Automate the booking process in an error-free way says Aditya Sanghi from Hotelogix.com.
From OTAs, social media, review media sites, Google Hotel Finder, niche travel sites to mobile apps like Hotel Tonight, the transformation in the hospitality industry has created multiple opportunities for hoteliers, but at the same time made it very complex for them to avail the benefits.
Along with technology, there has been a shift in guest behaviour. What plays on a booker’s mind is simply the level of service. The new-age guest does not mind booking a smaller hotel instead of a brand, if it provides higher levels of service.
The guest demographics have also seen a change. With new-age travellers on the rise, the demand for mobile check-ins and same day mobile-bookings have also increased. There is also expectation of quicker service.
While the online marketplaces and changing guest expectations have levelled the playing field between the smaller hotelier and the big brands, these have also created a need for hotels to look beyond in-house management systems, to keep up with the times.
The Shift to Cloud is Imperative
As all new-age opportunities for increasing reach and revenues are moving online, in-house systems in the smaller segment have hit the end of the road. In-house systems have been typically built to manage internal operations and not work with online solutions.
To take advantage of new opportunities and simplify the relationship with their corporate clients, it has become imperative for hotels to look for cloud-based property management systems that can automate the booking process in a consistently error-free manner.
Corporate bookings are and will be on the rise. The recent predictions by GBTA expect a projected growth rate of business travel in 2015 to reach $198.6 billion USD (€157B). Reaching out and working with corporates will definitely play a large role in generating revenues for hotels. So, the question is whether a hotel’s property management system provides tools for managing corporate bookings efficiently? Does it also provide attractive services that can be offered to the corporates to encourage them in building a long term relationship with the hotel?
Corporates and business clients should be offered a fully integrated self-service corporate booking platform that can give the travel manager access to the negotiated rates and packages of the hotel. A cloud-based property management system has capabilities to offer a Corporate Console for real-time management of reservations. Such a tool has many advantages like:
Convenience: The travel manager can book at any time, even at the last minute without to and fro of emails and calls.
Zero Dependencies: The travel manager does not need to depend on a particular resource at the hotel to make a booking.
Saves Time: Hotels can eliminate the administrative tasks of making reservations and taking calls from multiple corporate clients. They can spend this freed up time to build relationships with guests. Travel managers can also focus on other tasks once the booking is done via the console.
Self-Enablement: Today’s corporates enjoy self-service technology and with a travel manager that looks after all the corporate travels, a dedicated Corporate Console that can be used independently is an extremely convenient option to empower them.
Account Management: Managing the accounting for corporate bookings becomes easier for both parties with a platform that can be accessed in real-time. This increases transparency and eliminates any manual errors. Information such as Credit Terms, Credit Card Information can be captured and managed by the Corporate Booking console.
Trust Building: Strategic pricing for corporates can be streamlined and made more transparent for the corporate booker, which generates more trust and in turn results in maintaining long-term relationships and providing better service levels.
Catering to New-Age Demands: With an online tool for managing corporate bookings, hotels can leverage the shift to mobile. This will let the travel manager make bookings on-the-go using his smartphone. A cloud-based platform ensures better compatibility with the current demands.
For the hotelier, a Corporate Console that comes in-built with its property management system also impacts revenues positively as such a platform encourages confirmed bookings and long-term relationship.
Aditya Sanghi, co-founder and CEO of Hotelogix.com