You won’t go far without beautiful, original imagery; engaging copy; and simple navigation, but the online booking engine is the beating heart of your hotel Website.
Without it, potential guests are likely to become missed opportunities. Remember, a guest’s ultimate aim is to check availability, rates and (hopefully) place a booking with you; therefore, if you don’t provide them with the option to do so efficiently, then they will quickly choose a competitor or an Online Travel Agency (OTA).
What makes a great hotel online booking engine?
A modern, responsive design
If potential guests can’t book via your hotel Website on their smartphones, either because the process is too time-consuming or unavailable, then you’ll lose countless bookings.
The best hotel online booking engines feature modern, clean designs that integrate effortlessly with your existing Website and automatically resize themselves based on the screen size in use. Responsive design is no longer a consideration for online booking engines – it’s a fundamental requirement.
Great guest-centric integrations
Building trust between your hotel and its potential guests when the only interaction occurs on a Website might seem like an impossible task and it certainly is with the wrong hotel online booking engine.
Pick the right system that offers the best integrations with third-party platforms, and you’ll increase both guest advocacy and conversions. For instance, an online booking engine that can link to a system, such as TripTease, will show guests price comparison information and display personalized messages at key points during the booking journey. This demonstrates you value their business, but also significantly increases the possibility they will book direct.
Services, such as Flip.to, encourage social sharing of your property (of the best kind!) and enable you to track social mentions and activity both before and after stays. This provides plenty of data from which to create direct campaigns that target specific guest types.
Automated rate and inventory updates
Guests want to be sure they’re checking live rates and availability, and for you to avoid overbooking, automated rate and inventory updating is a must. The best online booking engines are constantly revising changes to availability and your latest rates, ensuring no one is shortchanged.
Opening your hotel to online group booking might feel a little risky, but you could be losing some very profitable business if you only allow single bookings.
Choose a system that enables people to book multiple rooms, and you’ll welcome more wedding parties and corporate bookings than previously. Just make sure you’re given complete control of group sizes and you can limit, pause or not accept group booking whenever you wish. Third-party booking engines typically can’t sell group bookings, whereas your direct-booking option should have the capability for a potential guest to reserve a number of rooms by booking online. This is particularly useful if someone must book multiple rooms for friends or colleagues and is a great competitive advantage for your hotel.
Fully hosted and PCI compliant
Everyone who shops online are acutely aware of and concerned about data privacy and cybersecurity, which is why your hotel online booking engine must be built on a fully-hosted, secure platform.
Enterprise-class cybersecurity, firewalls and GDPR compliance should be standard, and you shouldn’t ever worry about sourcing your hosting, static IP address or SSL certificate. Likewise, PCI compliance is vitally important. It’s likely you’ll want to process some form of deposit for online bookings or capture guest credit card details, and a PCI-compliant system will allow that without fear of falling foul of the regulations. Your guests want to know you invested in the security of their personal data, and the best online booking engines make it abundantly clear you do.
In summary, you need a system which:
- Sits in the palm of your hand
- Takes a security-first approach to its design
- Offers live rates and availability
- Is focused on delivering functionality designed to create a great guest experience
Thankfully, you can find all of that and more in WebBook – the most affordable solution to help you boost direct bookings!
InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.
Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.