One of the key elements for more direct bookings is a good reservation system. Travel planners are increasingly seeking out availability and the convenience of booking availability and in one place, your website. If you don’t have a good reservation system in place yet, here are a few suggestions we have on where to start your research.
There are several things to consider when choosing a booking program. A short list of what we recommend includes:
- Compatibility with Google Analytics (very important!) – this should always be a big consideration in any website addition or update.
- Mobile Friendliness – As more and more people have mobile websites, having a mobile reservations system in increasingly important.
- Customization and Technical support – does it offer a good, seamless user experience with your existing site? Do you have someone to contact conveniently by phone and/or email to help you.
- Back End Functionality – much different than the user experience for the Client. Does the reservation system just take reservations or does it also allow you to manage different parts of your business. It can be especially important to manage other areas outside of a booking such as housekeeping, maintenance, guides, boat numbers, followup and feedback, etc.
- OTA integration – does it work with the large booking websites you partner with?
Lodging Property Partners
First up are the lodging properties – big and small. It’s an important first step in travel planning that people want to know where they will lay their head. And many want to book with you directly for a personalized experience.
For the smaller lodging properties we like to recommend the following programs.
- Resnexus – they are mobile friendly and they have just added the ability to use universal tracking code .
- Roommaster – they interface with OTAs but they are still working on a mobile friendly release. The other downside that it needs to be hosted on an onsite server.
- Open Hotel – a highlight aside from being a great fit for properties with any room amount and varying room styles, is that you can also easily create custom landing pages for packages & specials and promotions. This company offers great support via chat, phone and email and integrates with OTA’s and conversion analytics tracking.
For you larger properties we have two proven solutions for you.
- Ihotelier/TravelClick and Sabre. You can’t go wrong with either one. They are compatible with OTA’s, are mobile friendly and offer most of our major criteria above.
Fishing Guide, Outfitter and Activity Partners.
For many guides, outfitters and activity providers a simple, custom form on your website which securely accepts payments can work. But if you want an online booking program the two we recommend are
- Xola. Our team has worked primarily with this program. While they are easy to setup and maintain as well as are mobile friendly, they don’t have an analytics option.
- Adventure Office – these guys also mobile friendly capability and you can add analytics. The drawback is it will only work for one domain. But not a big problem for most small outfitters.
- You might also check out Rezdy and Resmarksystems. We don’t’ have experience with them yet so cannot make a full analysis for you. If you check them out we would love to hear your feedback.
Fishing Guides – well you’re in luck. There are several systems that have been designed specifically for your market. They are limited in some capacities such as analytic tracking but they do offer additional guide management for all your employees.
- The Flybook and Spotted Tail Outdoors. Spotted Tail Outdoors seems to be less confusing in our experience. But check them out for yourselves first.
Whether you are ready to sign up for a reservation system today or just starting the research process, we are happy to help discuss some options. We want to see you grow your travel business through more direct bookings.
The AllTrips Team