A hotel booking system is an important piece of technology for hotels and similar properties, allowing customers to reserve hotel rooms online through a simple, self-service process. In this article, you will find out more about how these systems work and have the chance to explore eight tips that will allow you to maximise the benefits.
- What is a Hotel Booking System?
- 8 Tips to Maximise Your Hotel Booking System Potential
- 1. Connect The System to Your PMS
- 2. Connect It to Your Channel Manager
- 3. Customise The User Interface
- 4. Sell Extras and Keep Your Hotel Booking System Up-to-Date
- 5. Automate Confirmation and Marketing Emails
- 6. Promote Across Business Channels
- 7. Seek Out, Manage and Utilise Guest Reviews
- 8. Make Sure Your Hotel Booking System is Mobile Optimised
- Video: Top 10 Hotel Booking Engine Must-Haves
- Hotel Booking System: Tips for Attracting More Bookings
- Revenue Management and Your Hotel Booking System
- Integrating Your Hotel Booking System and PMS System
- A Channel Manager to Compliment Your Hotel Booking System
A hotel booking system is the name given to the software used by hotel websites, in order to allow customers to make a hotel room reservation. The service will enable users to explore room availability and room rates across different dates, select the period they would like to stay within the hotel, and complete their booking online.
Booking systems of this kind are among the most important examples of hotel technology used by modern properties. When using the system, customers should be able to complete their booking and automatically receive a confirmation email. Most booking systems will also provide options for customers to book extras or upgrades too.
8 Tips to Maximise Your Hotel Booking System Potential
Although a hotel booking system is a crucial piece of hotel software, some systems work better than others. The following tips will assist you in optimising your booking system and maximising its potential.
Many hotels operate with a separate hotel booking system and property management system. When this is the case, it is important that the two solutions are able to connect, resulting in an integrated workflow.
After cloud-based integration is achieved, the property management system can be used for some of the broader hotel management tasks, while the booking system can be used purely for processing customer reservations. Integration between the systems means that data will be passed between them automatically and continuously, improving efficiency and accuracy. Guests can book their hotel rooms, and the information will synchronise with your PMS instantly.
Next, it is important that your hotel booking system is also integrated with your channel manager.
A channel manager helps you to oversee and manage the various distribution channels you are using. This means that when customers do not book directly, but instead opt to reserve their hotel room through an online travel agency (OTA) or a similar channel, this information will show up in your channel manager.
Integration between this channel manager and your hotel booking system can help to ensure that all channels have up-to-date information about room rates and availability, and this can prevent issues like double bookings. Going further, you should also make sure your online booking system is fully integrated with your POS system.
Another way that those in the hospitality industry can get the very most from their hotel booking system is through customisation of the user interface. In particular, it can be important that the booking system is easy for customers to use, while consistent branding can also play an important role in building trust.
On top of this, you should try to make sure the booking process has been designed with your specific hotel in mind, rather than using a generic booking system that has not been tailored to your property. Examples here could include photographs of your hotel, and the implementation of options for booking extra services that your hotel provides.
As customers use your hotel booking system to reserve their hotel rooms, they should be presented with options to make additional bookings, or access extra services. The precise offerings here will vary between hotels, but the most important thing is to ensure that customers have options to book their ideal stay.
On top of this, you need to ensure your hotel booking system is always as up-to-date as it possibly can be. This means no new products or services should be made available without updating the online booking system first. It also means that new products and services should be actively promoted to customers while they book.
Your hotel booking system is primarily a piece of hospitality software intended to help customers with self-service online bookings. However, the software can also be set up to automate some of the important tasks that are typically carried out in response to bookings, or in the pre-arrival phase of the customer journey.
Two of the biggest examples of this are the sending of confirmation emails and the sending of marketing content. Confirmation emails can be set up to be sent as soon as a booking is made and the customer can be automatically allocated a booking reference number. Marketing emails, meanwhile, allow you to upsell and cross sell.
A high-quality, fully functional hotel booking system can be an invaluable asset for any hotel looking to attract direct bookings, but it is also important that people know about your booking system and can actually find it.
With this in mind, one of the most crucial steps for maximising the benefits of a hotel booking system is to actively promote the system across your various business channels. You should make it easy to find the booking system on your company website and you should include direct links from your various social media channels as well.
To get the most from your hotel booking system, you are also going to need to capitalise on reviews from your guests. These reviews can be placed on your website and even on the same page as your main booking process, in order to encourage reservations, but you will need to carefully manage your reputation.
Make sure you are delivering a high level of customer service and then encourage your guests to leave reviews across review platforms and social media. Additionally, on channels like Facebook and various OTAs, you should politely respond to any customers who have complaints and try to mitigate the resulting damage.
Finally, it is essential that the hotel booking system you deploy is mobile-optimised so that customers who are using a smartphone are able to complete a booking without encountering any unnecessary obstacles.
A huge number of hotel customers now turn to their smartphones to look for hotels, read reviews, and make their reservations. It is vital that these users are able to navigate their way through the booking process on their phones. To achieve this, your website needs to display properly on smartphone screens, with all text fully legible.
In order to maximise the effectiveness of the booking system of your hotel, it is essential to select a system that offers specific functionalities to be able to achieve exactly what is needed. Making this choice is imperative to a profitable booking engine and conversions. The video below discusses ten detailed must-haves a successful hotel booking system can offer and gives visual examples about each item.
While your hotel booking system will play a key role in attracting bookings, there are various other steps you can take to maximise the number of reservations you generate from customers too, with examples including optimising your website design, capitalising on search engine optimisation, and promoting your unique selling points.
You can explore more tips for attracting hotel bookings and find out how to optimise your selling strategy by reading through the “8 Tips to Gain More Bookings With Your Hotel Website” article.
Your hotel booking system can also contribute to your revenue management efforts, but it is equally important to invest in a revenue management system. The concept of revenue management is about maximising revenue, limiting costs, and selling to the right customers, at the right time, for the right price, through the right channel.
To learn about revenue management systems, how they can assist those in the hospitality industry, and the benefits, take a look at the “Revenue Management System (RMS): What Are the Advantages?” post.
As previously stated, getting the absolute most out of your hotel booking system requires you to integrate the booking system with your property management system (PMS). However, you also need to make sure you have the right PMS system for the job and this means acquiring the solution with the right features for your needs.
You can explore the subject of property management systems further, and learn about some of the key features you should prioritise by reading the “PMS System: What Are the Most Important Features?” article.
A Channel Manager to Compliment Your Hotel Booking System
Alongside the other hotel software solutions you deploy, you should also find a hotel distribution channel manager, which can compliment your hotel booking system. Crucially, the use of a channel manager will allow you to oversee room sales across different third-party platforms, including OTAs and Google.
Using a channel manager, you are likely to reduce booking errors, while gaining access to important data and performance metrics. To learn more, read “Hotel Distribution Channel Manager: What Are the Advantages?”
Hotel booking systems play a significant role in most modern hotels and rank among the most important examples of hospitality software applications. By following the tips provided, you can maximise the benefits of your booking system, generate more direct bookings, and reap the financial rewards.