The Power of Online Bookings, Mobile-Friendly Web sites and a Unique User Experience
There’s no question that the Internet has taken center stage as the hotel reservation method of choice worldwide.
As price sensitive vacationers turn to third party reservation systems for the best deal and last minute travelers turn to their mobile phones for on-the-spot hotel bookings, the use of travel agents and dial-in phone reservations continues to rapidly decline.
In an increasingly digital world, it is now second nature for most travelers to start their search for a hotel destination from their PC or mobile device.
The Internet has made it quick and easy for travelers to research properties, read reviews, compare rates and find availability, all from the comfort of their home – or from anywhere for that matter, from their mobile phone, tablet or laptop computer.
More than ever before, independent hotels and chains need to stand out online by customizing their own proprietary channel to attract and maintain loyal guests.
To gain a consistent stream of online room reservations, hotels must offer a web site that focuses on their property’s unique brand, while offering customers the ability to see rate types, room availability and purchase a la carte add-ons or pre-built packages.
These eye-catching, custom sites are vital for independent properties that lack the branding power of large chains. They ultimately result in direct bookings, eliminating 3rd-party fees and thus, increasing revenue.
When looking to develop a unique online experience with the creation of a custom booking engine, hotels should also look past the reservation itself and think about other online functionality, such as e-mail and CRM. A booking engine that can communicate with guests through pre and post-stay e-mail messaging or reservation confirmations is of added benefit to both hotels and their guests.
Internet technology news giant Mashable predicts that 98.3 million travel bookings will be made on the Internet this year.
When looking at the top 30 brands, online hotel bookings accounted for 57 percent of all reservations made in late 2010. That is an increase of 19 percent since 2006 according to an eTRACK report and speaks to the urgency for hotels to get in the game with a custom site that caters to online room reservations.
As online travel reservations have reached their highest peak, smartphones have enabled a new form of Internet-based room booking to step into the spotlight, adding to the complexity of developing a successful Internet marketing strategy. Read More »
HFTP Connect is featuring four guest bloggers throughout HITEC 2012. The bloggers will be providing you their insights on all things HITEC. Before we get to Baltimore next week, get to know our guest bloggers.
We already met Brad More.
Now, let’s meet Nicole Hockin.
Nicole Hockin is vice president of marketing and public relations for Nor1, Inc., a technology leader in upsell solutions and exhibitor at HITEC 2012. She thrives on the creation of successful brand development and strategic communications.
Notable past positions include Chief Marketing Officer for REBEL Travel Corporation, Public Relations Manager for Hotels.com and Marketing Communications Director for Travelweb. Her greatest enjoyment comes from sharing her love of travel with her three children. Follow her on Twitter @travelnicole.
What is your specialty in hospitality and why do you enjoy your job?
I have been working in marketing and public relations with hotels and resorts, OTAs, and travel technology companies for 10 years now. I feel very fortunate to do what I do every day. It’s my job to demystify a business; to help articulate the benefits of products; and to help a company put its best foot forward from the inside out.
I enjoy creating “Aha Moments” when working with various teams to build and manage brand and product marketing strategies that inevitably are designed to give people a great experience.
I am excited for the opportunity to channel my old newsroom days and report on HITEC happenings. But before I do, here’s a little bit about me and my thoughts on next week’s most anticipated event. Read More »
As we lead up to HITEC 2012 in June, HFTP Connect will be talking to various hospitality professionals about hospitality technology through the Ask the Experts column.
A Distribution Professional’s View on Hospitality Technology
Valyn Perini is an experienced travel professional with more than 15 years in hospitality and travel operations, sales and marketing, systems, consulting and software development. As CEO of OpenTravel, Perini oversees the operations of the organization, including developing and executing strategies to reach the goal of standardizing electronic distribution of traveler information in the travel industry. She is a member of the HITEC Advisory Council.
How is your specialty changing? How will it evolve over the next two-five years?
My specialty is distribution, and it’s hard to quantify all the changes going on right now. The pace of change is just breathtaking — for guests and hoteliers.
The industry has evolved from the GDS being the primary electronic channel of distribution to the incredible proliferation of channels and business models.
In the next two years (who knows what distribution will look like in five years?), we’ll continue to have the discussion of mobile sites vs. apps, and sites like Room77, hoteltonight.com and other niche hospitality distribution sites will either take hold or fail, depending on the market. Read More »