When you get down to the nitty-gritty – once visitors have been drawn in by smart and efficient marketing tactics – a hotel’s website is all about driving up RevPAR. Put simply, this is the revenue a hotel makes according to its average daily room rate (ADR) when the occupancy rate is taken into account. Any and every independent hotel then has to look to increase its bookings against its competitors and, once the marketing’s successfully done its job, that means ensuring a customer’s booking is efficiently, swiftly and satisfyingly processed.
Increasingly, small- to mid-sized hotels, wherever they’re based in the world, are turning to specific computer technology called a booking engine to handle this work. A real-time online booking system then, a booking engine is actually relatively simple but, when it operates effectively and to its full potential, it becomes an indispensable piece of digital kit that enables people to book and pay for rooms instantly via hotel sites, ensuring the hotel doesn’t need to rely on an online travel agent (OTA) and its profit-stealing slice of the pie to get the booking done swiftly and without fuss, thus critically driving up RevPAR.
To that end, when hotels deploy a booking engine, they have to be confident it’s going to deliver the goods. Quite simply, it’s the make-or-break part of a website’s customer journey. Booking a room through a hotel’s website might be said by some to be a ‘virtual’ interaction with the customer and vice versa (that is, non-human), but as the customer’s parting with money, in reality it’s very real. It’s the exchange of money; it doesn’t get any more serious than that – it’s the hotel brand’s first acid test.
To ensure they choose the right booking engine and that it’s installed correctly and runs smoothly and efficiently, many a hotel will wisely turn to experts, namely a specialist hotel marketing company
. Indeed, one like Digital Hotelier
. Our booking engine (‘Booking Direct’), for instance, is one we guarantee every hotel can depend on.
An industry-leading digital solution, ours is of course compatible with different devices – mobile, tablet and desktop – and allows for both Google+ and Facebook-integration, as well as always proving easy to navigate for bookers and providing a seamless service. As far as hoteliers are concerned, it’s also highly flexible, in that it can be perfectly tailored to their site thanks to its inherent customisability; for example, it offers multi-lingual and multi-currency options.
So, if your hotel’s website isn’t already fitted with a booking engine – and frankly, if not; why not? – you should definitely put that right immediately. However, we urge you to be wary. Don’t settle for the second bests out there; there’s no need to pay over the odds for a quality booking engine. What you’re looking for is an affordable one with excellent functionality. Your booking engine should certainly be able to keep up a consistent user experience right the way through to a booking’s completion and never redirect away from your website’s URL. It also, though, should offer selective add-on options to potentially increase value and RevPAR further; always save search criteria so guests can log-in and -out and modify and cancel what they’ve booked; enable customisable emails for communication and feedback and, of course, be able to add both complex rates and promotion/ voucher codes.
Fundamentally, a good booking engine should be capable of revolutionising and improving the booking experience (and revenue) for both your hotel and guests looking to stay there.