Gone are those days when bookings were made at the hotel front desk. Today, almost all travel planning processes are happening online - from finding accommodation to booking.
Internet and Technology
A survey released by Google revealed that:
- travelers rely on social/video/photo sites (83%) and search engines (61%) for trip inspiration;
- the Internet is the top source for both leisure (74%) and business travel (77%) planning; and
- throughout all traveling moments, travelers rely on their smartphones.
Digital revolution is making its way to the travel industry and it’s such a waste if the hotel industry does not take chances of this.
Hotel Booking Engine
Simply put, a hotel booking engine is an application to record and process direct online bookings on hotel websites and social media pages. Your hotel solution to get direct bookings is an online booking engine; a way to manage the sales strategy and maximize the revenue of your hotel. You may want to search for a list of hotel booking engines here.
How Does It Work?
Integrate and Setup a Booking Engine for Your Website
Firstly, if you already have a website but without a proper reservation system, you need to find a provider to integrate a booking engine in your website. Once you have a booking engine, you can start setting up all the relevant data about your hotel and its uniqueness - room rates and descriptions, inventory, photos, hot deals, extras, etc.
One thing to note, you may want to also ask your booking engine provider if the booking engine can also be embedded in your social media pages. By adding a booking button in your social media, you will be able to add another booking channel for your guests.
Once you already have a fully functional booking engine on your website, your potential guests can book directly online. The booking engine will display your hotel room rates and availability so guests will be able to decide their dates and finalize their bookings.
Payment details are required at this point. Once their bookings are completed, notifications will be sent to both the guests and the hotel.
Normally, if you don’t have your own payment gateway, your booking engine provider will advise you to use their payment gateway. Which means, guest will make payment using payment gateway registered under your booking engine provider and your provider will then make the settlement to your bank account.
By having a booking engine, your inventory will only have to be managed and updated through the booking engine extranet. If you also have room allotments advertised on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), your booking engine can also be added as one of the channels via a Channel Manager.
Channel Manager will help you push the allotments to your different booking channels; OTAs and your website and the allotments will automatically be updated across. For example, if someone booked a room through Agoda, your inventories across all the channels will also be updated. This reduces the risk of overbooking.
If you don’t see the need to have a Channel Manager but still you are advertising on OTAs other than your hotel website, one way to manage is by distributing your allotments manually. For example, if you have 50 rooms in total, you may put 20 rooms to be sold on website and distribute the other rooms on OTAs.
When a guest books through your website booking engine, after they have booked, an email will automatically be triggered to remind them to make payment. Another email will usually be sent once they have made the payment to confirm. This way, hotel will not have to follow up manually with the guest prior to their arrival. They will all be automated when someone makes booking via your booking engine.
Guest Feedback and Promo Code System
Different booking engine provider offers different value-added features for their clients. Some of the features that you should look for in a booking engine are the ability to capture guest feedback as well as the promo code system. These will help you make your guest experience more meaningful and personalized.
Food for Thoughts
- Before choosing your hotel booking engine, evaluate the features thoroughly.
- Understand your hotel’s need, then ask if the hotel booking engine providers can meet those requirements.
- Support direct payments on your website by integrating your system with an online payment channel.
- You may want to engage in a free trial first before committing to the most suitable hotel booking engine for your hotel.
Guests who book via the hotel websites are more loyal, generate more income, and are more likely to return. That’s how it should work, so consider using our booking engine fully equipped with payment gateway options, promo code system and guest feedback feature today! Let your booking engine be the most important tool for your hotel!
Learn how Softinn helps hundreds of hotels better manage their business and increase direct booking sales.