Bókun leveraged Duda to build a turnkey offering combining their booking widget with custom websites for tour operators and other travel companies.
Bókun is a SaaS platform that simplifies booking management for travel companies. A booking widget integrated on travel companies’ websites helps manage availability so that tours and activities don’t get double booked. TripAdvisor owns the Bókun platform, and the Bókun website runs on Duda.
Customers typically include tour operators and other businesses selling activities and excursions from walking tours to treks. Bókun’s customers want an easier way to manage tour capacity and availability.
Often, these companies use manual spreadsheets to track and manage bookings, which makes the process prone to errors. Bókun’s booking widget makes any website instantly bookable and replaces clunky spreadsheets for streamlined booking management.
Tour operators and other travel companies come to Bókun from three channels:
Despite the value of the Bókun booking widget to tour operators, many of these customers struggled to install the widget on their websites. This struggle typically reflected a lack of technical knowledge among owners of small tour and activities companies. Installing the widget required logging into the website and embedding it.
Bókun began noticing a stifling of business growth due to the need for Bokún employees to log into customer websites and get the widget installed for the high proportion of customers who didn’t know how to do it themselves.
In addition, the internal resources needed to handle widget installation meant the business couldn’t focus on finding new opportunities for growth and innovation.
Making the challenge more difficult was the fact that many Bókun customers had websites in various languages. This meant logging into the back-end of websites in multiple languages and figuring out how to install the widget.
“The pain of getting customers to embed their old widget product onto their websites caused massive friction and was slowing the growth of the business...these sites were so bad. There was a clear opportunity there for us to give them a better site, and it would save us a lot of time, and they’d have a better product.” / Christopher Martel, Senior Director of Sales & Customer Success, Bókun)
This, in essence, was the challenge Bókun faced. How could the company provide a turnkey solution that simultaneously gave tour operators better websites and reduced the internal resources spent installing Bókun’s booking widget on customer sites?
Complicating the wider context of Bókun’s challenge was the disarray faced by the travel and tourism sectors instigated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The statistics show a loss of over 100 million jobs in the travel and tourism sectors as a result of the pandemic.
The main objective was innovating the Bókun business model to provide an all-in-one booking solution that helped tour operators to manage their bookings and establish a great digital presence.
A natural objective emerging as an offshoot of this was to reduce customer churn by making the Bókun widget interwoven with a beautiful custom-designed website also run by Bókun.
Meeting this objective meant Bóken needed an extra offering to customers with an all-in-one booking solution that included both a beautifully designed website and the Bókun booking widget. Customers could still purchase a subscription for the booking widget separately.
It was important from Bókun’s perspective that this shift in approach to both setting up websites and installing the booking widget didn’t result in the company being perceived as a content management system (CMS).
The company needed to maintain a delicate balance in which they expanded their value-add to customers while maintaining the booking widget as their core SaaS offering.
Duda emerged as a natural candidate to help Bókun build fast, beautifully crafted websites at scale for its many customers in the travel industry. Partnering with Duda also proactively addressed the potential problem of merely replacing the wasted resources on installing the widget for customers with wasted resources on manually building websites.
The features of Duda that facilitated rapid website building at scale for Bókun include:
“Duda has extensive and thorough API documentation which allows us to easily build a complex integration involving all the resources we store in our external database, Dynamic Pages, and custom widgets.“ / Christopher Martel
It took the company just one week to build a proof of concept for this new implementation leveraging Duda’s API.
On the business side, partnering with Duda enabled Bókun to make websites a part of the company’s core offering with a new $50 monthly SaaS fee-subscription model. This updated offering used Duda as a white label platform for website building.
The outcome ensured Bókun could continue to focus on its primary booking widget without having to change how the company operated internally so that it didn’t become a CMS because Duda handles all that work.
In the first six months after implementing this new offering, 400-500 subscribers signed up to the combined SaaS model of a custom website and booking widget with Bókun.
Bókun sold 1000 websites at an average of 90 per month, in the 1-year period from December 2020-November 2021, which marked one of the most tumultuous in the history of travel and tourism.
It takes Bókun just 5 seconds to build websites for customers using the Duda platform. Baking in the booking widget to a website built by Bókun (using Duda) reduced churn rates for customers by 24.7%.
The change in pricing models enabled Bókun to better niche its offering to a new main target customer of travel company owners that either had a poor website or no website. The turnkey website and booking widget solution meant Bókun could provide more value at a lower cost.
The new offering reduced costs and complexity for customers by offering a solution that was managed for them and simple to implement. These cost and complexity barriers were particularly useful to reduce during a time when a web presence became arguably even more important for companies in travel and tourism.