Tuesday, May 7, 2013

5 Important Attributes of a Perfect Internet Booking Engine

In recent years, the Internet has witnessed a tremendous growth in terms of users and developed businesses. One of the main areas that strongly felt this growth was the tourism and travel industry, as more and more people started to show interest in booking hotels, flights or other types of services using the Internet. Unfortunately, the existent systems were unable to keep the pace with the overwhelming number of customer requirements or online transactions. Therefore, the implementation of a web-based application capable of assisting the online reservations was vital.
 The new application is known as Internet Booking Engine (IBE) and it allows customers to choose between a wide set of travel destinations, hotel rooms, conference halls or air tickets, selected accordingly to the customer’s specific requirements and their availability. The main advantage of an IBE consists in providing easy access to payment processes and purchase systems. Better results can be obtained if the booking engine is situated on the home page of a hotel website or an airline. While it is an important tool, the Internet Booking Engine will only show its maximum potential if used together with a Central Reservation System (CRS) or a Global Distribution System (GDS). The IBE serves as an interface between customers and the CRS/GDS. The data submitted by a customer is acquired by the IBE and forwarded to the GDS over the Web in order to select the relevant resources.

The hospitality industry has successfully implemented various reservation systems. Online booking has never been quicker and easier. Possible customers now have the opportunity of booking a room from the comfort of their own home, while undergoing a simple mouse-click procedure. However, you should also take a look on the other side. With the fast development of the Internet, hoteliers have a hard time keeping the pace with all the new internet booking channel. A detailed scheduling and an effective management of all these revenue streams are not facile tasks and should never be overlooked.
A very common mistake consists in the fact that most hotels tend to give less credit to one of the most important booking channels: the own website booking engine. It’s like not seeing the forest for the trees. The website booking engine is arguably one of the most important booking channels and it could also be considered one of the primary revenue streams in the hospitality industry. If you are a hotelier, you should definitely pay attention to your own booking engine. A proper use of this valuable tool will most likely have a positive effect on your revenue.
Beside offering the opportunity of making reservations at any given time through the Internet, the online booking software has a series of other important attributes that make it indispensable:
1. It simplifies the booking process
Reserving a room becomes so much simpler with the use of a hotel booking engine that also offers an availability calendar. Booking intervals are therefore easier to define and the customer information is permanently saved for later use.
2. It provides real-time hotel information
Hotel reservation software has an important role in sharing information regarding rates, availability, room inventory, events or special offers. Potential customers will have access to each resource as soon as it appears on the hotel website.
3. It provides instant confirmation
With the help of a hotel booking engine, guests will get instant confirmations of their bookings on a 24/7 basis.
4. It fastens the transaction procedures.
Because all important information is available on the hotel website, there is no need for extra emails or telephone call between hoteliers and customers. A simple click on the reserve button is enough to get you through the accommodation process.
5. It reduces the costs of marketing
With little effort, online booking software can be mixed with Internet marketing in order to maximize the income. Investing in a properly optimized hotel website is a much better alternative of sending mails or brochures to millions of potential customers. Online marketing techniques can be used in order to gain a wide segment of the targeted market. These techniques usually come with the hotel booking engines, allowing you to take full advantage of this profitable fusion.
As said before, online booking software is a central piece for any hotel that want to have gain an edge over the competition and to exponentially increase its profit. As every hotel has its own particularities, it is vital to extensively look for the booking engine that best serves your hotel.
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