A hotel reservation system is an online booking engine that allows guests to book rooms directly on the hotel's website or social media channels.
Using such a system saves valuable time, increases guest loyalty, and generates more commission-free bookings for your business.
So how does this technology work?
Let's take a look.
What is a Hotel Reservation System?
A hotel reservation system, also known as a hotel booking engine, is a computerised system that captures reservation details on a hotel's website, social media or metasearch channels like Google Hotel Ads.
The data is then passed into the property management system or reservations calendar. Other features may come with it – for example, the automation of reservation confirmation emails.
The main objective of having a hotel reservation system is to streamline the reservation process for both the guest and property, providing an easy way for properties to increase their direct bookings.
Instant rate and availability insights. No contact form.
It's not common to see a contact form on a hotel website. The outdated practice does not serve today's demand for instant gratification. Customers want quick access to information like room rates, availability for specific dates and the ability to book without help.
A reservation system shows all the necessary information about the hotel rooms, including the rates, room descriptions, amenities and bookable add-ons. Prospective guests can also pay a deposit on the spot to secure their reservation.
Why Do You Need a Reservation System?
1. Capitalise on the booming online travel market
The online travel market is growing year by year. It's estimated that 700 million people will be booking their hotel rooms online by 2023.
Without a reservation system, hotels are entirely at the mercy of OTAs — who often drive down rates for their financial gain and cut into the hotel's revenue. Or they're stuck with time-consuming manual processes that only get half the sales.
Offering an online booking platform allows hotels to keep much more revenue in-house with an automated solution that is customisable to suit their business needs.
2. Direct influence over the guest experience
While OTAs are essential sales channels, they do not influence the guest experience. They only sell rooms, which is where hotels can capitalise.
A hotel reservation system is necessary to enhance the guest experience and increase loyalty. For instance, the system stores guest details and preferences immediately. This data can be used for remarketing campaigns to encourage repeat visits.
The technology also aids in turning your website visitors into paid guests with added value like in-room extras (bottle of MCC, full body massage) for guests to book directly.
Here are more booking engine features that bolster the guest experience and improve your direct bookings:
- Discount codes: The system allows you to create special promotions for direct bookers. Add the discount code to your website's home page as an incentive.
- Booking confirmation: Customise your auto-generated emails to match your branding and tone.
- Conversion rate: Integrate with Google and Facebook to track your booking engine conversion rate and use the insights to improve your marketing efforts.
- Optimise room prices: Booking engine's like RoomRaccoon with yield management auto-adjust room prices based on demand, occupancy levels, and other market conditions.
3. Set your own booking conditions
OTAs have rules and regulations that hotels and bookers must adhere to. Luckily, with a reservation system, hotels can set their booking conditions as they prefer.
Hotels can customise booking conditions such as the maximum bookable stay, check-in and check-out times, and decide if guests must settle a pre-payment during the reservation process or later during online check-in.
They also control the information customer must provide during reservations, such as first and last names, email addresses, and payment information.
With RoomRaccoon, hotels can also block specific dates from being booked if they're hosting an event, for instance.
How long does it take to implement a new reservation system?
The set-up can be quick and effortless. All-in-one booking systems like RoomRaccoon make reservation management easy by combining a property management system into one automated platform. This means you don't have to struggle with integrating different systems. It's plug-and-play!