Hotel Internet marketing presents a very efficient means for accommodation providers to sell directly to consumers. Considering that hotels are among the cleverest direct marketers across all industries, you would expect that they will be ahead of the pack when it comes to cutting edge web marketing trends. But sadly, a big number of hoteliers do not even come close to understanding the inherent capacity of the Internet to spur business growth.
Many hotels – most especially the smaller ones – have not even considered integrating hotel reservation software in their websites. Worse, some hoteliers are being duped by intermediate agencies online that do not even have a clue about the hospitality industry. These are, in a big part, brought about by the absence of comprehensive online marketing solutions.
But rather than refusing to adopt online marketing strategies and use hotel booking solutions, accommodation providers should look for ways to effectively integrate Internet strategies into their businesses. This can be particularly helpful now that the travel and hospitality industry is feeling the heat from the global economic slowdown.
Today, it is not surprising to hear plummeting hotel rates and booking cancellations. Even corporate travel accounts are renegotiating deals with accommodation providers, and that could mean a considerable drop in family and leisure travel as well. So what can you do? Consolidating your Internet marketing strategies and using hotel booking solutions that can elevate your guests’ experience on your website can help you in more ways than one.
As to your booking engine, you do not have to worry about spending a lot. You can find several hotel reservation software providers or you can consult your website developer, if you have one. But if you do decide to integrate a reservation system in your website, you need to know certain software aspects that can negatively affect web visitor behavior and, in turn, influence their hotel booking decisions. Here they are:
Requiring Membership Accounts
When it comes to hotel booking solutions, you must try to make things simple. Hence, requiring web visitors to open a membership account (free or otherwise) before they can reserve rooms on your site is an unnecessary barrier which, to web visitors, can be such a hassle. Come to think of it, if your main purpose for requiring membership sign-up is to obtain guest contact information, you can get plenty of those details as they go through the online booking process.
Lengthy Reservation Processing
Just like any online business solution, hotel reservation software that takes too long to process a single transaction can deter web visitors from booking with you. Again, keep things simple. The fewer mouse clicks necessary to compete an online reservation in your hotel, the better.
Absence or Lack of Confirmation
When guests use online hotel reservation software, they expect to receive instant confirmation. It’s not an issue about you being a trustworthy accommodation provider or not; rather it’s all about your guests knowing that their booking has been received and that a room is waiting for them when they arrive in your hotel. So make sure the hotel booking solutions you use can provide your guests with confirmation notice whether in printable format, through their email, or both.
For potential guests, nothing can be more annoying than having to go through all the reservation process only to find out that the room (or holiday package) they are trying to book is already unavailable. The operative word in hotel booking solutions is real-time. Always make sure that the information displayed on your website and booking engine is accurate and up to date.
So there you have it. Integrating reservation software into your website as part of your overall hotel Internet marketing can definitely boost your business. Just make sure you avoid the common pitfalls that can ruin your hotel booking solutions.