimes.com.
“It puts the ball back in the user’s court,” muses Andrew Beck, a web designer at Blue Fountain Media. [read more]
Counties realize tax shortfall from online booking industry. The growing presence of online booking companies like Hotwire, Expedia and Priceline is costing counties, and other governments across the state, hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue, according to Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue Bob Wertz. The tax collection conundrum stems from online booking companies charging applicable local taxes to the “wholesale rate” they pay hotels, rather than the full rate paid by customers. For instance, when an online booking company secures a $100 room from a hotel for $80, the company is applying 5 percent transient occupancy taxes (TOT) and retail sales and use taxes to the $80. This results in lower revenue collections for counties. [read more]
Ottawa’s new online ice-time bookings a hit. The City of Ottawa made more than $43,000 from last-minute ice bookings after a new website feature launched in December, council’s information technology subcommittee heard on Monday.
People can now to get discounted ice rates at city arenas and ice pads when booking one to seven days in advance. The website allows groups to book ice time at the last minute, usually after competitive leagues or tournaments give up their bookings. Officials hope these bookings will generate an additional $153,000 a year.
“We are confident that this will start to fill in the holes and it will encourage people to turn back their ice so that it can be resold, because now there’s a very visible channel for doing that,” said Dan Chenier, general manager of parks, recreation and cultural services. [read more]
Zentila, an online booking tool for meetings, announced its Great Reveal. An improvement to the previous veiled booking system, the Great Reveal will enable meeting planners to more efficiently use Zentila.
“Before, when meeting planners booked with Zentila, they selected specific hotels they were interested in and when the bids came back, everything but the name of the hotel was revealed,” said Zentila founder and ZEO, Mike Mason. “We did this in an effort to ensure only serious buyers were submitting RFPs and to eliminate window shopping.”
The addition of a “reveal” button to the site allows meeting planners to see the names of the hotels after deciding if there is a bid worthy of booking, he noted.
To book a meeting through Zentila and test out the new “Reveal” button, visit http://www.zentila.com
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Impart Media offers web gadgets called beGadgets, which seamlessly integrate with your Bookeasy system to enhance your visitor experience and promote online bookings. The beGadgets suite can be integrated into your existing website, offering you a great way to enhance your online presence on a limited budget. The beGadget “Multi-product search” gadget syncs with your Bookeasy system and embeds inside your website, so that visitors can easily search live availability and book Accommodation, Tours and Events. [read more]
Start-up Spotlight: Eventup aims to simplify event-booking. Online event booking site Eventup, which launched Tuesday, helps users search for and book exclusive venues for free without hiring an event planner.
Private beach homes, restaurants, the set of CBS’ “Big Brother” and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion are among the 300 sites already available in the Los Angeles area. Users can search for venues based on size and type of event, and can book the spaces for birthday parties, weddings, corporate functions, filming or photo shoots. [read more]
Week Shorts is a short compendium of interesting news articles compiled at Connected and published for those interested in the new media world. All the articles are taken from third party sources and links are provided back to see the full article after minor editing and formatting changes. Connected acknowledges the owners of the work and respective copyrights. The article is provided, as-is with no warranty as to its accuracy. Connected cannot control and therefore will not be held liable for the content of third-party web-sites.