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.

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