The Importance Of Real Time Reservations Via Your Website
Are you currently taking reservations through your website?
If not, it’s something to consider as studies show that hotels offering online booking book more rooms on a regular basis.
Real time booking offers you several benefits. It allows your customers to book at their leisure at any time of day or night and get immediate confirmation of their reservations. Real time booking allows you freedom from the telephone and multiple daily inquiries.
In this article, we’re going to look at the importance of real time reservations via your website. Let’s first look at a few more of the benefits.
Provide Customer Service
Offering real time reservations on your website makes perfect sense from a customer service standpoint.
When you use a reservation system, you provide your customers with speed, reliability and all the information they need right at their fingertips. (tweet this)
You meet their needs before they even knew they had them!
Make Easy Updates
When you use a reservation system on your website that operates in real time, your availability is always up-to-date. This makes it easy for your customers to see what’s available.
You can also easily update prices or room information immediately on your own, thus providing your customers with the most reliable information.
You are a busy hotel manager or owner, so it doesn’t make sense for you to waste your time on the phone answering questions and making reservations.
With a real time reservation system on your website, your guests can do it all on their own. Plus, you don’t have to stay on top of email communications and exchanges, and your system sends out confirmations automatically.
There are no reservations to be processed. Your guest hits your website, checks availability, books a room, pays and gets a confirmation email, all without you lifting a finger.
Here are some of the things your real reservation system can do to save you time:
- Automatically ensures rooms are booked only if they are available.
- Gets all of your customer’s information at the time of booking. You don’t have to chase it down.
- Sends out an automatic confirmation email at the time of reservation and a reminder email before the stay.
- Updates your property’s availability online in real time.
Your Customers Expect It
Virtually anything can be done online these days. Travelers expect access to an online booking system, and if you don’t offer one, you could be missing out on reservations.
It’s essential that you have a system in place so your property isn’t overlooked.
Your customers also want to know immediately whether you have availability when they want it. Real time bookings allow them to see your availability at any time of the day or night they decide to visit your website.
If they really want to book your property and see at noon that you are sold out, with real time booking, they can come back at midnight and see you just had a room open up.
Your patrons also appreciate the ability to hand over their credit card online and not have to worry about it again once they arrive at your hotel.
Real time reservations via your website means you’re open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (tweet this) You never miss a customer.
No one has to wait to make a reservation at your property or remember to call back in the morning. You don’t have messages to return.
You also have less of a chance of losing a reservation because you were closed for the evening. Online booking means you have a reservation “agent” available all day and night.
You also get your money quicker with online, secure payment options.
No Commission to Pay
Hosting real time reservations on your website means you take the reservations. You don’t have to hire a third party to do your booking for you.
And, this means you don’t pay a commission to a third party.
Assists with Marketing
Because your reservation system gathers all of your customer’s information at the time of their online booking, you now have the details needed to market to them again in the future.
Repeat customers are great for business, and your reservation system provides this added value.
Your online system also allows you the opportunity to up sell. For example, at the time of booking, the system can offer an upgraded room and meal package or some other extra.
This takes the stress off of you and lets the system do the selling for you.
You can also offer discount codes and other specials through your reservation system, giving your marketing an added punch.
How to Choose an Online Reservation System
Picking the right real time reservations system is important. Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for:
- What do you need? Does the system have the components you’re looking for? Make sure the system can grow with you.
- Talk to your peers. Do they use it and/or like it?
- How long has the software been on the market? Check out reviews.
- Is there support offered? Is it offered 24/7? This is an important item.
- Ask to participate in a demo. Do you like the checkout flow? Is it intuitive?
- Is the back-end software easy to use, or is there are large learning curve?
- Can you offer promo codes using it?
- What is the confirmation email system like? Will integrate with your email service provider?
- What does the reporting look like? It is easily understandable?
Be thorough when considering your real time reservations system.
All the big hotels are doing it. That’s right, you can bet all of the chain hotels are utilizing real time reservations via their website, and it’s paying off.
Since you probably realize by now that the Internet is valuable for your business, and your website is integral to your success, why not use it to your advantage?
Give your hotel or bed and breakfast the same earning potential as the big hotels. Add a real time reservation system via your website today and watch the reservations seamlessly roll in.
Do you have a website with the ability to take real time reservations? If not, we can help!
At Hotel Propeller, we build functional, beautiful websites. You’ll find everything you need to attract guests to your website through your email marketing. Take a look at our showcase and contact us today.
Images: Vita Vilcina and Fabio Issau
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