COCONUT ESCAPES KURUNEGALA
industry : Travel & Hospitality
How important is it to have a website for your hotel? It could be either a small villa hosting 5-6 guests or a hotel hosting thousands of customers a day; if you are without an online presence and a solid website that showcases what you offer to your customers, ultimately, it won’t bode well for the business.
We recently conducted a survey to understand how many customers visit the website of a hotel before deciding to order through either a phone call or a booking engine. As it turns out, more than 74% of the customers choose to visit the hotel’s official website. Surprisingly, customers tend to visit the website even if the property is listed on several booking engines. If a website is not available, customers proceed to call the property directly and ask for the best rate they can offer in hope of finding a better deal than the booking engines.
Mr. Galhena, the owner of one such property, contacted and informed me of his situation. He explained how, in his experience, booking engines have been terrible in listing their properties while charging high commission rates. He also explained the process he currently follows when customers contact them directly by phone.
- Explain the services and facilities the property offers to the caller.
- Explain the details of any ongoing offers available to customers.
- Check with his employees to clarify whether the property is available on the requested dates.
- Call back the customer and inform them about the availability.
- If the customer is satisfied, prompt him/her to pay an advance to a bank account the owner specifies to confirm the booking.
- Finally, call the customer back when the payment is received to confirm the booking.
how we Solved it
1. A Place to showcase their Portfolio
Before developing a website, Mr. Galhena stated that he was maintaining social media accounts for the property to display and share property-related information and they had to repeat what they offer, in detail, to each and every customer inquiry to convert it to a booking. Social Media is a great platform for advertising, but unfortunately, it’s not appropriate to showcase your portfolio, amenities, and every little detail about the property.
We delivered them a solid website where they can showcase their location, accommodation, experiences, wine & dine, gallery, and much more.
2. Sales Automation
Running three companies at the same time is a big responsibility for any young entrepreneur. According to the property owner we talked with, answering phone calls and explaining what they had to offer to customers before converting them to bookings was a time-consuming and demanding job. We explained the highly unproductive routine he used to follow in the background story.
- With this newly developed website, the owner managed to take all the repetitive responsibilities of the job off his plate. No more explaining about the property or special offers, over and over again, to each customer. Everything was displayed on their website. And the best thing is that the website is accessible 24/7/365.
- No more availability issues. Customers can check property availability through the website anytime, anywhere without the owner having to manually intervene.
- Payment gateway Integration to accept all advanced payments.
- Confirmation of the booking via email as soon as the payment is made.
3. No Commissions
Currently, booking engines are charging more than 20% of your revenue. They reduce the commission before depositing the balance as a pre-payment. If the payment is made at the property, you have to transfer the commissions to the specified bank account. By having his own website, Mr. Galhena no longer has to pay commissions to a third party. As a result, he can attract more customers to the property with frequent and lucrative offers and discounts that give their prices a competitive advantage over other hotels.
4. Flexibility for Customers
With the new website, potential customers and guests experience the flexibility of having the details of the property available at any time. They get the opportunity to find the offers most suitable for their stays and book the hotel online. They now have the flexibility of paying an advance and confirming the reservation just by adding the credit card details and tapping a few keys instead of filling large forms to transfer money.
5. A Platform to give Special offers & Discounts
In the survey we conducted, we found out that more than 85% of the customers love to book a hotel or a villa offering discounts and special offers. And it revealed that most of the people are tempted by hotel offers and discounts even if they do not have plans for an outing. This data shows the importance of giving discounts and special offers and the value it adds to the hotel. Our delivery included a special section for special offers and backend functionality to generate special coupon codes.
6. Mobile App to track Bookings
We also offered the client a third-party mobile app that sends real-time alerts and notifications as the bookings are made along with the booking confirmation emails. It has detailed analytics and other features and functionalities that can make property management easier.
7. Well Organized Booking Calendar
A Booking Calendar was also developed so that they do not miss any chance of getting multiple bookings on the same day. And it can lock the dates that you want so that it won’t be available for customers to book. The calendar can be synced with booking.com and Airbnb calendars.
Coconut Escapes is offering paid ATV bike rides, air rifle target shooting experiences to customers. The hotel website has the ability to offer these services at the checkout at a discounted price. It creates a sense of urgency within customers to pay for these value-added services when confirming the booking.
9. A Database of Customers for Remarketing
Coconut Escapes now has a proper database of their past customers’ invoice values and the dates they occupied the property all in one place. No more handwritten records or misplaced documents. Using this database, they can send emails to previous customers offering them a special discount with a coupon code during the off-peak. It builds between the hotel and the customers.
10. Social Media Network Integration
We integrated the social media channels of the property with the website so that they have the facility of remarketing. For example, the owner can promote an ad specifically to the people who have visited their website as they are the customers who could make a booking in the near future. It’s a great feature that allows the hotel owner to get the maximum advantage from every marketing channel they use.