Choosing The Best Internet Booking Engine For Your Accommodation Establishment
What To Look For When Choosing A Internet Booking Engine
Important points to look at when considering the Best Internet Booking Engine for your Accommodation Establishment
Welcoming guests to your accommodation establishment is a great privilege and pleasure, but let’s face it, you’re in the hospitality game to make money.
The only way to do this is with the age-old business principle of decreasing costs while increasing sales and setting up your own internet booking engine is one of the most cost-effective way to do this.
What is an Internet Booking Engine?
In plain language, an internet booking engine is an application on your website and social media platforms that enables prospective customers to make an online reservation with you. It’s different from an online travel agency in that customers book directly rather than via a third party. This holds several benefits for you:
- Your marketing efforts bring exposure to your brand
- Decrease administration and costs associated with doing bookings manually
- No commission payments to outside operators
- Convenience for your guests
Online marketing is easy and affordable when you get a little expert guidance and is the best way to direct customers to your site, where they can view your property in all its glory and book directly.
What Online travel agents offer is only a snapshot of what’s available for your guests, plus, you don’t want to direct your marketing efforts towards boosting their SEO and profits.
Choosing the Ideal Online Booking Solution for Your Website
You’ll find quite a few options to choose from when setting up your direct internet booking system. Here’s what to look for in the best one:
- Rate Structure
It’s vital that you can set up a rate structure that matches how rates are set up on the OTAs.
This levels the playing field as you can offer the same last minute and early booking discounts you offer online.
- Customization for Campaign Management
You want to choose a booking engine that allows you to upload discounts, promo codes, and special rates quickly and easily.
This is especially important when you’re offering a last-minute special in order to fill vacant rooms.
- Accept and Action Promotional Codes
Promo codes for booking online allow you to offer different rates for different customers.
Offering a refer-a-friend discount or a discount for people who got your number from a brochure is a good way to generate business.
Your online booking engine should give you the ability to let customers enter any promo codes you give them.
- Geolocation Option for Rates
Ideally, your internet booking engine should be able to detect which location your customer’s viewing your site from and allow you to set rates accordingly.
That way you can offer a discount for a particular country; for instance – if you want to attract local holidaymakers during quiet periods or encourage bookings from a particular country by offering a discounted price.
- Seamless Integration with Other Systems
Your internet booking engine should access and integrate with all your other systems, such as:
Your website should update information from your property management system in real-time so they need to integrate seamlessly with one another. That way, when a guest books online, their information’s automatically recorded in your property management system and vice versa.
This facility prevents you from having to enter online bookings manually, eliminates human error, and prevents double bookings.
- Conversion Optimization Software
Conversion optimization software, like hotelsnetwork, helps you attract potential clients to your website. For best results, it’s imperative that your internet booking engine can integrate with this type of software.
- Yield Management Software
Rates should fluctuate according to occupancy and demand at your hotel or resort. Making these adjustments manually takes a lot of time and effort. If you don’t make these adjustments, you won’t be able to compete in an online environment where everybody else uses these principles.
Yield management software does all this extra work for you and it should upload any changes directly to your online booking engine.
- Loyalty Booking System
Most OTAs offer loyalty systems where you get rewards according to the number of bookings clients do.
If you want to compete successfully against the OTAs, your booking engine needs to offer the same benefit. The only way to do this is if it integrates seamlessly with loyalty software.
- Conversion Tracking
Your internet booking engine should provide the ability to monitor your online marketing efforts by integrating with the platforms where you run digital adverts like Google Ads. In this way, you can track where you’re getting the most bookings from and adjust your advertising efforts accordingly.
- Multi-Lingual Options
Your booking engine should speak your customer’s language. The best ones offer instructions in the language of the viewer’s choice as well as the ability to book in any major currency.
This is vitally important if you want to attract customers from overseas. While a picture speaks a thousand words your gallery won’t tell a customer what types of accommodation you offer or what’s included in your rates.
- Handle Multiple Currencies
It’s difficult for the man on the street to figure out foreign currency conversions at a glance.
So, if you want to attract bookings from foreign countries, your internet booking engine should give them the opportunity to see prices and perform bookings in their own currency.
- Intuitively Manage Direct Sales
Just as a telephone salesperson would, your internet booking engine should come up with strategies to boost sales when you can’t meet a customer’s first request.
For instance, if someone actively wants to book a one-bedroom unit but there aren’t any available, your booking engine should combine the best available deals to offer them a two bedroom at a favorable rate.
Alternatively, if you have more than one property, the booking engine could make recommendations for accommodation at one of your sister properties.
A good internet booking engine intuitively upsells bookings by offering extras like a spa treatment or bottle of champagne when the client books their room.
- Meta-search Integration
Online travel agents push their rates to the Metasearch engines like Google. Your internet booking should do the same if you want your website to rank higher in accommodation searches.
- The Potential for Personalization
You’ve spent a fortune in money and time building your brand, so it makes sense that the internet booking engine you choose should continue your efforts.
The best booking engines follow your brand guidelines to merge seamlessly with the rest of your website.
- Image Rich Appearance
An internet booking engine should never be boring. It must offer you the ability to upload a comprehensive image gallery to give customers that final push down the sales funnel.
Gorgeous images drive home the fact that customers are making a great purchase decision, at the exact moment they’re about to hand over their hard-earned cash.
Just like your website, an internet booking engine should be responsive. That means it must automatically adjust to the device upon which it’s viewed i.e., a tablet, desktop, laptop, or smartphone.
Nowadays, people do most of their online shopping on their smartphones, so they’ll expect this capability when booking accommodation. You don’t want prospective customers going somewhere else simply because they can’t complete their booking on the go.
Few hoteliers are also tech experts, so you want a booking engine that does most of the work for you.
The best internet booking engines are easy to install and use. They should also offer a remotely accessible helpdesk to help you iron out any difficulties you experience.
Are You Ready to Make More Money from Your Accommodation?
If you’d like to increase your customer’s convenience and boost your sales, an internet booking engine is the ultimate tool for your accommodation business. Get in touch to get started right away.
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