Hotel companies were early adopters of the internet as a retail marketplace to reach consumers. As a flood of hotel inventory became available online, it seemed like a natural progression for the online hotel marketplace to shift away from individual hotel websites to aggregators of hotel content. The hotel reservation software used by these aggregators can provide a vast amount of hotel content that includes large hotel chains as well as smaller boutique hotel specific to a region. Unfortunately, however, the technology initially used did not provide a good way for hotels to promote a specific hotel property’s unique characteristics, resulting in price & availability ruling the display.
As the larger hotel companies began to develop their own online hotel reservation software, many included detailed descriptions as well as pictures of the actual hotel property and later virtual tours to showcase everything a specific hotel location offers. For the first time, consumers were able to actually able to access pictures of the different types of rooms available, the hotels’ public spaces such as the gym or restaurant, providing a good idea of whether or not a specific hotel was the right fit.
This became a huge advantage for those hoteliers looking to capitalize on an emerging trend where consumers sought more than just a hotel room at the lowest price and were demanding more. Some were seeking a luxury travel experience while others had more complicated requirements requiring the personalized attention that only a professional travel agent could provide. Many travel agencies and consortia groups quickly embraced this trend and now provide their customers access to special features and amenities along with a hotel booking.
This requires hotel reservation software that can identify a particular VIP guest and provide the details of any special offers included. For example, as more hotels offer unique amenities for preferred guests such as free internet or access to concierge-level lounges, a hotel booking engine needs to make sure this information included in the display and is sent along with the reservation informing the hotel property. Hotel booking engines have kept pace with this trend and now provide access to many of these unique perks at the time of booking.
If you are just getting started, you’ll need to identify the content your customers look for the most and then some quick research on content source options to help you find the right source. Once you have identified the content providers that match your client’s requirements, a good technology partner can help you automate the content as well as any include amenities so you can offer it all online. Planning or changing travel plans are no exception, so your online hotel reservation software needs to support these features and benefits not only during the research and shopping process but the entire booking process as well. Finding the right hotel booking engine to serve your customer’s needs is a critical decision for your business. Finding the right technology company to partner with can be even more important.