No traveler today prefers a circuitous approach to booking a hotel of his choice. If given an option, the new-age traveler would like to manage his accommodation and trip planning directly, with limited dependency on anyone. To cater to the rise of such travelers and the millennials, all OTAs (both popular and unpopular), TripAdvisor and other travel sites have their own mobile applications. The growing trend of travel and accommodation searches on the smartphone is also a key contributor to the need for offering a mobile platform to travelers and guests.
As per Criteo’s travel flash report, for the first 6 months of 2014, over 40% of Americans booked travel reservations on mobile, up by 20% during the same period last year. Apartment rental bookings through mobile are now 30% globally (thanks to Airbnb?). With everything available on the handy smartphone, the travelers prefer first searching through various options and deals on mobile and then go through the website, pictures and reviews of the shortlisted hotels.
So, where does that leave a hotel that does not yet have an online booking engine which is mobile optimized? In most probability, it leaves the guest who is trying to book directly on the hotel’s website feel encumbered. The guest will most likely abandon the booking or choose to book through the OTAs. In both cases, the hotel faces loss in varying degrees.
For a smart hotelier, mobile technology cannot be ignored. Resisting changes now will only result inthe competition taking advantage. The good news is that getting the technology is easy and just a click away. Most cloud based property management systems offer a fully mobile-optimized booking engine. Hotelogix is one such Cloud PMS. Some of the interesting features of the Hotelogix mobile booking engine are:
– Customizable booking engine that easily adapts to the hotel’s website
– Personalized login for guests to manage their bookings and send special requests to the hotel
– Automated confirmation and cancellation emails, personalized with the hotel’s logo and policies, with additional offers and promotions
– Automatic tracking of tasks like airport transfer and payment due date as per hotel’s policies
– Displays pictures of the hotel and rooms, lists amenities and other information
– Offers promotions by way of packages and discounts on the booking engine
– Offers add-ons to the bookings like Wi-Fi, airport transfer or cleaning services
– Can be integrated with TripConnect for increasing direct bookings
– Easily integrates with Facebook and enables bookings for guests on social network
Another interesting statistics is on the last-minute booker. Recent data from Hotels.com shows that 50 percent of travelers book via mobile devices for last-minute or next-day stays, proving another area where a mobile optimized booking engine can give an edge to the hotel.
Every hotelier knows how much a hotel’s website can contribute towards the revenue. Not having an online and mobile presence with an online marketing strategy in place is a deterrent in a hotel’s profitability and growth. A bad experience online lowers the probability of the traveler selecting the hotel, as there is no dearth of hotels available online trying their best to woo the traveler. Losing reservations due to the lack of mobile-friendly presence of your booking channel is almost an inexcusable lapse in the sales and marketing strategy. With cloud based property management systems, getting a booking engine that will allow your guest to make a booking on-the-go will greatly benefit your and make a great impression on your potential guest.