An online hotel booking engine enables your hotel to accept direct bookings from guests on your hotel website. Further, the hotel booking engine integrates with your property management system (PMS) to automatically update your guest data.
We will recommend that you implement a hotel booking system that can help you launch your own hotel brand website. It will enable you to save time and money that would have been consumed to build one from scratch.
For more benefits, you can integrate your online room booking engine with your channel manager in order to distribute your room inventory effectively. Over and above a good hotel booking engine will not only drive online room bookings, but it will integrate seamlessly with your existing hotel technology solutions allowing you to properly manage reservations across all of your distribution networks.
There are many hotel booking software options available for hoteliers. However, you need to evaluate the features of the online booking system and the benefits available in each system before you can make a decision to implement a hotel booking engine at your property.
Here are the top 10 features and benefits you need to consider when deciding on the right online hotel scheduling system –
- User Friendly
The booking engine should provide your guests with all the information that they may look for including prices, packages, room types, add-ons, inclusions, and other details, without them having to scroll through your website.
A versatile booking engine like the one offered with the Hotelogix PMS allows you to integrate with your website as well as the Facebook page of your hotel. In addition, with our open API, you can customize your own web booking engine.
- Supports Online Payment Integration
Before finalizing the booking engine you want to implement at your hotel, ensure that it supports integration with different online payment options. Integrating an online payment method with your hotel room booking system would not only make it convenient for guests to make payments for hotel reservations, but also help you meet your booking/cancellation policy requirements.
Payments made via online bookings engine should also be automatically recorded in financial reports.
Enabling guests to make online payments also supports you to follow the necessary social distancing norms amid the global pandemic situation.
- Instant and automated communication
Guests expect instant confirmation and updates about the bookings made online. Automated communication has become a necessity in the hotel industry. Guests expect a detailed confirmation email after booking a room, updates during the stay, and post-stay communication as well.
Your hotel reservation system should allow confirmation emails to be customized as per the hotel’s brand style and voice. Further, you should be able to provide traveling tips, information about local festivals and site-seeing attractions, etc.
Your hotel booking system should also support the automated scheduling and formatting of these messages/communications.
- Central Reservation System
Guests prefer to make reservations from numerous sources- hotel web booking engine, online travel agents (OTAs), and front desk. Managing reservations from different sources can be very overwhelming. There are high chances of errors such as double booking, overbooking, or forgetting to confirm the reservation of a guest can lead to bad reviews and loss in business.
Having a central reservation system for hotels that is linked to a channel manager will help you manage these discrepancies efficiently. Your channel manager and hotel reservation system, when integrated, give you real-time updates of room availability as well as prices of these rooms across all your booking channels.
A channel manager helps hoteliers improve staff productivity as inventory and rates can be updated from one platform. Real-time updates mean that guests get exactly what they see.
- Ability to manage guest reviews
Guest reviews are extremely important to your hotel’s reputation and business growth. They are the best marketing tool any hotel can have. Almost all travelers prefer to read reviews before booking a hotel and make a decision on the basis of existing reviews.
As a hotelier or a revenue manager, you should not only encourage but also make it convenient for your guests to leave online reviews for your hotel during or after the stay. Make sure to engage with guests by acknowledging and replying to their reviews. Doing so, makes your guest feel heard and appreciated and there are high chances that they will again book your hotel.
Choose a hotel booking system that enables you to both record your guests’ feedback and easily reply to the feedback. Genuine and prompt response to feedback can help correct an unpleasant experience and potentially convert guests into loyal customers.
- Fully-loaded reporting system
Data plays a significant role in assessing the current business situation and also managing overall business objectives. Having the right data about your hotel operations can help you further optimize business performance and give your guests a more customized hotel stay experience.
Hotel booking software integrated with a robust reporting system is quintessential to help your business make data-backed and learned choices.
A powerful reporting system could with advantage that include –
- Performance assessment on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.
- Track of bookings and payments
- Predictive analytics for future bookings
- Budget planning
- Inventory rate management
- Personalized guest data
These reports will help you manage your online reservations, and overall hotel operations, smoothly.
- Go for Cloud-based solutions
It is possible that your hotel staff is going to operate from different locations and will not always be staying in one place all day and so are your guests. Today, travelers are also on the go and also make bookings while on the move. Picking an online hotel reservation system that is remotely available will make your job much easier, and your staff will be more productive.
Furthermore, having the ability to access systems remotely also helps maintain social distancing and keeps your hotel staff and guests safe.
We all know that Cloud-based hotel booking software can be accessed from anywhere at any time and they are device agnostic also (laptop, cell phone, or tablet). They are also easier to maintain, are cost-effective, and much more secure than traditional on-premise systems.
- Support multiple languages and currencies
Your hotel reservation system should allow guests to make bookings in their preferred language and currency. If your target market includes different geographies, you should definitely consider a booking engine that supports languages that your target audience speaks. Guests should also receive email or message confirmations in the same language they made the booking.
Such simple, yet important features will augment the guest experience and ensure repeat bookings with your hotel from across the globe.
Along with this, your booking engine should support all popular currencies and modes of payment. These steps will help you target global travelers, and tourists. An advanced booking engine should automatically set the language and currency preferences based on the IP address.
- Support discounts and promotions
When thinking about increasing revenue and keeping your guests happy, a good strategy to take would be by providing exclusive promo codes or discounts.
An efficient hotel booking system should give you the option to create and apply promo codes. In addition to simple and straightforward discounts, you should also be able to customize the discounts and promotions based on when the booking was made, if the customer is a loyal customer, if it’s a corporate booking or travel agent booking, or even according to the season, events, early-bird or last-minute rates.
- 24/7 Technical Support
The hospitality industry never sleeps, and problems with technology and software can occur at any time, thus ensuring that your service provider offers 24/7 support.
Choose a provider with excellent service and support, defined SLAs for issue resolution, and willing to offer you quick and easy resolutions at any time.
There are a lot of ways to compare online hotel booking engines; it can be done in more ways than simply comparing features and reviews. You can have a more comprehensive comparison yourself by broadening the scope of your vision. Once you have narrowed down your options to a few or a handful keeping your requirements in mind, you can ask for a free trial or a demo.