OTAs keep consuming more and more of hotels’ revenues, with the majority of hotel guest bookings coming from booking portals and commission payments constantly increasing. In most cases, a hotel could make much more revenue based on it’s actual capacities than it does.
This development is not any one person or group’s fault. Neither can you blame the guest or OTAs. Things have just developed the way they did.
Rather than pointing the finger and complaining, ambitious hotel managers should try to find new ways of making the best use of what’s available to them.
Immediately, the website comes into play as the main sales and contact channel, offering great potential for improvement to many hotels. The concrete goal should be the redistribution of room reservations from external portals to direct bookings. To do this, it is a precondition that a hotel offer a hotel booking engine that can compete with OTAs. Just look at it from the guest’s perspective: Why would I favor a more complicated or more expensive booking when I can just use the well known OTA processes and get the best price?
This is the problem we at Customer Alliance have tried to tackle with our new hotel booking system Booked. In designing our booking engine, we’ve aimed to create a booking process which would be easier and faster than the very best OTAs out there.
Here is the good news: Studies have determined that guests have the tendency to book directly at the hotel? So, why aren’t they? The answer seems to be at once a simple and tricky one. Most hotels simply do not offer straightforward booking features, meaning that they just don’t fulfill the basic requirements to catching guests directly on their website. To increase the success of their online booking engine, a hotel should ensure that the following conditions are accomplished throughout the booking process:
At some stage of the booking, the guest must feel a certain connection to the hotel. The booking engine has to be well integrated and adapted to the general design of the website for the customer to gain confidence and feel welcome.
Room rates must not be priced higher than they are on third party sites! It is absolutely imperative that guests find the hotel’s best price on its own website. And more than that, the hotel management should always try to attract people to make direct website reservations by offering exclusive bargains (learn hotel website secrets in our special Whitepaper). This aspect played an important part in our decision to launch Booked free of commissions.
The booking process has to be easy and user-friendly. There should be no useless registration or superfluous words. Keep it simple! The less clicks, the better, and the higher the chance of a direct booking.
Things such as a booking confirmation are a must. A well designed booking engine will also allow the hotelier to follow up with his guests at any time.
Not much more to say about that. We are in 2015! More and more, people book on the go, from their mobile and tablet. Particularly in the hospitality industry. Not being resposive means losing guests and revenue. For no reason.
In offering an easy and user-friendly booking system, hotels will find that they have advantage over their competitors. It is not solely that they can save on commissions – it’s about marketing a property as a brand. People will be more likely to remember a hotel when they come across its website and make a direct reservation there, than when they merely click it out of a list of identical looking accommodations.
Besides, a well designed hotel booking engine can help hotels with their reservation management, providing valuable insight into business rates and marketing potential by analyzing guest data and behavior.
And last but not least, hotels are more and more often capitalizing from upsell possibilities.
Upsells are critical to increasing business revenue as well as customer satisfaction. Hotels should therefore make sure that they are offering all their services to their customers through the hotel booking engine. It would be great to have all of this combined in just one solution, wouldn’t it?
As time goes by, things do change. And, as usual, things change a lot faster in the hospitality industry. But, wherever old formulas and regulations cease to work, there is room for new formulas and regulations. At this point, we come back to our ambitious hotelier who sees great opportunities available to him in trying new things with his hotel.
Boost direct sales, reduce commissions, get real-time analysis of hotel bookings, upsell more, get the easiest booking process – all fully responsive.