An efficient booking engine
The majority of travelers book their trip online by using a booking engine. A booking engine is represented by all the technical solutions that will allow a person to book its stay directly on the property’s website. Considered as a real intermediary between the hotelier and the traveler, it provides the inventory of rooms and all the prices available in the property management software, to the customer who wishes to stay at this property. When the booking engine is connected to the PMS, it can automate tasks such as managing availabilities, stocks and bookings, online payment, customers data recovery and clients’ confirmation. As a hotelier, it becomes unthinkable not to have the idea of setting up a booking engine on your own website. To do so, the main goal of this implementation is to optimize traveler’s booking process in order to make it more intuitive, simple and secure and to generate as many bookings as possible.
In addition, 52% of travelers visit your website after having found your establishment on OTAs’ website, so what about trying to convert them directly through your own website rather than letting them carry out their transactions on OTAs websites?
What an efficient booking engine should offer to travelers
First, an efficient booking engine should be able to simplify a traveler’s booking. This ergonomic and intuitive tool aims to offer the best experience possible. Its process is simple, fast and contains as few steps as possible.
Thus, the ideal booking engine should allow a person who wishes to book, to be able to book a room but also other elements that constitute and improve its stay. Whether it is for specific packages or “à la carte” items, the booking engine that has this type of feature gives the opportunity to the hotelier to increase the REVPAC.
Moreover, it’s recommended to opt for a booking engine that can integrate itself with the best property’s comparator sites, a booking engine which is 100% adaptable to different devices in order to be efficient, whether it is a laptop, a mobile phone or a tablet. Therefore, efficient booking engines allow the traveler to connect directly to its loyalty program account and to be able to register online.
Secure online payment must also be provided by the booking engine. Indeed, it must comply with the PCI DSS standard which protects travelers’ data during the transaction, which reassures them and helps them to proceed to payment with confidence. Often, online payment is not made due to property’s reservation policies but whatever the payment terms, the hotelier must ensure that he has access to payment data including secure information.
When choosing your booking engine, be sure that its booking itinerary is smooth and coherent. It has to respect your property’s graphic charter and your logo, to highlight your rooms’ pictures accompanied by a description. This will build travelers’ confidence while enhancing your brand image, strengthening your e-reputation and favoring conversion.
Furthermore, an efficient booking engine must be accessible to all, it must be compatible with several languages and currencies so that individuals wishing to make a reservation can be sure of understanding all the information and more precisely that they go to the end of the booking process. Otherwise, your establishment will encounter difficulties concerning the attraction of international guests and therefore increasing its market.
Finally it would be relevant to check whether the tool chosen allows you to integrate a customer assistance as for example an integrated chat.
What an efficient booking engine should offer to hoteliers
A booking engine must meet travelers’ needs but also the needs of each hotelier. It must be able to adapt itself to your sector and to the activities of your establishment as for example by offering a schedule which includes all the particularities of your property such as bedrooms, rooms and equipment.
Above all, this tool must be profitable, it will have to be refined so that the customers who use it, will be enthusiastic about what they see and all the possibilities offered. To do so, it must have a user-friendly interface and must allow you to update your photos and texts, to create your packages or any other items that future guests could add to their reservation.
Thus, the ideal booking engine should be able to integrate with the property management software and the channel manager that you currently use. This allows distribution to be managed efficiently across all channels, avoids overbooking and allows the PMS to simplify daily operations and the reservation processing.
It would be appropriate to opt for a booking engine equipped with a dashboard. This dashboard allows you to analyze the property’s performance specifically to statistics related to sales and bookings, the number of visits, the conversion rate and the turnover in order to maximize direct bookings through your website.
The booking engine should give you statistical data concerning the evolution of your bookings from one year to another, the average amount of a reservation or even competitors’ data. Thus, analytics data must be added so you will be able to highlight a good flow or a bad one, along with loss percentages from one step to the next one. Online booking is also a great way to frequently check prices for customers, this booking start’s frequency must be taken into account in your analysis, each booking process step sees its batch of abandoned bookings. Your goal is to analyze and improve these data, to do so several levers are available such as your property’s presentation, prices and reservation policies.
Moreover, the automatic sending of confirmation emails or a reminder sent by SMS are essential. It is a great mean to confirm all the information relating to the booking made by a customer and to avoid no show.
Having a booking engine on your own website will help you stay competitive and also increase the number of direct bookings. However, it isn’t enough to only opt for a booking engine, this tool must be as optimized as possible in order to convert users. This conversion is possible by offering a the most simple, smooth and secure booking experience possible!