Written by: Cristina García
If you have already set up your own website, the next step is to invest in its own booking engine. Why? Because being OTA or tour operator free will only benefit your business. If your turn your hotel’s website into an active business platform you will not just win more customers, but
You will be able to safe on commissions from other customer providers, since any procedure is from your site.
Your engine will safe you from manual work, since you will be able to automate the booking process efforts.
You will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and available around the world.
There are advantages you cannot pass by, since your visits won’t have to leave your website if they want to book you a room. Bear in mind that an online booking engine will also allow your potential guests to easily buy your hotel’s products or services no matter where they are or what device they are using. Is the way any traveler consumes nowadays and decides to make a purchase.
Now, do you know which is the right online booking engine for your hotel? Are you wondering if you need a specific type of online software for your site? The right one for you will depend on your hotel’s needs, on how big is your business. But there are obviously some features you will need to have in mind for your checklist when considering your ideal online booking engine:
Many online providers offer you great software these days. But if you look for their clients you will see their solution is pretty much the same. Booking processes in their hotel’s websites don’t differ apart from changing some colors or icons. Would you want that for yours? Make sure to also ask for a unique ad hoc front end of your booking engine, that your users will instantly identify with your hotel’s identity and won’t be able to compare.
Users want things to be easy and quick. If your booking engine provides a three step booking process you will be able to satisfy them with efficiency. Make also sure it’s fully responsive. If your user wants to book from its mobile device and this process it’s not easy or quick, he will drop out your site.
A system that is flexible enough to manage different price rates, i.e., assigning for the same product or service different rates based on the customer; and further manage offers, promotions, commissions and cancellation fees.
In this case, for your customers you need to have available different payment options. For instance, PayPal is considered to be a safe and easy service that it’s used all over the world and it guarantees payments from your customers. But it’s the same with other options, currencies and payment terms. If you want clients, don’t limit the way they want to pay you for a room.
These allow you to encrypt sensitive information such as credit card numbers, to ensure that customer information is managed safely.
Pay special attention to this section. Your potential clients deserve this transparency of information and thus protect yourself from any inconvenience that may arise.
It’s very important to have a booking system that can be displayed in different languages. If your users cannot understand the booking process, they will leave. This also fits the satisfaction of user experience.
On one hand, your system needs to be able to provide a visual calendar that it’s updated automatically and an image gallery with high resolution pictures that will appeal your potential customers.
If a user finds that the holiday period he selected does not have any availability, he must be able to view upcoming dates on the travel days he selected as an alternative.
If your customers value the services that you offer, specifically, your rooms, other users will appreciate the transparency of this score. Include it in your booking engine and analyze it from your system.
If your consumer can access his booking information, modify it or even cancel it is an option that guarantees the satisfaction of the user experience and gives you credibility. Including this option for your potential customer is important.
Let’s say your new customer it’s very satisfy with his room and price, with the easy booking process… he will be prone to purchase something else. That’s way you need a system where you can easily cross-sell other products or services to increase your revenue per customer.