Boo.com has admitted a number of its launch features have been scaled back as it looks to release a new version of its hotel portal service within weeks.
Some of the Web 2.0 features have been removed from the site to improve the user experience and encourage search engine optimisation.
Chief executive Ray Nolan admitted there was initially too many web 2.0 features on the site but that he believed it now delivers what the company set out to do.
“The back-end is tremendous and what we called the circle of gloom from search to aggregator, back to Google to hotel website and then to TripAdvisor is solved. We incorporate all of that in Boo.”
“A highly Ajax’d site is a challenge because Google does not like it so we’re providing pages that are more static and thinking that people will then go into the Ajax pages.”
The company is revamping the listings page to enable hotels to display themselves more prominently and choose whether to allow consumers to compare them with online travel agents.
The move is designed to increase click through rates to hotels’ websites where consumers can book direct.
Nolan said consumers were already clicking out to hotels’ websites and that 15 to 20% of accommodation providers were paying for clicks.
“The typical look to book rate is one in every 12 clicks. We are getting people that are already predisposed to book so its one in six clicks.”
He added that with the new listings page hotels could choose to pay the regular click through rate of under a Euro per click or ‘buy exclusivity.’
Nolan described the site as “on plan” in terms of visitors and membership.
“It’s not in the millions but it is several hundred thousand every month and we have more than 100,000 members.”
He added that there are currently about 1.3 million reviews on the site but admitted that some had been imported from other travel sites.
There are currently no plans to enhance the flight search engine within the site and it has been moved to the cities page, where it has more relevancy, for the short term.
“It gives all the flight options, airports and airlines but it’s down to us to put more emphasis on the flight and we have an order of things to attack.”