Your booking engine has a lot more going on under the hood than you might imagine. Specifically, it has a huge amount of useable data. Broken down properly, that data can be used to give your direct bookings a strong boost.
Online bookings are essential to driving hotel revenue – in 2016, nearly half of all hotel bookings in Europe came through online channels. With OTA commissions so high, many hotels know that their own website booking engines are key to bringing in bookings with profits. Even with marketing costs, direct bookings are less expensive than other online channels.
However, your booking engine is more than a simple funnel for bookings – it gathers tons of data, which you can use to improve your revenue strategy and give yourself an edge. Extract the data, apply the information, and watch the benefits roll in.
So, how can you unlock that competitive edge? Here’s 6 approaches to breaking down the data into something you can use to drive direct bookings.
6 Ways to Use Your Booking Engine Data
First and foremost, your booking engine is how you let your guests search for availability and book directly on your hotel website. The more intuitive to use and guest-friendly your engine is, the more conversions you’ll gather.
Your booking engine works for you through:
- Direct hotel website
- Your hotel mobile website
- Completing meta search bookings
- Social media sites like Facebook that facilitate direct bookings
That’s the obvious purpose of your booking engine. Behind the curtain, though, it lets you gather important guest information—especially contact information, which you can use to connect with guests and encourage higher value, repeated conversions.
Importantly, you’ll also get information on stay dates, inventory types booked, and other key information. This is just the tip of information iceberg available to you.
Your booking engine is a gold mine of information: dig deep and get demand patterns, lead time information, search patterns, customer insights and, ultimately, more conversions.
To get usable insights out of the massive amounts of data in your booking engine, you need to integrate it with your demand forecasting and sales strategy, where it can enhance forecasting performance and conversions.
To integrate this data, take a look at it after you’ve dug it up: how can tariff lead times tell you when to offer your Christmas packages? What does your geographic information tell you—how much should you be catering to American guests rather than Irish ones, and how can you appeal to both?
This may sound daunting, but the best way to boost direct conversions is your booking engine and the data it offers you. You’ll get insight into how your guests behave, what they want and the best ways to give it to them.
Here are some ways that your sales people, marketers and revenue managers can use this data: