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Are you taking full advantage of your Booking Engine?
What is a Booking Engine? It is an online reservation system your future guest can use to search for hotel availability and complete a reservation independently. So far so true. But the Booking Engine is also more, it can indeed become a powerful sales tool in case the potential guest is still uncertain about the reservation.
To exploit all the potential that an online booking system offers, it is necessary to understand travelers’ purchasing dynamics and use a software equipped with specific features which are not present in all Booking Engines available on the market.
Below we list 5 strategies to increase direct bookings:
Secret offers are a strategy used by many of our customers to disintermediate reservations. As everyone knows, online searches often see the traveler landing on OTAs. Once they view the most interesting proposals for the chosen location and period, before proceeding, they usually will visit the hotel’s official channel, hoping to find better offers or a valid reason to book directly and justify giving up to the "guarantee" that OTAs give. The secret offer is a rate applied to a room, visible only if the user decides to leave his contact information and log in to the Booking Engine system. In this way the hotel will be able, in compliance with the privacy regulations to establish a direct communication with the user adding his contacts in the database. Once the traveler has viewed the rate of the secret offer, equal to or more convenient than the one available on OTAs, he can then decide to proceed with the reservation. Another advantage of this strategy, of which few speak, is the possibility of not publicly displaying direct rates to OTAs and competitors. Many of our customers, thanks to secret offers, have obtained a disintermediation of 30% in just 6 months.
Reservations in 4 clicks
If it were possible, guests would like to conclude their reservations with the power of thought; laziness and the need for immediacy have been fostered by the advent of digital. We have not achieved this yet at the moment, but we can say that a good Booking Engine must be able to allow the user to complete the reservation in very few clicks. No useless information, no complex steps. It is necessary to weigh the message that the hotel wants to communicate with the information which is essential for the reservation. Often the hotel's distinctive concept can be transmitted using a single evocative image and / or a sentence that summarizes its values and mission, no long text is needed. In addition to an intuitive and sales-oriented interface, it is important that the user can access the Booking Engine in an immediate way thanks to integration with social networks and that he can insert the fields required to complete the booking quickly, perhaps with the help of an autofill system.
Right topics at the right time
The Booking Engine of one of our customers has, on the main screen, a list of 8 good reasons to book directly on their system. The list includes: the best price guaranteed within 24 hours from the confirmation, welcome drink, upgrade at check in (when possible), discount both on the spa entrance fee and the lunch at the restaurant, a small surprise upon departure, and in addition to the discount component, also a guarantee of security during the payment process thanks to the Digicert certificate. By receiving a commission free reservation through our Booking Engine, the hotel knows that the discount offered to the guest will be less than or equal to the commission he would have paid to OTAs. In addition, with direct bookings, the hotel will have more chances to retain customer loyalty through targeted promotions and wishes for anniversaries and holidays.
Additional services that make the difference
Additional services increase the value of the property, helping to differentiate one’s offer from that of competitors and increase the margin on direct sales. Pampering guests with a wide range of services and activities, from spa services to yoga classes, enriches the experience for those who spend a holiday while relieves tension and reduces stress for those traveling for work. It is not always possible for a property to manage these services independently, so why not create a partnership with the nearest gym? In this way you will guarantee professional equipment and an authentic experience. The yoga class is just an example, this strategy can be adopted for many other activities. This said, does your Booking Engine allow you to sell additional services online?
Google Hotel Ads
Another service that aims to disintermediate is Google Hotel Ads, the Google service that increases direct reservations by showing the official hotel rates before those of OTAs within the Google tab (click here for further information). Usually Google Hotel Ads is managed by external agencies or by Booking Engine providers who set up campaigns through a paid consultation while Ericsoft, is the only software house to have integrated the management of Google Hotel Ads within its own Booking Engine to offer management an effective tool, that can be used in complete autonomy.
There are many strategies that a hotel can adopt to increase direct bookings, but there are few Booking Engines that allow you to implement them to the fullest. If you want to know more about the online disintermediation techniques for your property, fill out the form below, we will contact you as soon as possible.
We have been creating complete and highly specialized technological solutions for the hospitality industry since 1995.
Having an exclusive focus on a single industry, our investments have always been entirely dedicated to the development of our software and innovative applications for hotel and restaurant management.
The experience gained over the years, together with what we acquire on a daily basis by being in contact with hospitality professionals, allows us to understand the real needs of the sector and to develop, based on new market trends and regulations, flexible and scalable solutions that can be customized according to the needs of each property, from independent ones to chains.
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