If you only book hotels occasionally, chances are your main concerns are location and price. But when you’re constantly searching for lodging, as travel managers do, you need a tool that does the heavy lifting so you can focus on other things.
Hotel booking engines are designed to streamline finding, choosing, and booking a hotel. But they’re not all the same. While they all get you to your final destination (making reservations online), things like hotel options, prices, and user-friendly options vary.
With so many software solutions catering to the hotel booking business, how do you know which one to use? The key is finding the features you need, particularly when dealing with corporate travel management. The corporate hospitality industry has skyrocketed, changing how the overall lodging experience looks today, as discussed in this article by Hotel Engine.
Whether you’re looking for personal hotel bookings or trying to find someplace for your employees to stay, one thing is for sure. You must know what you need to have to make your job easier and find a hotel booking tool that includes these essential features.
When you open the booking software, you want to know exactly what you’re doing without searching for the “help” section. Essentially, you’re shopping for a hotel, and it should be simple to find what you’re looking for, pay, and leave.
The whole experience, from start to finish, should be user-friendly. Plugging in dates and locations, adding filters for specific requirements, and reviewing rooms must be seamless. When it’s time to pay, checkout should be straightforward, without added fees and complicated extra steps.
This minimalistic approach must extend to the mobile version of the platform, too. Studies show that smartphones make up over 87% of e-commerce sales (known as m-commerce), and those numbers are continually on the rise.
If it’s too complicated or cumbersome, many potential guests will leave the website and abandon their “cart,” off to search for greener pastures and easier booking platforms.
2. Personalized Options
Repetitive shopping is easier when the booking tool can predict what you’re looking for. Hotel booking tools that collect cookies and recognize your search patterns aren’t scary. They’re helpful and can save you significant time and money.
You see personalization everywhere as you visit online sites and then start seeing ads geared toward your searches. Why not enable those trackers to do the hard work for you and find you deals on lodging accommodations?
Your hotel booking engine should recognize your preferred destinations, price range selections, chains or boutiques of choice, and other patterns. Depending on your preferences, the program can offer suggestions, let you know when deals are on the horizon for your favorite hotels, or give you tips about the best times to book.
3. Discounted Rates and Promotions
Speaking of the best prices, your hotel booking tool should be chock full of discounted rates and promotions.
Let’s face it. Amenities are great, and they can be the deciding point between two similarly-priced hotels. But the final cost is ultimately the most important factor for most people. Even if you’re a travel manager or business owner, you’re looking to make a profit. If you can get a high-quality hotel at a discounted price, it’s a win.
Your hotel booking tool must partner with a variety of hotel chains and standalone lodging. This way, you’ll have the widest variety of discounts and promo codes possible. Special rates for customers can vary based on factors like whether they’re using a conference center, booking multiple rooms, or using a travel agent.
4. Multiple Payment Method Options
When it’s time to check out, the new rates should seamlessly apply to the final price. This brings us to the last feature to look for: the payment methods.
How do you prefer to pay when you book a hotel? The tool you choose should include that method. One way many travel managers save time is by using virtual credit cards. Their travelers can book the hotel and use a virtual card to pay for it, so the business covers the expense but doesn’t share its sensitive data with its employees.
Consider your preferred method of payment and whether the booking tool allows that option. If it doesn’t, and you’re not willing to use the payment methods they do provide, you might want to keep looking.
The hospitality industry is a global one, and many services are trying to compete for your business, including booking tools.
Don’t settle for a program that gives you some of what you need but isn’t quite perfect. Keep searching until you find the tool that includes all of these features, plus those that fit your unique preferences.