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Choosing a Website Booking Engine – Use the Same Criteria You
Would Use when Choosing a Hotel Sales Person
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March 2009 - Choosing the right booking engine for your hotel has become increasingly important as a quick way of increasing profitability and developing your online strategy.

Web-only bookings take away the cost of traditional, more expensive channels and allow a far greater flexibility to manage demand and yield. This makes online reservations the most profitable and valuable option for all hotels.

When choosing a booking engine for your website, why not consider going about it in the same way you would when hiring a key sales person? Here are some points to consider:

How important is the role?

A good salesperson could generate at least 20% - 25% of all your business in the next few years. A good booking engine should do exactly the same. If this is to be achieved, the booking engine you use should be at the top of its field.  You will need to spend time searching for and “interviewing” various booking engines. Once you have interviewed a number of potential candidates, compare their strengths and weaknesses and re-interview if necessary until you are confident you have found the right one.

What salary are you willing to pay?

If you expect someone to generate 25% of your business, you would reward them with a good salary. Therefore, make sure you budget accordingly when looking for a booking engine – don’t be blinded by deals and unbelievably low prices. If you pay someone a lower salary than average, you will get lower productivity than average – the same goes for booking engines!

Appearances must reflect company standards
Presentation is very important and a good salesperson should present themselves to reflect your company standards. A booking engine should do the same. Most booking engines are customisable; it should be able to camouflage itself well enough to make it look and feel part of your own website. The booking engine might look good, but you need to be sure it has the essential skills. Some booking engines may look attractive and offer many different features but are they easy to use? 

The ability to attract new business and adapt to clients’ needs
A salesperson should have the skills and creativity to attract potential business. Therefore, a good booking engine should come with a search engine optimisation (SEO) component to ensure visibility online and help increase traffic to your website. Once traffic arrives at your website, your booking engine should encourage people to book with a simple availability search and call to action functionalities. Your booking engine should not assume that all clients want the same thing. It should be flexible to allow users to specify their individual requirements. It should also maximise the revenue from each sale by offering extras such as dinner, flowers or champagne.

Good presentation skills and ability to close the deal
A good salesperson knows your product inside-out, can present it attractively to clients and can close the deal.  Your booking engine needs to do the same. It should present your property in a compelling manner including pictures, videos and virtual tours, and should ensure the completion of the booking is done quickly and easily.

Initiative to keep up with trends and adaptability

A good salesperson will keep up to date with market trends, know what your competitors are doing and implement necessary changes into their sales strategy. Your booking engine needs to do the same and should be backed up with a good technology development team, otherwise it will quickly become an outdated tool.

Language skills

The ideal salesperson will speak the languages of your main markets. The ideal booking engine will have the capacity to present itself in a variety of languages and accept a variety of currencies, making it accessible to a larger potential customer base.


Great Hotels Organisation is exhibiting at ITB Berlin: Hall 6.1 – Stand 133.

Great Hotels Organisation is part of Big Worldwide, a global, privately owned travel, technology and media company headquartered in London. 

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Contact:

Brooke Jester
Marketing and PR Executive
Great Hotels Organisation
+44 (0) 20 7380 8561
bjester@ghorg.com
http://www.ghorg.com

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Also See: New Consumer Hotel Booking Preferences - They Love the Internet…Now What? / Neil Salerno / March 2005
Independent Hoteliers Require their Own Distinct Understanding of the Online Marketing Process / Miriam Allenson / September 2004
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