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Online Lodging Reservations through

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Nebraska Tourism Set to Launch Online Lodging
Reservation System at

Lodging facilities across Nebraska are encouraged to sign up
before the July 1 public launch of BookDirect

The Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism is set to integrate BookDirect™ online lodging search and reservation functionality into its website. The new technology—to be launched to the public July 1—will put a greater range of tools at the fingertips of travelers interested in scheduling a Nebraska vacation. It also provides lodging facilities of all sizes with an elegant, feature-rich online booking option.

Designed to work well for hoteliers of virtually any size or type, BookDirect offers options for facilities currently using an online reservation system as well as hoteliers just getting started with electronic reservations. Its direct interface with a number of top online reservation systems streamlines inventory management. For facilities without a current online reservation management system, BookDirect offers a standard online reservation system to subscribers free of charge.

A benefit of the BookDirect technology is the capability for travelers to search for available lodging statewide and then seamlessly book lodging online directly with the lodging sites, as opposed to making a reservation through a third-party vendor. This is an arrangement that has proved to produce a higher rate of completed online reservations.

The Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism has developed a BookDirect FAQ document with additional information and answers to a number of common questions about the BookDirect application, its implementation on and costs of participation. The BookDirect FAQ, which is included following this release, is also available on the Industry Site. Nebraska Tourism industry partners can view it and the BookDirect widget at

Lodging facilities may also learn more about BookDirect during a free Webinar hosted by the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism and BookDirect parent company, JackRabbit Systems. The Webinar will be held Tuesday, June 29, at 10 a.m. CDT. A link to online registration is available at

The Division is asking facilities interested in participating to register their businesses before the July 1, 2010, public launch of BookDirect on to ensure their sites will be represented when promotion of the site begins and travelers start searching for accommodations for their next great Nebraska road trip.

Thanks for your participation. We’ll see you down the road.

Christian Hornbaker
Director, Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism


Nebraska Tourism – BookDirect™ FAQ
June 2010
What is BookDirect™?
BookDirect™ from JackRabbit Systems is a functional, useful online lodging reservation tool that gives travelers the ability to view immediate lodging availability and pricing information for destinations throughout the state with real-time results. JackRabbit Systems is a partner with tourism organizations worldwide.
How does BookDirect work?
The BookDirect technology works much like an online travel agent’s third-party booking engine (such as, and others) in that it allows visitors to enter their desired travel dates and displays immediate results for available lodging along with pricing information for the destination. While BookDirect gives travelers the ability to search statewide, they are able to book their stay directly with the lodging sites rather than with a third-party vendor. This arrangement has proved to deliver a higher rate of online reservation completions.
Why has Nebraska Tourism incorporated the BookDirect functionality into its website and made it available to Nebraska lodging facilities?
Nebraska Tourism has integrated BookDirect functionality into the home page of the website as a way to provide a greater range of travel tools to site visitors interested in scheduling a Nebraska vacation. The Division also wanted to offer Nebraska accommodations that currently don’t have an online reservation system a low-cost, high-quality online booking alternative.
Why is Book Direct better? What is the unique value to an independent lodging operator?
A level playing field for lodging facilities of all sizes – BookDirect allows lodging facilities of all sizes to offer visitors a way to reserve accommodations online. Even if a lodging facility does not currently use an online reservation system, BookDirect offers a reservation application that can quickly get accommodations up and available online.
Available standard online reservation system – Lodging facilities without an existing online reservation system can utilize a standard online reservation application BookDirect offers its partners free of charge. This makes BookDirect as universal as possible for a variety of different types of accommodations and reservation systems.
Direct interface with lodging reservation systems/no additional inventory management – For lodging facilities that have an existing online reservation system, the BookDirect technology pulls rates and availability from the reservation system on a daily basis, so there is no need to manage or feed additional inventory into the BookDirect engine.
Lower commission fees – Based on the BookDirect pricing model, commissions or fees charged by BookDirect for room reservations are 25–50 percent less on average than other third-party booking engines.
Proven results – BookDirect has proved to increase qualified referrals (clicks) to the lodging websites of its members. Because lodging properties receive more qualified referrals from BookDirect, this allows them to directly convert the visitors from into bookings. It’s been shown that more qualified referrals combined with direct reservations increases the number of room nights!
How does a traveler book an accommodation through BookDirect?
Using the BookDirect application at, travelers use the search tools to find the location and accommodation they are interested in. Then they click the BookDirect link next to the accommodation listing, which takes them to the accommodation website to complete the transaction. It’s a great experience for travelers because they actually book directly with the accommodation instead of with a third party. For accommodations without a website, travelers are directed to the BookDirect booking engine. How to set up a BookDirect booking engine is outlined below.
What if my lodging facility doesn’t have an existing online reservation system?
For those lodging properties without an online reservation system, BookDirect provides a reservation system (also called a BookDirect booking engine) that can be set up and utilized at no cost. Lodging properties interested in utilizing the BookDirect booking engine can click on this link to sign up for this self-service system – After the sign-up process, instructions will be emailed outlining the setup and ongoing inventory management to receive online reservations.
How do Nebraska Tourism lodging partners participate in BookDirect?
For accommodations that are a part of the following listed chains, BookDirect has established corporate agreements with each, and all lodging properties will automatically be participating: IHG, La Quinta, Hilton Hotels, Carlson Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resort, Drury, Best Western, Motel 6, Wyndham, Marriott, Choice, Magnuson Hotels, and Red Lion.
Accommodations that are not part of a chain listed above, but that are listed with Nebraska Tourism will appear in the BookDirect search functionality through July 15. However, travelers will not be able to book an accommodation with a lodging property until the property has signed up with BookDirect using one of the following methods:
Independent (non-chain) properties that currently utilize an online reservation system and wish to participate should use the following link, which takes them to the lodging sign-up form – All details regarding pricing and the process are outlined in detail on this page.
For independent (non-chain) properties that currently do not utilize online reservations, please refer to the previous question.
Any properties that have not signed up with BookDirect by July 15 will be removed from the search database. They will still be welcome to sign up with BookDirect at a later date, at which time they will receive the full BookDirect functionality.
What are the costs of participation in BookDirect?
Independent Lodging Properties (non-chain) – Each independent lodging property signs up individually and pays either 12% for each reservation through BookDirect or a pay-per-click fee of $0.45. Lodging properties can choose which pricing model they prefer to use on the lodging sign-up form at
Hotel Chain Properties – BookDirect has a corporate agreement with each chain listed in number 14 on the lodging sign-up form at All lodging properties associated with each chain automatically participate in the BookDirect network, and payments for reservations are paid by the corporate parent chain.
How are payments to lodging facilities handled for accommodations booked through BookDirect?
The BookDirect engine will redirect travelers from to the individual lodging properties (either their website or their BookDirect booking engine) for the purpose of making reservations. Because of this, all payments are handled directly between the consumer and the lodging property.
If a visitor has issues using BookDirect, how is it handled?
Because visitors book directly with each lodging property, all customer service issues are with the lodging property. If lodging operators learn that the BookDirect link is broken or is not functioning properly, they should contact BookDirect customer service at
If a lodging facility has an issue or needs to update photos or database information with BookDirect, who is the point of contact?
Questions regarding sign-up or updates to photos or information on the BookDirect site, and resolution of issues after sign-up can be directed to Dee Lang at BookDirect, 505-982-2521 or
Please note: BookDirect information is not automatically updated when database updates are sent to Nebraska Tourism. While there will be regular updates between BookDirect and Nebraska Tourism, they will occur on an annual basis, so to ensure your information is as current as possible, be sure to send updates to Dee at BookDirect at the same time they are sent to Heather at Nebraska Tourism.
Can Nebraska lodging facilities add the BookDirect functionality to their own websites, or is it accessible only through
For lodging entities that have their own online reservation system, including a link to BookDirect on their site would be redundant, as it essentially provides the same service. However, if a lodging entity is using the booking engine provided by BookDirect as its reservation system, a link to the BookDirect site is necessary.

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