The world is on a rebound spree and so for good reason. The lockdowns have been lifted in many parts and the vaccinations are proving effective in keeping people safe. Travelers are planning their next vacation after months of confinement within their own homes. Given such a scenario, it is expected that more and more people will turn to online channels to make their reservations. But it is in a hotel’s best business interest to lay focus on acquiring more reservations at the lowest possible cost. This is usually possible when a hotel is able to open a direct reservation channel with the help of an online hotel booking system and steady contribution from marketing and sales strategies. Direct bookings mean lesser dependency on online channels such as OTA, GDSs, metasearch engines to open opportunities for your hotel and also no loss in revenue because of commissions. Through this blog, let us discuss in detail what online booking systems are, why your hotel business must adopt one, and the ways to set it up.
What is a Web Booking Engine?
A web booking engine is software commonly used by hotels, hostels, accommodation providers to efficiently process their reservations. Bookings can be captured through a hotel’s website, social media platforms or other such marketing channels. The main function of a booking system is to collect reservations and the corresponding credit card information of guests and conjoining this data with hotel management systems. This gives hoteliers an exact idea of the status of their inventory and makes it easier for them to manage their bookings.
A booking system when embedded into a hotel’s website works as a reservation processing system and can also act a hotel’s website itself, since many of this software offers customizable templates, where everything, from the color scheme to the design elements can all be chosen by hotels, as per their liking and requirements. But the most important benefit of an online hotel booking system is the fact that they bring direct reservations and strike out the need to pay commissions to third-party distribution channels. Additionally, because a web booking engine is always open, travelers can make their bookings anytime, from anywhere, and charged instantly through integrations with payment gateways.
Now that you know what a Web Booking Engine. Let’s delve into the reasons why it is a crucial tool for the hotel industry. Its many advantages have been listed below:
An online hotel booking system helps hoteliers sell more through direct channels such as their website or social media handles. It turns a hotel’s website into a self-service online shop, which is always available for travelers to make bookings, thereby reducing the need for hoteliers to rely on commission-based bookings. This lowers acquisition costs and increases profit margins. Marketing and sales strategies can help in maximizing direct sales but having a hotel reservation system becomes an important differentiator. It allows hotels to have greater control over the process of bookings and design the experience for guests accordingly. Along with that, it also helps hoteliers to implement pricing and revenue management strategies to lure more guests onto such platforms.
Additional Revenue Stream:
Guests are on a perpetual search for ways to enhance their stay experience at a hotel and supplementary offers such as room upgrades, coupons for spa treatments, free breakfast for the entire duration of stay, etc., are always very welcome. It’s a win-win situation for guests as well as hotels as these in-property and third-party services are important streams of revenue for hotels. To hold an upper hand over the OTAs, GDSs, etc., is great to offer such privileges on a hotel’s own website.
It is well known to all that guests do their fair share of research before they decide on the property they’d like to stay at. There are plenty of online channels which give them a holistic picture of the options at hand. All they have to do is pick the one they like most and make a booking online. Yet, many guests prefer to visit a hotel or accommodation provider’s website to know more about them, view images or scan through offers, and in most cases, make their reservations through the hotel’s website before making an exit. Guests not only expect to see a fully functional website, but also an efficient booking system that is also easy to use. A seamless experience and direct contact with a property are then a must-have.
When a hotelier understands his/her customers and customizes offerings to best suit their needs, it comes through in the way that it allures the audience, and they connect with it. A hotel’s website enables you to deliver an experience to customers which is extremely personalized. This can be done by way of creating packages which suit their preferences or offering additional services with their already booked stays etc. You can make sure that you interact with customers in the language they understand and address all issues that concern them. For example, there may be many apprehensions that your customers have with regard to your hotel’s preparations to combat the Covid pandemic. Health concerns might be on top of their minds at the moment. It would therefore be useful to have the measures your hotel has in place, mentioned clearly on the website.
A travel metasearch engine is a platform that allows users to compares rates offered by hotels, from different sources, ranging from OTAs to a hotel’s website. While it may be difficult to rank higher as compared to OTAs, hotels can compete by offering lower rates and additional value, in order to get noticed and drive direct bookings. An online booking system can help hotels to always maintain real-time updates of prices and inventory.
On your website, you have the authority over just about everything. From the look and feel of the booking system to the prices, the reservations, and the data that you receive as a result are all under your control. This valuable data can be used in creating marketing and sales strategies and could also determine the course of interactions with guests, even after they leave your property, especially if you do not have a Property Management System installed for your property. Visitors coming to your website can also browse and make reservations on your website, without any interruptions from externals channels. Likewise, you would have the bearing over the rules that apply at your property with regard to cancellations, payments, etc.
Pursuit of Loyalty:
Your website booking engine is the most obvious way to stand out in a crowd, by offering your guests value in a way that no one else is. Whether your hotel wishes to attract new customers or maintain relations with returning customers, your hotel’s booking engine can offer a smooth experience.
Even before a guest visits your property, he/she interacts with your hotel’s website or its booking engine and forms his/her first impression. It is therefore imperative for you to ensure that you are establishing a unique identity for your business. Your customers should be able to tell you apart from others in the market and relate certain specific attributes with your brand. These things build trust in customers and result in loyalty.
How to set up AxisRooms Booking Engine:
Your hotel’s website could be a profitable channel for your business, if utilized correctly. The only thing stopping it from achieving its full potential could just be the absence of an online hotel booking system. A Booking System like AxisRooms can bring in more reservations and increase your hotel’s revenue. Booking systems are cost effective and not a tough task to maintain and can give your hotel that unique identity that it may be lacking. Don’t lose out on the opportunities that the new season of travel is likely to open up for you. Prepare with AxisRooms Booking Engine, today!