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