What to look for when choosing a new booking engine
We understand that finding a new solution for your website or booking engine can take some time and effort. To make this process easier, we have listed a number of product features and information sources to bear in mind when considering an alternate solution.
If you’re already using a channel manager or property management system (PMS), this transition can look quite different—so let’s start there.
Do you currently use a channel manager or property management system (PMS)?
If you DO use a channel manager or PMS, then we recommend that you reach out to your channel manager or PMS first. They may have a product available for you, or they may be able to advise on third-party alternatives that are compatible with your channel manager or PMS. This can save you time with the implementation.
If you DON’T use a channel manager or PMS, then we suggest you read through the product features and tips listed below to help you decide on the solution that’s best suited for your business.
Product features to consider in your decision
Product fit with your property
There’s a wide range of products for different property types and sizes. So when selecting an alternative, it should meet the specific needs of your property.
If you’re looking for a website tool that only offers you online presence, and you don’t need a booking engine, then a standalone website builder could be perfect.
However, if you’re also looking to sell your rooms through your direct channel, you will require an integrated booking engine.
With the wide range of products comes a wide range of pricing. Make sure to take into account how much return any given alternative can provide you. Some products may indeed offer more features for the potential growth of your business, but make sure to set the right expectations for your return on investment. Also here goes: choose the product that fits your property’s needs best.
Ease of use
To yield the best results, we advise choosing easy-to-use tools—tools that are intuitive and easy to understand, and make you feel confident using them. Again, every property type has different needs, and some products may come with more comprehensive features, but it’s essential to look for the features that matter for your business.
Compatibility with your existing platforms
If you use multiple hospitality tools, you can save yourself valuable time on your day-to-day operations when these tools can be integrated. An example is to sync your calendars and reservations, making overbookings a problem of the past. That’s why we suggest you check whether the new product is compatible with your existing platforms, such as your PMS or channel manager.
When looking for an alternative, the number of users and reviews will give a good indication to help you make your decision. It doesn’t always mean that the most popular product is the best choice for your property—or even in general—but it will give you a reliable impression on quality and customer satisfaction. Reviews from comparable property types or sizes may be particularly valuable.
Accessing the product
With hospitality technology advancing every day, you can now manage your property from anywhere, on any device. Do you prefer to use a computer at the property? Or do you want to run your business from the palm of your hand with a phone or tablet? Mobile accessibility puts you in control anytime, anywhere. So make sure to check whether the new product supports your platform of choice.
If you’re looking for a website builder, keep in mind that this also applies to guests. More than half of the bookings come from mobile devices. This means that having a responsive website design is essential to make it easier for guests to book with you, even when they’re on the go.
Available languages and translations
Depending on your business and the origin of your guests, it’s worth considering not only the available product languages but also the website translations for guests. If you have a lot of guests from Japan or China, for example, offering these translations is an important feature to look for in a new website builder.
In case you have questions or need help, it’s good to know what level of support you can expect. This includes the product language, but also support language, and the opening hours of the support centre.
Every accommodation around the world is unique. Therefore, some product features may be more relevant to you than for other properties.
Where to look for alternate solutions or more information
There are many excellent sources available to help you navigate your way through the landscape of hotel technology. Asking your peers or searching in Google may be the obvious first stops, but also local conferences can help you find new solutions or provide you with expert advice.
Another recommendation is to check independent hotel technology comparison websites as they compare tools across the globe. Websites such as Capterra or Hotel Tech Report make it easy to compare hospitality software solutions based on specific features, pricing, and reviews.
We hope these tips will offer you a good starting point and help you make an informed decision.