How to Choose The Right Online Booking System For Your Travel Business
Nowadays, it’s common for customers to book travel without interacting with a travel professional. As a result, more than 80% of individuals book online. To meet the growing demand for online bookings, your travel business must have a robust and efficient online travel portal.
If your travel business isn’t embracing the online booking trend, you’re potentially missing out on a huge revenue stream. Here is how you can solve the issue:
Online Booking Systems & What to Lookout For
There are lots of options to build an online booking system. Before exploring these options, jot down a list of things that you want from your travel booking system. Try to think both from a business and customer perspective. For instance, the following are some of the most important features to look for when building travel booking software:
• Real-time travel booking.
• Ability to accept credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and payments from online wallets.
• User-friendly interface.
• The option to scale up in the future.
While many of these features are universal to good travel booking portals, you and your customers may not require everything offered by a developer. As a first step, try to limit the choice to the most important elements before scaling up at a later stage. Once comfortable with basic features, you can integrate advanced elements such as promo codes, guest loyalty points, and special rates for certain inventory.
Why do you need an online booking system?
Here are some interesting features that should inspire you to receive online bookings:
The most significant benefit of an online booking system is that it keeps your business open 24 hours, 365 days a week. It means that you can generate revenues 24 hours a day instead of a typical 8-hour weekday shift. For your customers, the travel booking software offers them a chance to book travel anytime without visiting your office or calling an agent.
Reduction of workload and workforce is another bonus. You no longer need the extra workforce to handle bookings and keep records. The online travel portal is also equipped to handle refunds and cancellations. As a result, you can focus on expanding your growing business.
Increased customer satisfaction is also among the defining attributes of an online portal. Communication features such as online chat, instant messenger, customer-support tickets, and automated answers can handle critical queries 24/7 instead of relegating these tasks to a full-time call center employee.
Creating a travel portal app and the ability to integrate your online travel booking with the search engine are only two of several methods that can increase your revenue. For additional income opportunities, you can even integrate the booking software on your social media page.
Getting paid on time is perhaps the most overlooked benefit of the online booking system. When customers use online payment modes, the payment is processed, cleared, and transferred instantly. You no longer need to deal with advance payments, cheques, and letters of credit.
Functional requirements for a booking software
If you want to get the most out of your online travel booking system, the system must provide all the major booking functions. Your goal should be to operate a fully-featured online travel portal that is as close to a self-service automated system as possible.
If you run a hotel, the system should integrate different room rates based on arrivals such as early booking and last-minute bookings. It should also allow maximum flexibility to book a room based on maximum occupancy.
Well-known hotel booking portals offer the ability to show different types of rooms, suites, and apartments based on the number of adults and age of each child. Room type, room preference, and ADU units are some of the other functions to consider.
When working with a travel portal developer, you can add extra features that may not be available on other websites. For instance, most airline websites do not integrate baggage allowance in their portals. Others do not include information related to child rates. For travelers and families, these functions are critical to addressing their concerns. Adding these to the booking software can give you a competitive advantage.
Using travel API integration to complement your service is also becoming increasingly popular. The feature allows you to integrate third-party inventory feeds into your booking portal. It works because you can offer customers hundreds of different options without holding an inventory. Hotel room comparison portals, hotel review websites, and tour booking services are just a few of many successful examples.
Also read: List of Top 10 Business Management Software
Key trends in online booking
The pace of online booking is consistent with the massive growth of online technologies. Already, more than eight out of ten adults in the United States book their trips on the Internet. By 2023, nearly 700 million individuals are expected to use online channels to book travel and related services.
Considering the overwhelming use of smartphones and cloud-based services, lots of traditional travel companies are moving online. In fact, many of these businesses are transforming their websites into self-service portals. The self-service portals offer travel services without human interference. The only thing that you need to do is to give backend customer support.
Travel apps are also becoming a trendsetter. Research indicates that travelers prefer apps because they think that apps are more convenient to book travel. They like the ease of navigation, extra functions, and price notifications. Responding to these trends, travel companies are offering discounts and promotions available only through their mobile app.
Here are some other vital trends shaping the future of online travel bookings:
• Non-GDS content
• Artificial Intelligence
• Data-oriented search
• Live customer support
• Integration of visuals
You can hire a travel portal developer to build a website based on the latest trends. Chetu offers world-class developers who have extensive experience in website development and travel apps. Let Chetu offer a personalized solution and guide you to success.