9 Important Questions to Ask Your Online Reservation Technology Partner

By Brian Dass President & Co-Founder, Open Hospitality | January 27, 2012

Many independent hoteliers confess they know that doing a better job generating and managing online reservations is the single greatest source of untapped revenue. Yet creating an online site that actually simplifies bookings and transactions seems woefully out of reach for most in-house independent managers who don't have the luxury of an online staff.

This can be further complicated by the fact that reservation technology providers don't really approach the client partnership with a systems built with an intimate understanding of an independent property's challenges **or best interests. A great online reservation technology partner will work closely with hoteliers to identify the challenges of unique systems and circumstances; create solutions that go beyond booking a room online; and prove how their technology helps hoteliers do the job faster, better and in the most cost-efficient manner.

Here are some key questions to ask when you are sitting down with an online reservation technology vendor who is keen to secure your business, or meeting with your current partner to plan your 2008 online priorities.

1 - Does my reservation technology integrate with all the other components of my online efforts?

If you are marketing online you are spending some serious time and effort obtaining, validating and maintaining an email address database, creating slick email campaigns and spending marketing dollars on keyword search and Pay-per-click (PPC) as well as a CRM solution. Confirm in advance that your reservation partner is able to show how much revenue is generated by any of your marketing projects as well as which parts of your site are more profitable than others. Insist that your partner regularly provide you with a comprehensive approach to analysis of all Search Engine Optimization (SEO), organic or PPC and email conversion, as well as site traffic pattern analysis.

Find someone who is willing to actually advise you on what works and what doesn't -- and can help spot opportunities and flaws in your online marketing and is able to integrate all steps leading to the sale with the ultimate reporting provided on sales that are generated. It's just not acceptable in today's business environment to be told you "can't really tell if this email campaign or that PPC buy resulted in an online reservation because the two vendors don't permit tracking capability as they are not compatible or just won't talk to each other." Find a partner who integrates with all the components to make it easier to determine ROI on your efforts.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.