Today, most hotels have their own websites, but do not know how to leverage it to increase their online bookings easily. Is there a way to do this efficiently without opting for tie-ups with third party websites?
We need to be conscious of some facts with respect to smart phones and internet penetration in India. There are over 100 crore mobile phones with 93.4 crore active users, as of April 2016. The smart phone usage is still only about 25 per cent (approximately 25 crore earlier this year). This number is growing fast on a month-on-month basis.Combine this with the growing access to high speed wireless broadband. There is massive scope for companies to improve on their ecommerce and online sales, especially given the ambitious plans of major telecom players for data penetration and growth!In light of the penetration and growth of smart phones and high speed internet, enabling online booking for any business is mandatory. The key to getting bookings directly is to provide the option to visitors to book online, so an internet booking engine (IBE) integrated to the hotel's website is essential.Majority of hotels in 3-star category already have an IBE integrated to their website. But many budget hotels do not have IBE or even a mobile / responsive website.
The first step for hotels of all categories is to make their website responsive and get an IBE integrated with updated inventory. The second step is to ensure that the hotels keep in touch existing customers and provide them with offers. This can be done via regular emails or updates via social media like Facebook, Google+, etc. For hotels and groups with a marketing budget, Google adwords is a good option to ensure instant visibility on search.
Most hotels in India opt to take an advance payment, so integrating the IBE with merchant account is mandatory. Major payment gateways nowadays provide merchant account with zero initial set-up cost. In western countries, the hotels take the card number during the booking process and block the funds but don't take advance money for the stay.Tie-ups with third party websites cannot and should not be avoided or ignored due to their marketing reach and also visibility on Google, both organic and pay-per-click. Incidentally, the market share of Google on search in India is the highest of all countries in the world at more than 95% of searches being conducted on Google. Any website appearing on page # 1 on Google search is will do very well in terms of clicks and sales.
So, does this mean that hoteliers need to rehaul their existing website from scratch to enable this?Most websites are often several years old with poor maintenance and updates. The best option is to revamp it completely and ensure that they are mobile responsive webpages.Are there any solutions available that can be retrofit into their existing online system?If the hotels are already using an online booking system, then it can be plugged into the revamped website. Considering the dominance of Google on search especially in India, it is important to focus on how Google search works. The Pagerank algorithm that Google uses is a complex set of criteria to rank webpages for keyword search. And Google releases updates to search engine algorithm every few weeks. It is no secret that content plays a major role in the search rank and it has been more than a year since Google started prioritizing mobile compatible pages in search results. Working to improve the website and providing constant updates on the webpages is important to keep the content relevant. Video content on the website is also important for visibility on search engines.Is this solution ideal only for big hotel chains?Ensuring that the website is revamped with an option to book rooms online is important for hotels of all sizes. The advantage is that Google does not differentiate between a big hotel chain and a small hotel insofar as the content in the hotel’s webpage matches the keyword searches.
BookOn4d is a software for hotel booking that allows quick search and booking for the best hotels, bed and breakfast, guest houses, cottages, etc, in a safe and secure manner. It provides a perfect solution by increasing a hospitality brand’s online visibility on as many channels as they want and therefore make a difference in their business.Bookon4d is a complete Property Management System, offering hotels:
What security features are built into this solution that will ensure that the hospitality brand and the end user are protected from data theft or other forms of cyber misuse?BookOn4d’s solution is hosted on secure servers in Europe and integrated with all the top OTAs in India as well as from around the world. Booking.com, which is the biggest OTA in the world insists on security compliance (like PCI), and we had to ensure that our products are security compliant as well as ensuring that the servers where our application is hosted has load balancing to ensure that if one server is down or excess traffic there is no deterioration or loss of service.Our product not only includes hotel room IBE and Channel manager, we also provide online booking and management software for spa, salon, fitness, hall and event booking, restaurant booking – hence all hotel requirements can be managed under the 4D software product umbrella. We also provide web design/development, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay-per-click (PPC), marketing and social media marketing services.