Nowadays, an Online Booking Engine is of great importance. It can bring you many advantages, and it’s often one of the first points of contact with your guests. That’s why it’s essential to pick the right Online Booking Engine for your hotel. The hotel industry offers so many solutions, so how do you choose one? This article provides you with more clarity on this.
What is an Online Booking Engine?
An Online Booking Engine (OBE) or Internet Booking Engine (IBE) is a booking tool that is placed on the hotel’s website so that guests can make reservations directly with the hotel.
Read more: What is an OBE (Booking Engine) for hotels?
Why do I need an Online Booking Engine?
A hotel website is not complete without a good booking engine. You might think an Online Booking Engine is similar to other Online Travel Agencies your property is connected to, but that’s not true. An OBE gives you an advantage because you don’t have to pay any commission (in most cases). Your reservations are made directly via your hotel website, making it possible to add value to the booking.
What functionalities should the Online Booking Engine have?
There are many Online Booking Engine’s available, so it’s essential to select what functionalities it should at least consist of. Wishes may vary from hotel to hotel, but make sure the OBE you choose ticks the following boxes at least:
- It’s available in multiple currencies
- It has a direct connection to your channel manager (or via a PMS)
- It’s possible to book a room via mobile, tablet and PC
- It can be customised to the branding of your hotel
- It has reporting functionalities
- It has online payment options
- It is commission-free
- It has upsell and promotional options
- It’s possible to automate email communication
Also useful: More direct bookings on your hotel website through marketing psychology
What else should you think of?
You want it to make it as easy as possible to book a room, and that first impression is incredibly important. Whilst the list above is quite a list to go through, the guests’ journey from start to finish is key.
Simple and easy to use
The OBE should be user-friendly. Make sure to ask for some demo’s, so you can give the OBE a try yourself. Imagine you’re a guest, and try to compare rooms, click through them, and see for yourself what the last few steps (confirmation and payment) look like. If you have trouble getting through the process, then it might be difficult for your customers as well.
Customer support quality
Who’s behind the Online Booking Engine, and what does their support look like? Ideally, it’s the same support team as your channel manager (or whichever system you already use). Note down your expectations of support: what is their average response time, do they use a ticketing system, and do they expect self-sufficiency from your side?
Budget to spend
What budget do you have available for the Online Booking Engine? Costs may vary, so make sure to ask the provider for a price estimation. Sometimes it’s interesting to choose a package, such as a channel manager that includes the booking engine.
Check the pricing of the Smart Booking Engine.
So, now you’ve got the information to start selecting OBE’s to your liking. Please make a list, compare the providers and don’t be shy: have a chat with each of them.
Did you know that SmartHOTEL has an Online Booking Engine available too? You can try the OBE yourself, to decide if this is an option to add to your list. Do you want more information? Give us a call or check out our informative web page: Smart Booking Engine.
For more than 16 years, SmartHOTEL has been helping hoteliers navigate the exciting world of online distribution. From our office based in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, our team serves independent hotels, hostels and chains worldwide by providing channel management and tailored online distribution solutions. A lot has changed over the last years, but our goal remains the same: simply connect hotels to the world. For any questions regarding our services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 (0)182 75 11 18.