The booking engine is one of the most important parts of your business.
The booking engine allows your potential customers to make direct purchases or direct bookings on your website eliminating the need for an intermediary. So, it is important to consider all the key requirements before making any final decision about which Booking Engine is best for you, thus avoiding any incompatibly with your business model and also help you consider any future issues that may arise from your decision.
What to consider when looking at Booking engines:
The first thing to take into consideration is that the software needs to be able to adapt to the changing needs of your business, you need to ask yourself, is it able to show data of interest such as, in case of a hotel: the property features, number of rooms…
What is more, you must remember that the travel sector is ever-changing and the needs of yesterday might not the needs of tomorrow, the booking engine you choose has to be flexible enough to adapt quickly and without any unnecessary complications.
-Cross-selling and up-selling:
A good example of the specific needs of the travel sector is Cross- selling and Up-selling, complementary services, which can be added to improve and increase your revenue.
Cross-selling is the sale of services or additional goods charged at an additional low rate such as: offer on a breakfast deal or a spa treatment (in case of a hotel).
Up-selling is focused on providing a bit more for value for the customer’s money. For example, an upgrade to a premium room for a few euro more. However, if this strategy is not implemented efficiently the ROI will be too low.
These offers are updated on a regular basis depending on the strategy you would like to implement, so it is imperative that whatever software you acquire is both adaptable, flexible and easy to use.
Make sure that your Booking engine has an integrated channel manager that is connected to the most important OTAs or your main service providers, this will allow you to centrally manage your booking engine.
Third party tags and pixels:
Once you have acquired your Booking engine, you will want to start your marketing campaigns, this will also include following-up upon the success of the campaigns, therefore you must ensure that you can easily include conversion/third-party tracking pixels in your engine to facilitate this process thus, allowing you try different suppliers/channels, therefore, optimizing your investment.
Importantly, any Booking engine must be properly integrated with Google Tag Manager or have its own third-party Tag management system.
Before making your final decision, it is imperative that you make sure the booking engine provider offers 24-hour technical support seven days a week. To make the most of your investment you need to be online 24 hours a day. You cannot afford to have any operating errors as the Booking engine is your primary monetization tool, if it is unavailable for any technical reason you may lose precious revenue.
By taking these key requirements into account, you can decide which is the most suitable booking engine to invest in, but once the decision is made, we recommend performing the following 2 final steps:
Test your Booking Engine:
Test your booking engine on various independent users, those who are not part of your company and who can provide you with honest and unbiased feedback. You really need to experiment and run acceptance tests to make sure your candidate engine is truly the easiest and most comprehensive solution for your company. By running user tests, you will be able to iron out any difficulties before you go live.
Even if your test results are fine, and no unforeseen problems arise, we advise you to monitor the performance of your chosen booking engine for a couple of months after initial deployment, this will allow you to adjust the design or parameters, if needed. As mentioned previously, your company’s requirements are evolving and therefore, your Booking Engine must be able to adapt to your ever-changing business needs.