The Risks of Using Booking Services to Translate Your Online Hospitality Content
Third-party booking solutions may be convenient, but they deliver problematic localizations.
When travelers plan a trip, they’ll spend more than 50 days visiting nearly 30 websites over a period of about 80 online sessions. And when they’re ready to transact, they’ll often use a third-party booking engine to do it.
Booking engines can make life easy for customers. They're also great solutions for businesses in the travel and hospitality industries.
Or are they? If you want to serve travelers in international markets, you should localize your content in many different languages. And while booking engines can translate this content, their translations are often poor. They wind up creating confusing customer experiences.
That poses risks to your brand and business.
Shortcomings of Booking Engine Translation
Why do these services fail with international languages? They often use machine translation—automated translation software—which can create peculiar, unimaginative, inaccurate or downright offensive localizations.
Booking engines are great solutions for businesses in the travel and hospitality industries. Or are they?
Global customers have little patience for bad translations. Engagement and conversion rates quickly suffer.
Here are two other ways—of several—in which booking engines fall short:
- Machine translations can’t effectively capture your company’s brand voice, style and tone
- They translate the bare bones of what your company offers, but don’t highlight your differentiators
But there are ways to elegantly sidestep this big problem while also generating better SEO results and saving on translation costs. Look for translation solutions that offer the following advantages.
Retain Control of Your Brand Voice
Using a third-party booking engine means playing by its rules. That means you don't have control over how their services translate your content into other languages.
The result? Your carefully-crafted brand voice, style and tone are undermined by their translation software's literal, word-for-word approach. A serious, informative voice can come across in translation as stilted, overly formal, even rude. A fun, casual, friendly style can sound frivolous and insincere.
You don’t have control over how third-party booking services translate your content.
Alternative translation solutions are flexible enough to capture the tone and style of your flagship website. The best solutions also leverage human translators who provide the nuanced phrasing to make your brand sound authentic and in touch with the needs of global travelers.
Showcase Your Differences
Third-party booking engines don't highlight what makes your business special. Instead, they follow a "one size fits all" strategy-translating only the basics that any travel business might offer.
This means they omit the features and amenities that make your business unique and stand out to travelers—like in-room bookshelves stocked with local authors, or the wide, bright windows where the pet you’re traveling with can snooze in the warm sun.
Travelers care about those specific, special features because they want more than travel arrangements. They want an experience. Third-party booking engines sacrifice your carefully crafted, experiential marketing language in favor of simplicity.
Your brand voice suffers as a result. So does the representation of your properties or offerings.
Third-party booking engines sacrifice your carefully crafted, experiential marketing language in favor of simplicity.
An Alternative, Better Approach
Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on the bare-bones machine translations available through third-party booking engines. You can use world-class proxy-based translation solutions that authentically localize your content without requiring you to abandon your booking engine.
Great proxy-based translation solutions can authentically localize your content for booking—and beyond.
This approach has many benefits:
Translated content follows the style and messaging of your flagship website, preserving your brand voice and style.
You stay in control of what you say and how you say it, thanks to a dedicated translation team that’s fluent in your industry and brand.
Human translators add the authenticity and culturally relevant phrasing that builds credibility among global customers.
SEO-rich content can be optimized for relevance in certain regional search engines, so your site ranks higher there.
These solutions can be used on your global websites too, enabling global customers to book with you directly—which eliminates commissions paid to booking engines.
You won’t need to pay multiple machine-translation subscription fees for different languages, making it easier to save as you expand into new markets.
Your content can be translated before it ever goes to third-party booking engines, giving you much greater control over your marketing message.
Using a third-party booking engine doesn't have limit you to using its undercooked and limited machine translation services. You can employ a more nimble, brand-conscious proxy-based translation solution that can maximize global engagement, conversions, SEO results and more.