In the past decade the travel industry has been booming. A virtual shift is one of the major reasons this is happening. This has impacted the industry in a big way, right from gathering information to checking out properties available right at travelers’ fingertips. Online reviews have got hoteliers on their feet as they cater to digital travelers.
This is where booking engines play a crucial role. Since they not only facilitate travelers with a portal to reserve rooms at a given hotel, but they also allow hoteliers to expand their virtual existence. Booking engines can look at what the potential customer is looking for and uses such data for the betterment of hoteliers.
What is a booking engine?
A booking engine is a reservation software used by hoteliers to book rooms at a hotel. This software triggers a gateway for your hotel to pop up on the prospective customers’ radar while they are looking up certain categories of hotels for example. Such information can be shown on social media platforms.
How has it affected hoteliers?
Competition on the digital level in the hotel industry is at its peak, where changing preferences of guests’ from one hotel to another costs hoteliers. This is where Booking engines are a hotelier’s constant companion and benefits them in the following ways:
Enhances business efficiency: As soon as a booking is made, the booking engine updates your availability not only in your systems but also across various distribution channels which your inventory is connected to. This helps to minimize administrative tasks, thereby minimizing the risks of over or double booking and even saves time.
Gives you a competitive edge: For small hoteliers, generating new guests can be tough, especially since they are not competing alone. Booking engines allow such hotels to gain a competitive edge through greater exposure to enable the hotel to move a step ahead of their competitors.
You aren’t dependent on an OTA: Booking engines can affect a part of your sales based on traveler surfing patterns over the internet, as they can experience booking abandonment and high cancellation hosts. This enables hoteliers to be control their affected costs through direct bookings via their own website.
Enhances your bookings: Since Booking engines not only avoid the risk of over booking but also allow you to generate a higher virtual presence, this enables and enhances the expansion of your client circle which is important for generating more bookings.
Improves your payment process: Because of booking engines, small hoteliers have the ability to introduce various payment methods such as accepting credit cards. As soon as the reservation amount is paid, a portion of the tentative payment will be credited into the hotelier’s account.
The impact of booking engines in the hotel industry
During the past 5 years, the travel industry has changed significantly, where the industry has shifted from booking with travel agents to booking rooms directly with hotels. About 56% of travelers book their hotels using OTAs, or by direct booking on a hotel’s website. Only 9% of travelers approach the traditional travel agent.
Booking engines disrupting the industry
Booking engines have been one of the biggest in the changing industry, where in various ways it tackles the following:
Price comparison: This is a huge factor that determines hotel bookings. Making guests book rooms with you is about giving them a valuable deal which they won’t find elsewhere. Keeping tabs on market offerings can become difficult for hoteliers and this is where booking engines play such a crucial role to ensure you offer the best prices on the market.
Marketing and commissions: Hoteliers need to spend money on various marketing campaigns. Here booking engines can identify the relevant marketing material a guest should view while making their bookings to drive conversion.
Staffing needs for hoteliers: Traditionally, booking hotels through personnel required hotel staff to be serving at least 3 shifts, so that an agent is always available to book rooms for guests. With a booking engine, bookings are taken care of 24/7 without the need for hiring back-end staff. This also reduces the risk of over-booking a hotel.
Handling reviews: Booking engines can also allow hoteliers to keep regular tabs on customer reviews where they can handle negative reviews within 24 hours. This previously required hotels to require more staff to monitor this task specifically.
Today hoteliers are supported by this sophisticated tool. Research shows that there is a 30% increase in online bookings each year because of digital features dominating the industry, such as online surfing, mobile apps and booking engines coming.