Hotel online booking is quickly gaining in popularity as the Internet provides a convenient platform for holidaymakers and business travelers to source for their ideal hotel that will be their sanctuary during their overseas stay. As long as you are armed with a computer connected to the Internet, anyone can have access to the vast database of hotels that you can examine and compare before making an instant reservation with minimum fuss and effort.
The information that is available on these sites is more than sufficient to assist in the decision-making process. We shall now study how the Internet has revolutionized the hotel reservation process in recent years.
The evolution of the hotel reservation process over the years
Hotel reservation procedures used to be in the hands of mainly hotels and travel agents, but have quickly evolved to become easily accessible to the online consumer after the arrival of the Internet.
In the past, travelers had to go through hotels or travel agents to make a hotel booking via phone or writing. There was limited information about the room rates, services and facilities available to the traveler except through printed brochures or newspaper advertisements, which can be easily overlooked. Furthermore, some time was needed to get a response from the hotels and travel agents, allowing for less room for the traveler to make a quick decision about his booking or change it.
Following the Internet age, all kinds of information about the hotels becomes much more readily available, including the means to book hotels online through web portals run by the hotels or online travel agents. This has enabled travelers to take full control of their hotel booking procedures, including changing their booking or making a last-minute booking if the situation arises. In such a situation, they can even enjoy discounts and deals by the hotel and search for the best deals on several websites.
Information galore on online travel agents’ sites
Today, hotel information is readily available on many online travel agents’ websites through the sharing of such information between large hotel chains and online travel agents. This means that these websites are able to promote and market the rooms of different hotel chains to online visitors, thus serving as a powerful publicity platform for these hotels. Such publicity is a win-win situation as the online travel agents stand to receive commission payments for every booking that is done through their sites. Even thousands of smaller online travel sites are getting in on the act as the information is shared with them by the larger agents.
This in effect creates a single large database of hotel information which all online travel agents can tap on, providing the traveler with up-to-date information and prices, which means that he does not have to check with the hotel directly. The more hotels sign on to these sites, the more the information becomes remarkably similar, hence some online travel agents might negotiate with the hotels to charge specially-discounted rates to consumers to entice them to book through their website.
Controlled and targeted marketing by booking directly at hotels’ websites
As opposed to the barrage of information about various hotels that is available on online travel agents’ websites, hotels’ own booking websites with attached booking engines allow for much more personalized and targeted marketing to its guests. With more detailed information about its offerings, the incorporation of more images and the use of sophisticated web design such as flash animation and videos, it would be easier for hotels to distinguish themselves from the pack through their own websites. In addition, guests would also be ensured of a secure online payment system, particularly if the hotel chain is a reputable one, as well as the doing away with any additional booking fees that might be charged by intermediary websites.
Selecting a trustworthy hotel online booking website
As the Internet is home to multitudes of sites offering hotel online booking services, it is not always easy to find one that is trustworthy and has your needs and concerns in mind. It is very important to find a website that you can trust, not only when it comes to reliability of hotel information and provision of room rates that are kept up-to-date, but more importantly one where you can have peace of mind when making an online transaction through it. Hotels’ direct booking websites may come to mind, but I shall recommend an online portal that has these characteristics.