It is well known that online travel agencies (OTAs) are widely used by hotels as part of a diversified distribution strategy.
The challenge, however, for independent hotels is that they are often in competition with their very partners – third party distribution sites – who are able to invest millions of dollars on advertising and enhancing their online experience.
While global reach is only really achievable through a tightly integrated partnership with OTAs or a substantial marketing budget, independent hotels may overlook the importance of direct online channels as part of their distribution.
An online booking engine should be at the heart of any hotelier’s direct booking strategy, allowing hoteliers to secure more online direct reservations with minimal effort. This clever piece of technology plugs into the hotel’s existing website CMS and business Facebook page, transforming Brand.com into a revenue generating machine.
Guests value the convenience that online booking engines give them. Instead of having to wait for hoteliers to take their calls or respond to their emails, with integrated technology, guests can quickly check availability, book and confirm their stays.
A barrier to booking is the issue of sensitive data in the payment process. Travellers today are familiar with online booking, entering credit card details into a secure booking form, and usually feel more comfortable with this process rather than providing their details over the phone or email.
An online reservation system should deliver a professional payment process, be PCI DSS compliant and make sure each guests’ sensitive data is safe from hackers.