Hotels have relied on OTAs to provide them with bookings and to cater to their guests’ needs. Today, hotel booking software empowers hoteliers to take control of guest relationships and cut out the middleman.
It’s estimated that direct booking will surpass OTA booking by 2023. With more guests preferring the personalised experience of booking directly with the hotel, the question you should be asking is: Can I afford not to have booking software?
Hotel booking software has evolved over the decades. This blog looks at the top 5 essential features to provide a seamless online booking experience that rivals top OTAs and what to consider when choosing software for your hotel.
5 Essential Features of Good Hotel Booking Software
1. Seamless room rate automation to maximise revenue
You’re losing out on revenue if you’re selling your hotel rooms at a fixed price, yet manually updating rates is time-consuming and leaves room for errors. That’s why you need modern booking software with yield management - a powerful revenue-generating feature.
Yield management ensures that your room rates automatically adjust with market demand. For instance, you can set a yield rule that increases your room rates by 8% if your hotel is 90% occupied and there are 0 to 3 days left before arrival. Always sell your rooms for the right price and at the right time!
2. Personalised booking experience
An important reason why hotels prefer direct bookings is it allows them to establish a relationship with the guest and grow their guest database by collecting important information about them (such as contact information and preferences).
This can help create a more personalised experience for the guest, encouraging them to come back and book directly in the future.
Tick this box with hotel booking software that includes the following functionalities:
- Auto-generated booking confirmation email with a thank you message.
- Upselling extra add-ons and services so guests can customise their stay.
- Multiple rate plans and special package deals like Valentine’s Day Packages.
- Custom discount codes.
3. Secure online payments
When a guest books through your hotel website, you must accept pre-payments or store credit card details to charge later in the guest's journey. High-performance hotel booking systems have integrated payment solutions so guests can pay via a secure gateway via debit or credit cards.
Check-out should be followed with a confirmation email that they've paid for the reservations.
4. User-friendly interface
The hotel booking system should provide your guests with all the information they need, including prices, packages, room types, add-ons, inclusions, and other details, without them having to scroll through your website or send an email for more information.
A user-friendly booking engine like RoomRaccoon allows you to integrate with your website. In addition, it accommodates international guests with multi-language functionality and a currency converter. It’s also mobile responsive to adjust to different screen sizes and can be customised to match your branding for a seamless user experience.
Avoid booking engines with complicated UX designs, as this can directly affect your conversion rate.
5. Built into your PMS
Another important consideration is whether your hotel booking engine can integrate with your existing systems like a property management system. You can now cut costs and sidestep poor connections by avoiding complex tech stacks and choosing an all-in-one solution.
What is an all-in-one hotel management system?
There are proven tools that successful hotel businesses can not operate without. They are a PMS, channel manager, and hotel booking engine, collectively known as an all-in-one hotel management system.
This solution is cost-effective and reliable as the tools are natively built to work together instead of being integrated with different underlying software.
How much do online hotel booking software costs?
The cost of hotel software is usually not “one size fits all”. Instead, it will be dependent on the size of the property. The more rooms you have, the more you will be required to pay.
However, there are still pricing fluctuations between vendors who offer customisable packages with additional features you may require, so make sure you compare prices.
With RoomRaccoon, the price can be determined by how many rooms your property has and is paid monthly – unless you select a discounted annual fee.
Not all vendors adhere to this, but the most important consideration is that there are no booking fees. This means your monthly payment will be the same no matter how successful you drive direct hotel bookings each month.
Discover a package that’s right for your property, visit RoomRaccoon's pricing scale here.
Where to find hotel booking software reviews?
When trying to find the best hotel booking software, reviews can be a helpful way to compare different options. By reading reviews from other users, you can get an idea of the pros and cons of each option, as well as what features each one offers. This can help you narrow your choices and find the best software for your needs.
Industry-specific review sites like Hotel Tech Report are the most reliable sources. Here you'll find an in-depth analysis of different software vendors, including their ease of use, return on investment, support, integration capability, and more.
You’ll also be able to filter reviews by market and read the latest news coverage about the software vendor.
Hotel booking software: Setup, training, and support
When you invest in award-winning room booking software for your hotel, you can expect a dedicated onboarding process with an implementations manager who will guide you and assist you in setting up your property. In addition, you’ll be afforded access to handy articles and videos that cover every feature you’ll be using to manage your bookings.
Having access to good customer support is essential when using any type of software, so it’s imperative that support is available in your language.
Start a free hotel booking software trial
You should choose a hotel software vendor that offers a free trial of its product. With this level of transparency, you know the software will deliver what it promises.
A free hotel booking engine trial allows you to test the software to see if it meets your needs before making a purchase. With so many options on the market, taking advantage of a free trial can help you narrow down your choices and find the right fit for your business.
RoomRaccoon offers a 14-day free trial in which you’ll have plenty of time to set up your hotel booking engine and see how you can grow your hotel's direct bookings!