In our previous article What should have our hotel´s web design to be efficient? we talked not only about the importance of having a website for our hotel or resort, but also about the content that this website should have in order to be efficient and get sales. In that article we developed several points, but today we will talk about one that is particularly important to us: online reservation system.
As we told you in our last article, is necessary to have an online reservation system on our website. On the list below, we will explain you why we say this.
- Today, online reservation systems represents over 70% of total reserves. By not offering this tool to the user, you are inviting them to book somewhere else.
- An online reservation system increases the percentage of direct sales, thus reducing dependence on intermediaries (OTAs, mainly). And, therefore, lowers the cost of acquisition of each customer.
- Today, users do not have time to wait for an email response (or if they do, we doubt they want to use it for that). Much less, if that email response can tell them that our hotel does not have availability, or offers a price that the user is not willing to pay. Therefore, it is essential to have a tool that gives the information immediately to the user. This, of course, if we don´t want our visitors to close the site almost before they entered.
- Owning an online reservation system, gives us the opportunity to make special offers that visitor could not find any other way. It also allows us to offer complementary activities, or even to cross sales with other products or services.
Now, developing a platform with the complexity of an online reservation system is only possible for very few hotels. That is why, the most viable option is to hire someone that provide us this tool. The options are many. In order to make a decision, we must consider the needs of our establishment and the characteristics of each supplier. Good results will depend on this. Here are some things you should look into before hiring someone:
- From the moment when we introduce an online reservation system on our website, we will be competing against specialists, such as the OTA’s. Knowing this, if we want to outstand, our system needs to be simpler to understand and handle, than the system of these companies.
- It should be easily manageable: For example, to enlist or low a reservation, to update the availability and change prices. These are those things that we should be able to do quickly and easily for getting efficient results.
- The online booking engine that we choose must be integrated with our other tools, such as the channel manager or PMS, among others.
- It should be visually appealing, to motivate the visitor to make a reservation. An engine with a bored interface does not offer the same performance as a more seductive one.
- Some customers prefer to make reservations through OTA’s because they believe that it is easier to cancel if necessary. This is because in many cases, hotels do not provide very clear information. Our reservation system should do so not only with the cancellation policies but with payment, providing comfort and safety to the potential client.
- Our online reservation system must be responsive.
- More and more users do their scouting of hotels through Facebook, and that’s why our reservation system must be integrated with it and with the other social networks.
- Finally, the reservation system must not only work for customers, but also for us. That is why it is necessary to analyze the type of contract that each system offers (monthly fee, commission, etc.)
As you may see, there are many things to keep in mind when choosing an online booking engine. That is why it is necessary to carefully analyze each point in order to choose the best option for our hotel or resort.
We hope that this article has been useful to you in order to choose the best online reservation system for your hotel project. If you liked it, share it!