How to manage accommodation bookings via your website
We’ve all been there. You use a third party website to book a well-earned break. The website works fine and is easy to use. But then you get offered car hire you don’t need, insurance you’ve already got, and even a discounted trip to a winery you don’t want (ok, maybe you sign up to that one). The point is it’s not a great experience.
You shouldn’t have to go through this and neither should your customers. Luckily, they don’t need to. By customising the booking experience to the needs of your own website and customer base, you take matters into your own hands.
The right online booking platform has a lot of benefits that can help your business grow and prosper. You could be streamlining operations, increasing direct bookings, and avoiding expensive commission fees to external booking websites.
But how do you know what is the best system for your business? The best thing you can do to find out is to work with an IT expert in the know who is familiar with the different options available. The right ‘go-to IT guy’ will smooth out the process of finding the right system and set up a beautiful and simple booking experience for your customers.
When you speak to them, you might be surprised to find out just how much these systems are capable of. Below are some things to consider to get you started.
Different businesses need different things (yep, that’s right!) and in the hotel business the booking system you use may change based on the customers you are targeting, what time of year it is, and more.
Based on what your business needs you may want to consider things like multi-room bookings, where customers can book two or more rooms at once, dynamic pricing, where you are able to easily change the cost of rooms based on various factors.
Also worth considering are things like loyalty integration to reward regular customers, rate matching to keep pace with competitors, and strikethrough deals to make it clear how much of a bargain the customer is snagging.
You want your booking platform to be as user-friendly as possible so it is easy to use. You’ll probably want one that allows for simple mobile bookings. Think about how you can reduce the barriers to customers making a purchase. How many steps does the customer have to go through before they can finalise the booking? Is the system visually appealing?
One of the advantages of tailoring your own online booking system is that you can do away with the annoying and tacky discounted deals offered by external booking companies.
As well as being easy for your customers to use, you want your booking system to be easy to maintain. Email automation for things like confirming bookings is a must, and supporting multiple languages and currencies is something to consider. A cool feature is the potential to automatically update the prices shown on external operators, which could streamline your business significantly.
The right booking system can also help you track your customer analytics to determine who you are good at attracting and what you may need to work on. Analysis reports can be generated to track things like what external websites are working and what you can do to make your system more efficient.
Overall, the right choice will deliver you value for money by vastly increasing your bookings, streamlining your operations, and helping to keep your customers happy. Now that you know the basics, go and find yourself your an expert who can look after the rest!
Need help choosing the ideal booking engine for your website? Talk to us about the best system for you.