Your hotel’s online booking engine (OBE) is the mechanism that powers your business—and will have a huge impact on your sales and operational success. The ideal booking engine will prevent staff errors, provide ease of use on both the front and back ends, integrate with useful tools and interfaces, save transaction information and protect against overbooking. As you choose the OBE that best suits your hotel, make sure to consider the following features.
An Inventory Management System
Your booking engine should, first and foremost, be designed to handle reservations. This goes beyond the basic shopping cart function of e-commerce sites. A strong OBE will have an inventory management system made for controlling bookings. The ability to itemize accommodations and make adjustments will save your staff from making common mistakes, and will ultimately improve your company’s reputation. A good booking engine makes it easy for staff to seamlessly add, modify and delete items from your inventory without altering existing bookings.
Integration to Analytics
Web analytics are an incredibly useful feature that improve your online booking engine. For example, when your engine is connected to Google Analytics, you can gather a wealth of information about your potential customers at no cost. This integration provides the ability to track the location and demographics of visitors to your site in real time, a visualization of what people click on the most, a summary of which pages keep visitors on the site the longest and even an analysis of why users abandon reservations at a certain point. All of this information can help you to make proactive changes that drive better sales.
There is nothing more frustrating to guests and embarrassing to your hotel than when a guest shows up and there isn’t a room for them. Overbooking is most commonly caused by administrative errors and is completely avoidable. When the back end of your engine has an easy-to-use interface, your staff will steer clear of mistakes and eliminate oversights that cause overbooking. They will also be paying less attention to their screen and more attention to your guests.
TripConnect through TripAdvisor
The most successful hotels make it as easy as possible for TripAdvisor users to get to their hotel’s website. To guarantee this conversion, choose a booking engine that has TripConnect certification. This function will drive users directly to your website and allow you to avoid transaction fees. When your booking engine doesn’t have OTAs skimming off the top, RevPar increases alongside your bottom line.
Each of the visitors to your site will be searching for something unique in terms of price, amenities and duration of stay. The best offers are the ones that appeal to all of your guests’ preferences and are properly adjusted to boost your profits. Good OBEs will store guests’ preferences and provide customizable offers to suit their particular needs. Special integrations can even provide geo-targeted offers that take a visitor’s location into account. By providing potential guests with personalized packages, you’re much more likely to make the sale.
Connection to Social Media
Your booking engine should connect all facets of your online presence. This means that you should be able to access review sites, your social media pages and other plugins from within your booking engine platform. When former guests are offering information on your hotel to potential future guests, you can’t afford to not be in on the conversation. The right OBE ensures that you never miss out—and lets you show off glowing reviews to potential customers as they’re considering booking a stay.
The online booking engine is just one part of a successful PMS and but can save your guests from several turn-offs that might otherwise drive them away. Choosing the right OBE could be the key to the soaring sales and operational fluency you are looking for.
Photo: Shutterstock / Dmitry Kalinovsky