In this series we present you ideas of improving your companies IT – without paying a fortune for software license tools. Most of the presented solutions are based on free open source programs, combined with individual programming for the individual use case presented.
This article is about hotels, however it is worth a read also for all companies that sell products online. It is part of a series showing prototype installations – with a limited amount of time invested (a so-called “weekend-project”). If interested in more, also read Open Weekend #1 : Your own free GPS-Tracker
A nice photo / video of the Hotel as a welcoming screen…
…descriptive texts about the amendities…
…a screenshot gallery of nice pictures of the facilities…
…and finally an overview about the rooms itself.
On another detail site you can present specific features of a room type.
There are a few smaller presentation tricks that help to speed up the booking process.
Very simple but highly effective one is a counter with the number of available rooms.
Adding a guestbook site can be an option in some cases, but refrain from making this too complex. If your hotel receives good reviews on the major holiday portals : include an external link. This adds credibility.
Splitting up the data has one simple reason: If for some reason the order is not finished you still have a part of the information. Your back office can politely ask via e-mail or phone, if the potential guest has a technical problem with the website. This is sometimes the reason, but often the order gets cancelled because of a spontaneous feeling of “Lets see first if we find a better hotel for that price”. Especially for long term bookings a polite contact approach (ideally combined with a special price offer based on the length of stay) can bring you a new customer.
After you received the first contact details it is a good time to present a first confirmation screen, possbily combined with a confirmation e-mail like the one below. We will ask about payment details in the next step. We do not want to loose the customer at this point in time. A confirmation information creates obligation on the visitors end.
Credit card transfers can be processed for a small fee from external providers. Outsourcing the credit card transactions makes sense for a small hotel. A certification to process in house credit card data according to PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) makes only sense for larger hotels. Comparing the processing fees between the different payment providers however does help to safe money.
Finally, make sure that your guests receive confirmation e-mails for all relevant steps in your booking workflow.
Room management should be simple and easy to use.
At some points in time rooms need to get deactivated.
Room reallocation should be possible within a mouseclick.
An overview on a monthly basis should be included.
Most external visitors come from 3-4 larger websites. The larger websites do have an API (a way to communicate with the website over a computer language instead with a browser). Directly connecting this websites to your internal booking engine helps you to safe maintenance time and leads to more sales.
Depending on your Hotel Visitors it may be a good addition to add additional languages.
If you can afford the extra investment, link the reservation system to your invoicing software.
This is not possible with every program. some old-style cash systems are not able to communicate over the internet. If your current setup is inflexible, maybe it is time for a change. In an upcoming article I will show you how to get rid of the hardware, and use smartphones and tables for restaurant order processing.
Hotel Reservation System
Recently a client who owns a small hotel chain in Germany had plans to renovate the hotel reservation system. His old software reached the end of the life. He asked me what things need to be considered for a revamp of both his online presence and his reservation system.
In preparation to the meeting I set up a small online demo, to show some features that are possible. This article sums up the most important key points.