Last updated on April 11th, 2019 at 05:35 am
Unlike the earlier times when booking a hotel room was a tedious job for the guest and one has to put a lot of effort behind that, whereas in today’s time it is a just a matter of few clicks or few calls/ e-mails etc.
As stated above there are many ways of making a hotel reservation or in a other way a hotel gets booking inflow from various sources. There are two main broadly distinguished sources as:
- Online sources
- Offline sources
Any booking flowing through any online source is termed as online booking there are many online sources which a hotel manages these online sources are further divided into two parts i.e
Direct Online Source:
A direct online source means where the entire booking journey is been between hotel and the customer and no other online aggregator is been involved as for eg. The booking coming through hotel website using its booking engine as in this case the customer has directly approached the hotel for his reservation through its booking engine and no other aggregator company is not been involved. For example.
If Rohit wants to book a room in hotel Capitol in Bangalore and he does a little bit of price research on various platforms and comes across the direct rates offered by Hotel Capitol on their website and decides to book it directly from there and he goes to their website and books the room through their booking engine in this entire process there has been no intervention from any of the aggregators. So, this is termed as direct online source.
Indirect Online Source:
Indirect online booking source is a booking where the booking generation source is from an aggregator or from some third party online booking platforms and against which the hotels need to pay a hefty amount of commission to the service provider.
Broadly speaking there are three main sources of indirect online bookings.
- OTA’s (Online travel agents)
- Meta – search engines
As in today’s era, the main chunk of hotel business is dependent on the online travel agents as nowadays almost everybody finds it much easier to find a suitable hotel and in their budget and on top of it you can book your choice of hotel in just a few clicks.
In today’s time, more than 70% of business is generated by these online travel agents thus it also makes it just mandatory for a hotel list themselves in as many as online travel agents platforms to gain maximum visibility and stand a better chance to get a converted booking per hits. To give an example of an OTA booking is as follows.
Let’s consider the same above example where Rohit needs to book a hotel room in Bangalore he has the option of checking it in various booking platforms as MMT, booking.com, clear trip, agoda etc. these are ota or online travel agents now if Rohit decides to book his hotel room from any of these platforms, to say from booking.com then the booking of Rohit will be pushed to the hotel by booking.com and the hotel will have to pay a commission to booking.com against this service or booking.
Now meta-search engines are a pool of database which it fetches from the entire search engine and whenever as a user one inputs its search query it compiles all its data and gives the result pertaining to your search as it is done in TripAdvisor and Google hotel ads. For eg. Whenever we as a user enters any hotel name in trip advisor we get all the rates in various platforms and even on its direct website etc under single window and we can choose to book from any of the options, the booking generating source in case to such booking is TripAdvisor thus, such bookings will be considered under meta-search engines.
There are various ways through which a booking can flow in, in case of offline sources. As any booking which takes place where manual intervention is required in every step is termed as offline source. To name few sources of offline booking can be through a random phone call as there are many instances where a hotel reservation centre receives many enquiry calls in a day from a direct customer asking about the room availability and best offers etc. so, any enquiry that gets materialized from such calls can be termed as offline booking. Similarly, the case can be taken for enquiry emails and most general or major share of offline booking comes from offline travel agent or from destination management companies.
Now, the above stated shows as there are many ways through which a customer can book a hotel room at its ease and comfort but at the same time it overhauls with excessive work load for hotel reservation staff as it makes the entire hotel reservation process very complex and it increases the scope of errors in overall operation thus, to eliminate the errors and to address the entire hotel reservation system working in a more effective and error free manner the hotels need a helping device or a hotel reservation software to work in eliminating the work duplication bring down the complexity of the entire hotel reservation process to its simplest form.
As every hotel has a limited number of room inventory and for reservation personal it becomes very difficult to manage entire hotel reservation process with such a diverse set of sources in an error-free manner. Thus, the hotel reservation software played a major role in the smooth operation of the hotel reservation system working but by the advent of time the traditional hotel reservation software’s were unable to address the need of bridging the gap with the online channels thus, to bring in the smooth integration with all the online sources in order to synchronize the entire hotel reservation system working in sync with the actual inventory status Thus, came into existence as in modern days cloud-based hotel reservation software which comes with integrated channel manager to bridge the gap with the online sources and was able to integrate with other sources as well and enabling the hotel reservation process operate smoothly.
As it had addressed the major pain points of the hotel reservation system working and helped in simplifying the hotel reservation process, some of the major advantages are as listed below.
Real time Inventory Updation with Online Channels
As compared with earlier times where a reservation personnel has to update its inventory every time there is a booking update with all the OTA’s going to their extranet individually which consumes a lot of their time and it increases work duplication and also the margin of errors which may result into over-booking or under-booking situation.
Whereas, the channel manager fetches the live inventory from the hotel CRS and pushes them to all the OTA’s extranet simultaneously and updates it automatically every time there is a change in inventory status.
This automates the inventory management process to a large extent and saves a lot of time of the reservation personnel and helps them to focus more on customer service delivery and in fine-tuning the hotel reservation system working.
Accurate Secretion of Booking Source
Also, in earlier times it was a very difficult job for the hotels to distinguish between various sources and to identify the source for a particular booking was very difficult but a cloud-based hotel operation system addressed it and as with every online booking the system also registers the source of the booking and the same can be generated in a report form, it simplified the reporting task within the hotel reservation process.
Easy to Use
Also, the cloud-based hotel reservation software is very easy to use as it has a user friendly interface this allows the reservation personal in fast processing of the reservation system and helps in swift delivery of the services.
Centralized reservation Monitoring
A cloud-based software enables the hotel to manage all its reservation coming from any source from a single system this enables the hotel that all the reservation falls under one place which gives a better understanding of the inventory position and gives the scope to reservation manager to play with available inventory in order to generate more revenue as it enables the reservation manager to overview the entire reservation system working from a single dashboard.
It allows to integrate with other ancillary systems and enables to manage the entire operation under the single system which allows the hotel management to enforce centralized monitoring and can take timely corrective action in case of any deviation from the desired goal path.
It helps in establishing better interdepartmental co-ordination as it facilitates to integrate all the major department and with one another for better information flow and helps in service standards upliftments that gives a positive feel in the minds of the customer and helps in providing a better stay experience for the guest which in-turn helps in spreading positive word of mouth in the market which helps in boosting the company goodwill.
Thus, all the above points have helped the hotels to manage the modern time complex hotel reservation system in bringing it down to its simplest form.