Hotel booking websites for hotel booking businesses
Online booking systems are usually websites that allow users to book hotel rooms or apartments, organize various transportation, arrange travel routes, and so on. In other words, they act as virtual assistants to help make your travel more smooth, safe and, most likely, cheaper when compared with the prices of tour operator services and travel agencies. This article will go into further detail about how to create a hotel booking website for your tourism business.
When surfing different websites to book a room, how often do you stop to think about how it all works behind the scenes? How could a particular service collect information from a huge database of hotels, hostels, and apartments around the world? With the help of these services, many users have long enjoyed the benefits of finding different levels of housing in different parts of the world, with the click of a button. From an inexpensive hostel in Europe to luxury rooms in the best hotels in major international cities, bookings can be made quickly, reliably and without additional commissions, as databases of such websites can have over 1,000,000 different options.
These types of sites are often filled up with hotels that are interested in providing their rooms to more guests and building their clientele. Hotels can register themselves on such services and provide all the necessary information such as the location, room type (as well as its cost), the diversity of restaurants or other entertainment in the neighbourhood, etc. These options are even more relevant if a particular site already has a certain level of popularity. In the event of a new website being established, the base of hotels and clients would be earned from scratch, so the business would most likely have to negotiate the contracts between the site and the hotel.
If we talk about earnings, then it is not difficult to guess that hotels will get income from customers who have booked a room at their establishment, with the booking service business obtaining a percentage of the cost of each reservation.
How does it work?
Hotel booking website development requires some understanding of the process itself, so let’s find out how this works, in general.
The online travel booking system or website will take into account traveler’s requirements. In some cases, a website may be associated with search engine which improves the availability of services in real time with a large number of hits. The user will need to provide the necessary information such as name, email address, contact information, destination, date of travel, number of rooms and other necessary travel details.
Once all the stages of trip planning have been completed, a user should be able to start paying for services using a secure payment gateway. In an ideal environment, the online travel booking system should be equipped to service any international payment gateways that are distributed around the world. Also, it would great if the user could choose to pay with a card or even through a bank network. Furthermore, the booking system records booking information and transmits it for further processing by other systems or people.
Is it useful and popular?
The answer is - yes, it is extremely useful for the end user and, therefore, popular. So, if you want to develop a website for booking hotels, you probably should move forward, but be sure to keep everything in order. The invention and market entry of online booking systems greatly facilitates the planning and organization of trips, and also removes many of the difficulties that had been previously encountered in the industry. Now to organize a trip to another part of the world, a traveler just needs a device that allows them to go online with at least some connection to the network.
It is possible to conduct a detailed analysis of the location a traveler is visiting and also to find out more about a hotel, provided services, and to read honest reviews from other people. In addition, reservation systems could be integrated into a site that talks about specific attractions, collects trip reviews or local ratings of popular places.
Such services are customer-oriented and appreciated by people who value their time or are going to travel to a country on a different time zone. Online booking systems work around the clock, which means that there is less room for error. This is also facilitated by online payment systems that help to save time and make the process of booking and payment more transparent and simple for all parties concerned.
What booking services are the most popular?
Booking.com is the leader in providing online hotel reservation services. The database of the site has more than 1,300,000 hotels located in more than 226 countries in the world, which allows large volume bookings on a daily basis. When discussing the popularity and profitability of such services, it is worth noting that this project was launched in 1996 and is currently translated into 43 languages. The service provides a wide range of different options - starting with hostels s and ending with luxury five-star hotels.
Kayak is a great travel aggregator. It helps travelers from all over the world find a suitable travel website for booking, which provides a list of necessary services from all possible options. For example, this site monitors, analyzes and saves information available on various travel resources. It provides important information about which resource most accurately meets the pre-selected criteria that each customer sets when making their selections.
Expedia provides a different, slightly wider approach to planning trips. This website allows users to browse and book everything from simple transfers to a complete travel and rest package with all the bells and whistles. Expedia takes into account a variety of search criteria from all customers and allows each user to plan their preferred route and budget for future trips in detail.
If we are talking about the popularity of such services, it is probably better to provide accurate figures to back up our findings. As of March 17, 2017, Booking.com has the following indicators (based on data from similarweb.com):
Ranked 73rd among all sites globally;
Ranked 167th among popular sites in the United States;
Ranked #1 among sites of a similar category (travel and hotels booking); and
More than 336.01 Millions total visits.
How to create a hotel booking website
Let’s talk about what it means to build a hotel booking website. Today, the site is not only a representation of the company or a product, it's also a store; so, a positive user experience is really important. This applies not only to the design of the site but also smart searching capabilities, a large number of filters for various categories, and security of payment transactions.
Reasonable clients are vigilant in security matters (as well as anonymity) on the internet, especially when it comes to various transactions with bank cards. Users expect modern approaches and technologies in your solutions; therefore, in the process of developing custom project ideas, you should also think about PCI (Payment Cards Industry) consonant with the service.
Another good option would be to take additional care regarding mobile users, since mobile traffic today can lead to a potential customer tomorrow. The following should be implemented in advance:
Creation of a site guided by the fact that it will also be accessed from mobile devices. The design and interface should be adaptable to any screen size and mobile platform.
A clear understanding of usability, in order to achieve the maximum user experience.
Integration with geolocation and transport ordering services will also be a tangible advantage among competitors.
If we are talking about mobile apps, let's find out briefly what the mobile market looks like in 2017, and how it will possibly continue to grow. Billions of users use smartphones in their everyday lives, and that number is growing. Analyzing statistics of the global number of smartphone users from 2014 to 2020, it is clear to see that this number will continue to increase in the future.
Smartphone users globally 2014 - 2020, in billions (from statista.com)
Moreover, if you look at the statistics of revenues from mobile applications, you can also make a logical conclusion that people are willing to pay for digital content that is accessible from their various devices.
App revenues globally, in billion USD (from statista.com)
Regarding sales in the field of "digital" tourism, the figures speak for themselves:
Expedia gross bookings globally 2005 - 2016, in billion USD (from statista.com)
Digital travel sales globally 2014 - 2020, in billion USD (from statista.com)
Digital travel sales globally 2015 - 2020, in billion USD (from emarketer.com)
Looking at all the above facts, it is worth summarizing that the development of custom mobile applications does not seem like a bad idea at all. In terms of excellent user experiences, it is probably worth turning to the company that holds the leading position, so let's consider what problems arose and how they were solved by the Booking.com developers. Service was considered excellent based on the following:
The maximum coverage of prices for renting rooms, or even better - the provision of the lowest price among competitors;
Large selection of hotels, and rooms, in a wide selection of countries;
Real-time information (a key point: you wouldn’t want to go through the process of booking only to find out that the airplane seat or hotel room is no longer available!);
Strong search capabilities;
Beautiful design, clear interface, and high speed of work; and
Website and technical support in the user’s native language.
Search, ease of use and speed of the site is a key area for focus here. Let's imagine that a tourist wants to plan their stay in a certain city, is planning to go with their family and also wants breakfast included. To start, problems can arise when selecting a locality because, for example, some countries, cities or states can be similarly named, although they are geographically in very different places. For example, the country of Georgia and the state in the US share the same name, so there should be integration with geolocation services, designation of the client's location and provision of information based on similar request analytics.
After determining the location, other criteria are processed, for example, filtering hotels that do not have parking (if it was specified in the request) or there is no suite for the required number of people. Although there are also possible options, for example, if a family of 4 people is traveling, then should be offered other options like 2+2 or 3+1, etc. After that, there is a selection of hotels by price, availability, ranking and so on.
A hotel booking website is an excellent option not only for a business that provides various services for tourists such as transportation or excursions, but also for startups that plan to grow in this direction. Such sites generate millions of visits, which allows them to be the center of attention, as well as to receive additional income not only from booking rooms but also from advertising. As described above, the success of such services directly depends on a large database of hotels and an excellent user experience; therefore, when developing a new business model, one should think about the use of modern approaches and development tools.