Over the past few years that hotel industry has seen enormous growth and most of the credit of this can be attributed to the advent of the Internet. Most if not all hotels and other accommodation properties now offer guests the convenience of making hotel bookings online. This has revolutionised the hospitality industry which has profited vastly from the use of modern technology. In fact, making online reservation have become the norm for other areas of travel as well, including airlines, booking train seats etc. It has made it much more convenient for travellers to book from the convenience of their home or even when they are on the move thanks to smartphones.
The two options through which reservations can be made is through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) or booking directly with the hotel using their hotel booking engine.
Online travel agencies (OTAs): They have the resources to provide clients a wide table ordering variety of accommodation options. They offer clients the facility of doing comparisons or prices and facilities between various hotels so that they can make an informed decision. A few of the prominent and popular OTAs used these days include Thomas Cook, Travelocity, Expedia, Travel Advisor etc. With special deals, discount offers, combo deals etc. they are a popular choice with travellers.
While OTAs are popular they do charge a hefty sum as a commission from hotels, where bookings are made and it is not very cost-effective as it increases revenue expenditure for the hotel management. Cost wise also it is much more economical for guests to make direct bookings at the hotel website. Hotels that use their own online reservation engine do not have to pay any commissions to the OTAs, which makes it possible for them to offer better rates to their clients.
Some of the benefits of having hotel online reservation software incorporated into a hotel website are:
- The very first benefit is that the hotel increases its profits by doing away with the fee they have to pay to OTAs and other third party intermediaries. This margin can be passed to guests, by offering better prices which will increase guest loyalty.
- The rates of rooms can be better controlled and more online traffic can be generated, with better conversion rates.
- The customer experience can be better enhanced by studying their reservation and shopping patterns. Better customer satisfaction can be achieved through online feedback and implementing certain suggestions.
- Guests can be offered various incentives like discounts at restaurants, spas and other affiliated facilities when making direct bookings.
- Prospective clients can be given a virtual tour of the hotel on the website, which would give them an idea of the property and facilities and increase the likelihood of them staying at the hotel.