The right Hotel Booking Engine Provider can make your life easy and breezy. From my experience of testing different ones out, I wanted to share eleven things I've learned to look for in a hotel booking engine provider to distinguish if it is right.
Why is a booking engine provider important?
A good booking engine provider adds value to your business in several ways. It aids you in:
- Brand promotion
- Providing lower costs than other online channels
- Increasing the lifetime value of the guest
- Retaining the loyalty of the guest
Here are 11 of the most important things to look for in a hotel booking engine provider.
1. Are they connected to all the channels your hotel is on?
Your booking engine provider should link with various channel managers to make your job easier!
Linking a booking engine with multiple channel managers allows short-term rental providers to expand their reach to a diverse range of potential guests. Each channel manager represents a distinct online platform or travel agency with its own user base.
A rental service can tap into different demographics, regions, and booking preferences by integrating with several channel managers. This broader market reach translates to increased visibility and exposure, leading to a higher influx of reservations.
2. Do they have a mobile solution?
You should be able to see your performance on mobile separately from your performance on other devices so that you can hone your mobile strategy with accurate data.
Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have surpassed desktops as the primary means of accessing the internet and making online bookings. Users are more likely to search for accommodations, browse photos, and read reviews on their mobile devices.
By analysing mobile metrics, short-term accommodation providers gain insights into how potential guests interact with their websites and booking platforms. This understanding enables businesses to tailor their marketing strategy to match the preferences and behaviours of mobile users.
And, it goes without saying that your own vacation rental website should be optimised for mobile for the benefit of your short-term rental booking guests.
Mobile metrics also play a pivotal role in shaping advertising strategies. Businesses can allocate their advertising budgets more effectively by analyzing data related to mobile ad performance. Insights into click-through rates, conversion rates, and user behaviour after clicking on an ad can help optimize ad campaigns for mobile users. This data-driven approach ensures that marketing efforts align with the mobile audience's preferences and habits.
3. Is their booking engine flexible enough for your hotel’s needs?
If Your Direct Booking Engine has its vacation rental marketing in order, it should:
- Display all the languages that your guests speak
- Prominently display your hotel’s logo
- Offer unlimited creation of tariffs, room types, special offers and discounts
- Provide online voucher redemption
- Offer wedding and corporate booking modules
- Show a pooled inventory
4. What kind of customer service and reporting do they offer?
Your booking engine provider should be open with you about your hotel’s performance. Their team should offer advice for improvement based on best practices and data.
Enhanced Guest Satisfaction
Outstanding customer service goes beyond providing a place to stay—it creates lasting memories and fosters positive emotions. Guests who feel cared for and valued are more likely to leave glowing reviews, become repeat visitors, and recommend the property to others.
The positive word-of-mouth generated by exceptional service can significantly impact the property's reputation and occupancy rates.
Differentiation in a Competitive Market
The short-term rental and boutique hotel industry is highly competitive, with numerous options available to travellers. Properties that prioritize customer service set themselves apart by offering a unique and memorable experience.
A reputation for excellent service can become a distinct competitive advantage, attracting guests who seek personalized attention and a high level of care.
Building Trust and Loyalty
Effective customer service is instrumental in building trust and fostering guest loyalty. When guests know that their needs will be met and their concerns addressed promptly, they are more likely to develop a sense of trust in the property.
Trust translates to repeat business and positive reviews as loyal guests become advocates for the property.
5. How do they help promote a Book Direct message?
Direct bookings, properly handled, typically come with a much lower CPA, even when you account for marketing costs. Growing your direct bookings means growing your revenue. There are a large variety of tactics that can improve your Book Direct Strategy.
6. Do they offer other services to drive bookings, such as digital marketing and design?
A great marketing team should be able to help you drive direct bookings through Metasearch channels, create a mix of successful digital channels for your hotel and gain you huge brand awareness through paid campaigns on Google and other platforms.
7. Do they have an expert understanding of what drives conversions?
Your booking engine should be constantly improving. They should always be:
1. Finding out where and why users aren’t booking
2. Fixing it
8. Are they constantly innovating and preparing for future developments? How can you tell?
Your booking engine provider should be right there with you. They should develop new features for their booking engine to cope with the changing landscape and prepare for the future. A good question to ask yourself is, “Does my booking engine regularly release updates or new versions?”
9. Are their team experts in the hospitality and technology sectors?
Your account manager and point of contact with your provider should be passionate and want your business to succeed.
10. Are their features to help you build guest relationships?
The ideal one allows you the flexibility to create unlimited tariffs and rate plans. You should also be able to create separate rates for guests booking corporate events or weddings.
In the world of short-term accommodation, building strong guest relationships is not just about providing a place to stay but about creating memorable experiences that lead to guest loyalty and positive word-of-mouth. Establishing genuine connections with guests can set your business apart and ensure repeat bookings. This article offers practical tips on how short-term accommodation businesses can foster lasting guest relationships.
From the moment a guest expresses interest in your property, strive for personalized communication. Address guests by their names and inquire about their preferences. Tailor your responses to their inquiries and needs. Whether it's through email, phone calls, or social media, personalized communication demonstrates that you value each guest's individuality.
Engage with guests by sending them personalized welcome emails or messages before their arrival. Provide useful information about the local area, transportation options, and any special amenities or activities your property offers. This proactive approach builds anticipation and showcases your commitment to enhancing their stay.
Warm Welcome Upon Arrival
Make the check-in experience memorable by providing a warm welcome. Greet guests with a smile, offer a tour of the property, and provide them with any necessary information about their stay. Consider leaving a personalized welcome note or a small welcome gift in their room to create a lasting positive impression.
Responsive Guest Support
Offer excellent guest support throughout their stay. Make it easy for guests to contact you in case they have questions, concerns, or requests. Respond promptly to inquiries and address any issues that arise. A responsive and attentive approach shows that you prioritize their comfort and satisfaction.
Surprise and Delight Gestures
Surprise your guests with unexpected gestures that exceed their expectations. This could be anything from a complimentary upgrade to a special amenity, a local delicacy, or a personalized note on a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. These small touches leave a lasting impact and show that you value their patronage.
Provide Local Recommendations
Share your local expertise by providing personalized recommendations for restaurants, attractions, and activities. Tailor your suggestions to each guest's interests and preferences. Offering insider tips helps guests make the most of their stay and showcases your commitment to their experience.
Collect and Act on Feedback
Encourage guests to provide feedback about their stay through surveys or reviews. Collecting feedback shows that you value their opinions and are committed to improving. Act on constructive feedback to enhance future guest experiences and demonstrate your dedication to continuous improvement.
After guests have checked out, maintain contact through a follow-up email or message. Express gratitude for their stay and invite them to provide feedback or share their experience on review platforms. This post-stay engagement keeps your property on their radar and shows your commitment to a lasting relationship.
Loyalty Programs or Repeat Guest Discounts
Reward repeat guests with loyalty programs or special discounts for their next stay. These incentives encourage guests to return and reinforce their sense of being valued and appreciated by your business.
11. What range of client types do they have?
If they have an extensive client list across a range of different property types or specialise in your type of property, have no fear! If your hotel has a focus on a certain type of bookings, like large corporate groups or weddings, consider asking how their booking engine can cater to those needs.
Your ideal one should have a flexible admin centre for you and a focus on conversion for your guests.
I hope this information was helpful to you!