Each day the hotel sector faces new challenges, many of which derive from the natural evolution of the business, influenced by the involvement of technology in each and every area.
NB This is a guest article by Enrique Moré, chief operating officer for Roiback, part of Hotelbeds Group.
One of the most complicated challenges faced by hoteliers is getting the consumer to book their accommodation directly on their official hotel website. Having a direct channel that is intuitive and efficient is essential for hoteliers, as it offers them up to three times higher profitability than selling their product through other channels.
The key to users spending more time on the site is a positive navigation experience. Therefore, a large part of reservation success through the hotel’s own website depends on the capacity of the booking engine to influence visitor buying behaviour.
Some of the key factors in getting the user to finalise their purchase on the hotel’s website are:
- having an intuitive website
- the correct management of databases
- simplification of the booking process
The success or failure in terms of conversion depends on managing and optimising all these variables.
Usability and the omni-device reservation cycle
The way users make reservations has changed completely, and often various devices are used during the process: a guest could start on a smartphone, swap to a tablet before the reservation is completed on a laptop.
Due to this trend towards using multiple devices, more and more companies in the sector have decided to use a responsive design in their websites. This is the most efficient and effective solution for technically managing different needs and requirements in the direct sales channel.
To achieve a good conversion rate and ensure that a user navigates with ease regardless of the device they use, optimisation of the channel is crucial, as a client using a smartphone is not necessarily looking for the same information as a client using a laptop.
Mobility and geolocation
Another key factor in increasing direct sales is mobility and location, one of the most important emerging trends for the hotel industry to tackle.
Knowing where a user is located, and where they are travelling to, can help increase reservations, but many hotel chains still do not have the appropriate systems to capture the potential that this offers.
Something as simple as adapting mobile websites/apps to show users personalised content according to their location can strongly influence their decision to buy direct.
Intuitive websites: making the user experience easier
If the website does not offer users access to relevant information in a few seconds, the hotelier risks having high dropout rates, pushing the client into the arms of the competition or to other distribution channels. A web environment that gives consumers an easy navigation experience, that is intuitive and focused at all times on completing the booking, is a must for hoteliers.
The key to success is creating websites with well-organised content and imagery that offers users the best experience possible.
CRS: a tool for hotels
Finally, the CRS (central reservation system) is a crucial tool for the efficient management of hotel reservations. The system must be intuitive and adaptable to the various hotel business models with an architecture that permits adding on regular technical improvements in order to adapt to new commercial trends.
Taking advantage of all the possibilities technology offers increases a hotelier’s opportunity to channel a greater number of direct sales.
NB1 This is a guest article by Enrique Moré, chief operating officer for Roiback, part of Hotelbeds Group. It appears here as part of Tnooz's sponsored content initiative.
NB2Image by Shutterstock