The way people choose and book their holiday is totally different than even 10 years ago. If you’re looking for a booking system, here’s a quick guide to what’s important right now.
1. Is it quick and easy to use?
When people are looking for a holiday they want to quickly see what dates are available, find out how much it will cost, and most want to be able to book and pay online there and then.
If they can’t do that easily, they’ll probably carry on searching. Guests will not patiently wait for a page to load - it should happen instantly.
They don’t want to navigate a complicated route to book, clicking lots of links. Make it easy.
2. Does it fit your business model and is it flexible?
Not everyone wants to start their holiday on a Friday or Saturday, nor does everyone want to book a full week.
The more accommodating you can be - enabling more start days and a choice of length of stay ‐ the more bookings you will get.
And if you list on booking websites like Booking.com or Airbnb, you will also appear higher in searches on those platforms.
A good booking system will let you be in control of your own start days and durations, even allowing you to be flexible during off‐peak season only if that’s what you want to do.
3. Does it help you to be smart with your pricing?
It’s good practice to set your prices as far in advance as possible.
Choose a booking system that enables you to do that, and also allows you to continue to adjust your prices to reflect demand.
Start by setting prices high, then reduce them (if you still have availability) closer to the start date.
4. Will it improve efficiency?
Look for software with automated features that save you time, add to your professional image and help look after your guests.
A sophisticated system will have this, enabling you to set your own criteria, so timely messages can be sent when those criteria are met e.g triggering a balance-due email to be sent 30 days prior to arrival, when a deposit has been paid and the balance is outstanding. Go for a booking system that makes your life easier.
5. Does it have a channel manager?
To increase visibility it’s important to list on as many booking websites as you can.
A built‐in channel manager (that doesn’t cost extra to use or charge commission) will ensure that availability on your listings on these sites is always up to date, removes the risk of double bookings and feeds information straight into your booking system.
It shouldn’t be hard work to manage - you really don’t have to manually update lots of different calendars.
One final word of advice ‐ choose an established booking system that adapts to changing demands, is run by people that know the industry and have good connections with key influencers.
And make sure that your system of choice will work for you - try before you buy with a free trial or request a demo.
Jo Blaylock, Marketing Executive at SuperControl
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