Booking Engine for Hotels
You may have the most engaging and appealing hotel website, but if you don’t have an embedded booking engine, your website won’t allow your guests to book their stay directly. This means you’ll lose your potential customers and you’ll depend more on OTAs for hotel bookings.
Every hotelier wants to maximize their direct bookings and drive traffic from OTAs to the hotel website. For that to happen, you must invest in an online booking engine.
1. What is a hotel booking engine?
A booking engine for hotels is software that enables your hotel website to accept direct bookings.
A good hotel booking engine will drive online bookings while seamlessly integrating with your existing hotel technology enabling you to manage your hotel booking effectively across all your distribution networks.
The booking engine integrates with your hotel revenue management software to automatically update guest records and also with your channel manager for effective room distribution.
2. How does an online booking engine work?
An online booking engine is plugged into the hotel website to process hotel bookings made through the website. The booking data is then passed onto your hotel revenue management software, allowing you to access the data and manage the bookings.
The booking engine can be synced not only with your hotel website, your hotel management system, and your online travel agents but also with your business social media pages. That means your customers can book the rooms without being on your official website or any online travel site.
3. Why do you need an online hotel booking engine?
Here are some of the reasons why your hotel needs a website booking engine:
You make your hotel instantly bookable on your hotel website.
According to research, customers check their options on the OTAs and also check the hotel website before making a booking decision. With a booking engine plugged into your hotel website, you give these customers an option to book with you right away, thereby increasing your chances of conversion.
You increase your bookings.
When a booking engine is embedded into your hotel website, it is not limited to the working hours of your staff. It works all the time, 24/7. This gives the customers the flexibility to book a room with you anytime they want.
You decrease the workload of your staff.
With a hotel booking engine in place, your staff won’t be tied down to phones waiting for the guests to call for bookings. It also reduces email inquiries, freeing your staff’s time to concentrate more on customer service.
You can accept online credit/debit card payments.
An online booking system allows your potential guests to pay directly with a credit/debit card. The system then automatically processes the booking details, thus saving your time and the hassle.
You reduce no-shows.
Since the customers make a financial commitment by paying online for the booking, they are more likely to show up. This reduces the number of no-shows significantly. Even if the customer decides to cancel the booking, the cancellation will immediately reflect in the system, and the spot will show as available for someone else to book it.
You are less dependent on OTAs.
Although OTAs give your hotel the exposure and drive sales, it is not a wise decision to have all your bookings done through a third party, mainly because it can restrict your revenue potential. If you have a booking engine plugged into your hotel website, you can take charge of your earnings through direct bookings. Direct bookings save you the commission you would otherwise pay the Online Travel Agents. These savings enhance your bottom line.
4. Best Features to Look for in a Hotel Booking Engine
The best booking engine will have the following features to enable you to make your hotel website the most powerful sales channel.
- A short and simple booking process
- Customised to your hotel’s brand for seamless customer experience
- Customisable emails throughout the customer’s journey (confirmation, pre-arrival, stay and post-departure)
- Integrated with Google Maps
- Mobile-friendly and compatibility with social media channels
- Facilitate payments into your bank account directly through the payment gateway
- Complete integration with hotel revenue management system and channel manager to instantly update rates, availability, and promotional offers
- Google Adwords, Google Analytics, and eCommerce tracking abilities to analyse data and trends
- A catchy ‘Book Now’ button followed by a simple and short form equipped with a payment processing component
5. How can Aiosell help?
Aiosell’s hotel revenue management software offers the booking engine as one of the optional add-ons to make the whole process of getting direct bookings absolutely automated and painless.
By integrating the booking engine with the software, you can run your property business smoothly, boost bookings, increase revenue, and save time.