Taking bookings in any way, shape or form is the ultimate goal for all hotels across the globe, but many could be missing out on vital revenue because they are not making the most of the trend for making online reservations.
According to Statistic Brain, 148 million travel bookings are now made via the internet every year – that’s 57 per cent of all reservations. Clearly, travellers are looking to organise their trips on their PCs and smartphones as part of their always-online existence in the 21st century, rather than relying on more old-fashioned methods. One way in which hotels could appeal to more guests and ultimately make more money is to install a hotel reservation system that works online, also known as global distribution systems. Here are some of the key benefits this might offer your property. Speedy results Because users can search, choose and complete bookings via online systems using their credit card, the whole process is quick and saves a lot of time compared with having to contact hotels directly via phone or email.
In the past, would-be guests had to get in touch to check there were rooms available, let alone to book one, so this elimination of the email exchange represents a significant time-saving opportunity. If people know they can booking online, then they’re less likely to go to one of your competitors for reasons of convenience. Instant confirmation Thanks to the fact that online booking systems are automated, guests will also get an instant confirmation of their reservation via email. This once again eliminates the need for staff to get in touch and carry out this task, plus it offers reassurance for customers that their booking has gone through as it should. Available at any time Many hotels have always operated a policy of taking bookings at all hours of the day or night via telephone, but this isn’t always as common across all properties any longer, particularly smaller ones.
However, they still need to cater for the fact that travellers are likely to be searching for accommodation and researching their trips at unusual hours, perhaps as they relax with a glass of wine in the evenings. If you can’t have staff on reception really late at night, online bookings systems can do the work for you and mean you don’t have to miss out on revenue because there’s no one there to pick up a ringing phone. Can collect plenty of information As a modern hotel marketer, you’re sure to be interested in collating information about your guests so that you can tailor future communications with them. This is something you can easily do when using online bookings systems, as the user will fill in forms as they complete the process.
However, don’t be tempted to make them populate scores of boxes and over-do this stage – this can put them off and result in abandonment of the booking. Just collect what you really need and then let them speed through the rest of the process. Another key point here is that automated systems will have the facility to provide secure payments without storing credit card information, something that is becoming increasingly important for people in the modern era. High levels of accuracy When staff take bookings over the phone or even by email, there is always a chance that they will make errors, perhaps by mishearing a guest’s name or copying down their email address incorrectly. This can result in a number of problems, perhaps even jeopardising the booking if confirmations do not go through.
With online bookings systems, the guests fill in the information themselves, so it is up to them to ensure all the details are correct, and this means they are likely to check creafully at each stage of the reservation process.Less work for staffConnected with all the above is the fact that automated systems result in less work for hotel staff to have to do, which leaves them free to work on other tasks. This could be jobs around the property, or it might be working on modern marketing channels such as social media by writing blog posts to attract future guests. Provides potential for upsells Although you don’t want to bombard would-be guests with requests to make add-ons to their bookings, the online reservation process is the ideal time to slip in a few extras that you think travellers might like. This could be extra meals at your restaurant, spa treatments or even airport transfers, but they represent a chance to acquire a little extra revenue with each booking.Cuts out the middle manIf you have online bookings systems for your property, then it reduces the need for people to go to online travel agents and other intermediaries because they can do all they need to do on your own website.
This can significantly reduce the amount you pay in commission to middle men and means you can pass on savings to your guests, which might make them more likely to book with you again in the future.With all these potential advantages, can you afford to be without an online bookings system in the 21st century.