Gone are the days when most guests called the hotel front desk to reserve their stay. Now, nearly all phases of travel planning happen online – from researching accommodation to the moment of booking.
OTAs play a fundamental role in this: they’re where most travellers will go to see their options and make a reservation. But your property website can also be a major source of revenue.
Studies show that having multiple distribution channels is the most effective way to increase your earnings. In this post, we’ll explain how an embedded booking engine on your property website can boost your direct bookings and improve your guests’ direct booking experience.
What is a hotel booking engine?
First off, let’s define what a hotel booking engine is. A hotel booking engine is the software used by guests to book your property online. It allows you to sell rooms directly on your website, as well as through advertisements on Facebook and other popular social networking sites.
What are the benefits?
1. Your property is instantly bookable through your hotel website.
Research shows that most guests will look at both OTAs and the property website to inform their decision. By presenting an easy way for them to book right on your page, you increase the chances that when they’re ready to reserve, they’ll do it directly with you.
2. You’re not entirely dependent on OTAs.
OTAs are a great way of getting your name out there. Your property shows up on search results for your destination, and guests find your presence there trustworthy. But it can limit your revenue to have all of your bookings coming through a third party. Why not take charge of your earnings by getting some of your bookings from your own channel?
3. You pay far less commission.
Bookings through your property website cost you much less commission than bookings through an OTA. This means that any direct bookings will have a big impact on your bottom line.
4. You increase your bookings.
There are many reasons guests are more likely to book your property when you have an embedded booking engine. For one, your booking engine is open 24/7 while your front desk may not be, so customers can book regardless of personal factors like time zone. Secondly, once travellers land on your site, the engine makes it easy for them to just click and reserve – rather than going back to the OTA to book and getting distracted by other options.
5. You can easily accept credit cards and process payments.
A major plus of an embedded booking engine is that guests can pay directly by credit card and the system will automatically process the reservation details – saving you time and hassle. This includes extra payments like deposits or charges for additional services such as breakfast and cleaning fees.
6. You control the guest experience through the entire customer journey.
From the moment a potential customer lands on your property website, they only interact with the content you have chosen. That means you can use your own branding throughout the process, and play a key role in making their user experience a positive one.
7. Your guests can pay in their own language and currency.
An embedded booking engine can enable your customers to book in the language they feel most comfortable in, and pay in the currency that makes the most sense for them. This gives them the comfort and ease-of-use most customers hope for, and sets their expectations even before they arrive at your property.
8. You have flexibility on the type of promotions that you offer.
The embedded booking engine means you can easily set up last-minute deals and extended stay discounts with the click of a button. These kinds of offers increase loyalty and the likelihood that your guests will have a positive experience and leave a good review.
Choosing the hotel booking engine that’s right for you
An embedded booking engine is a crucial way for your property to add a new revenue channel and start getting direct bookings. Picking the right tool might sound complicated – but there are a few key factors to look out for.
It’s vital that the booking engine you choose is made by a professional and reputable company. Not only for your property’s peace of mind, but also so your guests feel safe making a booking. That means it should both look trustworthy and function well when embedded on your site. A good place to start when determining if a brand is credible is to research their marketing and branding strategy.
It’s also important to work with a booking engine that has a Customer Service line, so you can get help if you need it. Other factors like how well the booking technology works on mobile, how many languages it’s offered in, and how flexible it is to add room types and special discounts may come into play, depending on your property’s needs.
Interested in what an embedded hotel booking engine can do for you?