Most people will expect your hotel business to have a hotel booking system which they can use to book a room on your website. This is much easier than calling a hotel on the phone, and allows travellers to book a hotel room from the ease of their own home, months before they actually need to travel. It is not a luxury – it is a necessity for most hotels these days if you want to keep up with the competition.
Investing in the right hotel booking engine is important. This is a software tool that enables your hotel to accept direct bookings on your website. It needs to be well tested and reliable so that it can be managed properly and guests can feel confident in your service.
Ultimately, a well invested hotel booking engine will drive online bookings and help your business to flourish.
Features to look out for in a hotel booking engine include the following:
Quick and easy to use – Test the software to see how your guests will see the booking process. Is it quick? Is it simple? Your guests will want to be able to book a hotel in a short space of time. If it takes too long, is complex or long winded, then they will simply give up and choose to book with a different hotel. Remember, your customers have many different hotels to choose from and they won’t stay loyal to you if the process makes it too difficult for them.
Mobile friendly – Most people look up hotel information on their phone and many also book hotels on their phones, so your website needs to be mobile friendly. Try looking at the website on your phone to see if it comes across just as well on this medium as the PC. Take for instance the Digital Hotelier website which has identical branding, colours and messages on both platforms.
Accessible from abroad – Make sure your site can be read in different languages, as many people are likely to book from different countries. Your booking engine should also adapt to different currencies and languages. If not, your customers will simply choose a website that is more accessible for them.
Link to Facebook – It is good to have the option to connect to social media. At the end of a booking, see if the traveller wishes to ‘post on Facebook’ to tell their friends about their booking. You might also wish to connect your Twitter feed or Instagram to the website.
Other things to consider
When creating your website, you need to make sure that the software is up to date and tried and tested. But you will also want to ensure that the copy on your website is proofread, free of errors and sells your hotel in the best light. You will also want to make sure there are plenty of good pictures on your website of your hotel property.