Real-time bookings have never been more important if you want to compete in the modern travel world. These types of bookings are a win-win for both you and your customers, allowing your potential guests to book from anywhere at any time of the day, and freeing up your front desk to provide better service to the guests already staying with you because they no longer have to manage monotonous manual reservation tasks.
Other benefits for your hotel include more operational efficiency, decreased expenses for human resources, and convenience, among others. Keep reading to find out the top six reasons why your hotel should manage online real-time bookings.
Why should your hotel manage online real-time bookings?
There are many reasons why your hotel should manage online real-time bookings, which we will look at in further detail below. It’s also important to consider that before you implement live bookings on your website, it’s fundamental to have a reservation management software in place that can handle this surge in direct bookings.
The right software will allow you to take care of room assignment, billing, manage groups, and to intuitively manage all the reservations as they come in. It is key to have all this in place before implementing any strategy aimed at promoting real-time reservations in order to ensure the success and profitability of your hotel. Now, let’s look at some reasons why you should consider implementing online bookings.
To put it simply, enabling your website to accept direct bookings is more convenient. Plus, if you have software for managing reservations, your reservations will automatically sync up from your different channels so that you no longer have to manually input reservations as they come in over the phone. This also reduces the chance of manual errors.
In addition, availability is immediately updated when rooms are booked, thus making it easy for your hotel to update its prices based on live availability, and to avoid double bookings.
Increased operational efficiency
Real-time bookings are not only more convenient, but they also lead to increased operational efficiency. You can rely on your reservation software to automatically sync reservations across channels, freeing up your front desk to provide better service, instead of dealing with manually inputting reservations.
Increased operational efficiency is also achieved because since guests input their own data, you no longer have to waste resources tracking down missing information or if any details are wrongly entered in the system. All the information is readily available, including their payment method of choice, which saves time and resources after the fact.
Read more about key strategies behind reducing operating costs.
Decreased expenses for human resources
This type of bookings also help decrease expenses on human resources because you no longer have to have a dedicated staff member to answer inquiries about availability because it’s updated as rooms are booked. Furthermore, since you can have your website available in a variety of languages, this also means you don’t have to have dedicated multilingual staff to answer the phone.
Multilingual staff are harder to come by and may require higher salaries, but with guests managing their own reservations online, multilingual staff are no longer essential. Plus, guests are able to book at any time of the day, so you also don’t need to have someone managing the front desk 24/7. Decreased expenses for human resources is key to increasing your hotel’s bottom line.
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Better customer service
When guests are able to book their stays based on live availability, and not rely on your front desk to handle their queries and make reservations, this frees up time for your staff to focus on other more important tasks. Plus, you can automate the communications you normally send out, instead of your staff having to personalize each email.
When your staff is not spread thin trying to keep on top of the daily operations and manual processes, they are happier, and happy staff translates into better customer service. Read more about how to build and manage the perfect staff. The more time your staff dedicate to your guests, the more likely they are to turn into loyal guests, and loyalty is one of the keys to profitability.
Being competitive is about providing a service that customers have come to expect, like being able to book in real time, from anywhere at any time of the day. With the world going more in the direction of instant gratification, having to fill out a form online and wait to find out if there is availability adds more steps, which can lead to decreased conversion rates.
In order to maximize the chances that a customer books, you should make the booking process as easy as possible with as few steps as possible. A fast and easy hotel booking engine helps distinguish your hotel from the competition and encourage guests to book at your hotel instead of the competition.
By allowing live reservations, you can say goodbye to commissions because you no longer have to rely on third party booking sites for guests to be able to book. This means that your hotel gets more profit per booking. Plus, you can also save money on marketing by adding in an opt-in button for marketing communications at the time of reserving. This means that you will have your guest's contact information readily available for future marketing campaigns.
With your own booking system, you also have more chances for upselling, which is key to profitability. You can provide opportunities for room upgrades, extra services, and meal packages like half board or full board, taking off the pressure of your staff to upsell. You can also offer discounts and specials that allow you to set yourself apart from the competition, and can encourage guests to book at your hotel.
In this article, we’ve looked at the benefits of managing real-time reservations in your hotel. Allowing guests to book online directly from your website is more convenient, saves time, decreases expenses, and allows you to stay competitive while at the same time allowing you to provide the best customer service possible.
Real-time reservations are perhaps one of the easiest ways to increase profitability through upselling, paying less commission to third party reservation sites and making marketing easier. When considering whether to implement this possibility on your hotel’s website, it’s without a doubt a no-brainer. Just make sure you have the reservation software to support you and to make your operations seamless.
Eva Lacalle | 20 May 2022
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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