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How to Get More Money Without Online Travel Agencies

Digital tools help hotel owners to save money and the guests to get services of higher quality

A prevalent part of hotels rely on commercial booking platforms, known as online travel agencies (OTAs), to attract customers. By doing so, hoteliers funnel large sums into commissions and miss out on numerous revenue-driving opportunities due to a limite

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Booking in general

A lot of people around the world understand what booking services are, as they often resort to reservations when they go on a business trip or on a vacation. In this article, we give an overview of booking IT solutions for hotels that can simplify our life to a great extent. These digital tools help hotel owners to save money and the guests to get services of higher quality. So, let’s get down to business and start exploring this matter.

As we remember, booking is a process when users (guests, visitors, clients, buyers) make a reservation for products or services. There are a variety of booking systems, services and portals in the world, but we’d like to focus on online travel agencies (OTAs).

What is an OTA? This is a web application with a minimum of two user roles (a hotel administrator and a client). Clients have an opportunity to choose a hotel, book a room and, in some cases, get additional services, leave a rating and a feedback. However, the admin user role is more complex. It can include additional features and services, for instance, dashboards, different control systems, finance logic and analytics. We’ll have a closer look at them below.

General differences between the most popular hotel booking platforms

As a rule, each booking web service is intuitive and user-friendly, which provides the user with a lot of opportunities. If you are going somewhere, all you need to do is decide on a place, time frame and a number of travel companions. The rest will be done by the system that will research the market and offer the most relevant options.

Admin role (panel) usually has a more extensive functionality. There are numerous dashboards, due to which the administrator or the hotel manager can supervise and handle critical processes, for example, finance, hotel/room availability, hotel rooms loading, additional ordering services, finance redirection logic, etc. 

Economic differences

We have singled out TOP 10 OTAs of 2021 - 2022 and studied them in detail. We have found out that all platforms take different commissions, from 10% to 30% depending on the country and hotel types. For example, if you join booking services as a hotel in Germany, you’ll pay around 12%, whereas in France the fees will exceed 15%.

Client-side differences

To be honest, all regular OTAs tend to look typical and predictable, with the exception of room view pictures that usually catch the client’s eye. Unfortunately, there are no interactive features like room tours or hotel tours.

Just try to imagine that you are going to book a room for your vacation and you get the service that allows you to have not only a room tour but a hotel area tour as well. It might even be accompanied by sound effects (the surf sound, the birds singing, the waterfall sound). Technology makes it possible to create advanced client-oriented effects in order to attract a larger quantity of guests.

Drawbacks of OTAs

Hotel management needs a well-performing CRM system to сreate and maintain their client base that translates into misuse of time, human resources and money. Let’s think of a chain of actions needed to inform our previous guests about something (event, discount, etc.). We have to collect their contact information and set up certain automatic tools for messaging. So we need at least one employee to allocate his/her time to this task. Does this situation really meet your expectations in terms of productivity? How about automating this process by creating a custom hotel booking platform? Will it be the best solution? Definitely yes.

Another drawback of commercial (regular) booking services is the lack of functionality for creating and managing hotel advertising activity and prospecting. Have you found a way to influence the marketing and SEO optimization of an OTA yet? I bet you often feel as if you were kind of hostage to these booking channels. It’s time for you to get free and start taking advantage of a custom digital solution with powerful marketing tools.

Oh, by the way, if the hotel uses only commercial (regular) booking sites, how will it offer additional hotel services, like SPA, massage, hall rent, etc.? What about resort services? The same applies. There seem to be a lot of missed opportunities. As you know, the more offers we provide, the more profit we eventually get.

A further important aspect to explore is ratings and testimonials that can be found on all booking platforms. The issue here is to find an efficient way to manage them. How to get better ratings and testimonials? How can hotels work with their clients who have left bad reviews with a low ranking? Of course, it is possible to tackle these challenges by tracking negative reviews and trying to improve the situation with the client in the future. However, the procedure appears to be complicated and extremely time-consuming. Have you ever thought about automating this process in order to save time, money, and staff costs? Our solutions enable hotels to manage their testimonials more effectively and offer better services for clients.

So what conclusion can be made here? The best way to control and manage your time and money is to create a booking platform tailored to your needs.

IT solutions offered by our company and their benefits

During the last several years, our company has gained experience in creating software for the real estate business domain. We have built a lot of different features and have developed 4 projects from scratch.

We have shortlisted the most popular features for hotel booking web services and classified them into hotel management features and client features.

Hotel management features:

  1. ERP system - ERP handles all the key functions of the company, such as documents circulation, accounting, services delivery, inventory and HR. This is a global program complex (solution) for managing all business processes, starting from organization structure to task generation. It is not even necessary to schedule different meetings with employees. There is the possibility to set up personal employee dashboards with key performance indicators information.
  2. CRM system - A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is used to organize, automate and synchronize sales of the company, its marketing and customer service. This feature will help the hotel sales and marketing departments to control clients' activity and to be flexible according to the market demands.
  3. Analytics - is a web analytics service that tracks and reports traffic. This feature will help to manage and control сhanges related to marketing activities (new posts, articles, advertising activity, count ROMI - return on marketing investment, ROI - return on investment, and other different reports).
  4. Finance/economics - we create the logic for financial flows distribution, discount logic and integration of various payment systems. It depends on the hotel owner's desires and needs.
  5. Dashboards - a user interface to give a current summary of key information related to progress and performance. The summary is usually presented in a graphic and easy-to-read form.
  6. IOT - one of the best solutions in security services. This feature can even help to count how many times hotel guests open rooms.
  7. Social networks integration - allows adding social posts to the web service.

Features for the clients of hotels:

E-commerce - we have noticed that some hotels have a desire to sell certain goods or services, and have implemented E-commerce solutions, for example, a marketplace.

Discount logic - Every time we are working on the project, we offer hotel owners to implement various types of discount logic to boost the clients' loyalty. As we know, each buyer or client would appreciate getting a discount. With this logic, every client gets a discount depending on the number of visits, loyalty, or recommendations.

Economic efficiency substantiation

Let’s check how much money hotel owners can save if they use their own booking platform with additional features.

As we know, different booking services take a commission after the guests check out. This commission is around 15%. So, if the room price is 50 - 100 euros, 15% equals 7.5 - 15 euros. If we talk about a full occupancy of a 50-room hotel during the year, the commission will be 7.5 * 50 * 365 or 15*50*365. Thus, we have a commission budget ranging from 136 thousand euros to 272 thousand euros. 

However, hotel owners need around 100 thousand euros to get their custom booking service developed by our company.

What about hotel owner benefits? 

The first and the most important one - independence. 

They will have their service and they will have an opportunity to manage all marketing (from design to web app traffic). 

The second - additional channel for client traffic.

There will be more profit in case of using two different booking platforms. Here is a hypothetical situation when someone is trying to book a hotel online. One of the top search results is likely to be a commercial booking portal, but the second one could be a personal hotel booking portal. Ask yourself, how big the chance is for them to open a second link.

The third - additional hotel services.

You will have an opportunity to get more money in case of selling additional offers, such as transfers and different tours.

So what do you think about this? 

Do you find the article helpful? Are you interested in getting more information? Check out our Blog for further insight into OTA-related issues.

If you prefer making money to wasting it, contact us through LinkedIn or the website.

by Volodymyr Voloshyn

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