Buying things online is the norm in the 21st century and the world of travel is no different. People want to secure products and services via the internet and almost everyone with web access will undoubtedly by now have booked a holiday, secured a flight or chosen a hotel room in this way.
Just as travellers expect hotels to have a website to advertise their offerings, they also expect to be able to make bookings via these portals – and if they can’t, the chances are they’ll go straight to the competition. That’s why it’s now essential to have some form of booking system linked up to your hotel’s website. If you have organised this already, then great – but if not, here are a few reasons why booking engines are a must-have for marketers and property owners.You don’t have to man the phones Of course, you will always need to have reception staff and concierges available at your hotel’s front desk to sort out issues, take bookings and greet new arrivals (until robots are perfected as we keep being promised).But a booking engine for your website means you will need fewer of them, since it allows people to make reservations themselves using an automated system. No longer are guests confined to having to pick up the phone after seeing a deal they want – they can secure it in minutes via your website.This reduces your staffing bill and improves your customer service significantly.
Bookings can be taken wherever, wheneverIn our always-on society, we no longer browse the internet during a few brief periods of time as was the case in the late 1990s (namely the times when no one needed to be on the landline phone). Instead, we can be researching holidays during the ad breaks of our various soap operas, while we wait for the dinner to cook or as we pass the hours commuting to work.That means that if people see a hotel or holiday they like, they’ll want to book it right away, even if that’s in the early hours of the morning. With automated booking engines, you allow your guests to do this without needing staff to help them. You don’t lose out on reservations simply because it’s out of business hours.You can make the most of mobile Hopefully, you will already have optimised your website for mobile customers, such is the proliferation of mobile search these days. But with a booking engine that’s provided by a third party, you will have this done for you and so can capitalise on the audience wanting to book on their smartphones and tablets. You shouldn’t have any issues with the pages not displaying properly and so can guarantee a good customer experience, which should in turn lead to more bookings.You can add on extras When you’re taking a hotel booking over the phone or via to-and-fro emails, it can seem intrusive to suddenly ask your guest if they would be interested in any more of your products and services (and it can actually be quite off-putting for them).
However, when you can use a booking engine to present a short check-box list of add-ons that might appeal to them, you’ve suddenly got a huge opportunity for unobtrusive potential upsells, including meals, equipment hire or extra time in the room after check-out. This can make you a lot of extra revenue without having a negative impact on your guests, plus it’s much easier to manage than if you were trying to follow a paper trail of add-ons booked separately. Information can be collected about guests Booking software can be a really valuable tool for collating information about your guests and then using it to work out what future travellers might want. Using your built-in analytics dashboard, you can spot peak booking times and those that are less popular, work out which extras are appealing to guests and much more.This can help save you money in offering services that aren’t especially appealing and demonstrate that you’re quick off the mark with customer service.More money in your pocket, more quickly With many booking engines these days, it’s common for the guest to pay upfront or at least a certain time before they arrive at your property.
This practice is no longer frowned upon by guests and is in fact expected – and it’s great for you because it means the booking is secure, you don’t have to mess around taking payments upon check-in – and there’s less chance of the person cancelling prior to the travel dates. With a booking engine, you can do this quickly and easily.Things to remember It’s important to consider that some hotel booking engine are of better quality than others, so don’t just settle for the first one that comes up in your internet search – check carefully to find the one that best suits your needs.If you inadvertently select a low-quality booking engine, it could frustrate your guests and actually result in lower revenues because people abandon their bookings.Look for those that will bring you a steady stream of high-quality guests who are going to enjoy their stay and leave positive reviews for the next people to find.With all of these benefits, could it be worth looking into booking engines today?