Online isn't JUST about the Reservation

It is widely accepted that hospitality providers must provide a self-service online booking (online reservation) that provides rates, availability and instant confirmation to prospective guests and travel planners.

After all, who waits for email responses to confirm bookings anymore? The travel planner just expects that instant confirmations will be provided at the point of buying decision. It has, become a part of a normal routine to confer with the internet when planning trips, shopping for clothes or household goods.There are even apps that provide local gas pricing in the neighborhood all geared to save the consumer time and money.

But is that enough? Having advanced past the online booking discussion, we can all agree that instant access for the consumer is expected. But do we also acknowledge the access is a good thing for both travel planner and hospitality provider? The benefits of reducing phone calls to the reservation desk, and providing, in effect, a 24/7 reservation processing capability certainly delivers tangible results in time saved and ultimately staffing costs.

What marketers now must explore is opportunity to generate significant additional revenues BEFORE the guest arrives at the property. Services and products that may have otherwise been left to the front desk to up-sell during the registration process are now beginning to contribute bottom line results in revenue, forecasting and planning.

By including online packages for other services within the property, managers and staff can be better prepared to provide service excellence upon the guest’s arrival and throughout their stay. For instance, packaging optional meals, activities, and services at the point of online commitment immediately increases and puts the guest in control of the travel experience. The business benefits from increased revenue streams and efficiency of staff planning are invaluable to the bottom line.

Hotels and campgrounds whose marketing and revenue management departments are able to think creatively about their business can plan to fulfill on the service promise that will engender loyalty and be able to improve revenue streams via the online channel.

As a property owner or manager, explore ways in which you can creatively add incremental services to your guests online experience; for instance, do you cater to pets? Hotels, lodges and campgrounds who cater to pets are offering packages that include special treats, spa days, and pet sitting services. By providing these during the online booking process, your guests will look forward to their experience and you will add revenues instantly to your bottom line.

Take a look at how a property in Santa Barbara <> incents special packages.

In short, online bookings are not JUST about the reservation... it is also about guest experience, revenues, and service excellence!