We’re all in the bookings game. Whether you prioritise short-term stays in peak periods or long-term occupancies throughout the year, all serviced apartment operators need guests staying in their properties. Many use online travel agents (OTAs) to advertise, attract and acquire bookings, but what if there was a way to increase bookings, to the benefit of customer connection, cost and brand loyalty? Step forward, serviced apartment booking software.
OTAs, such as Expedia and Booking.com, provide an important service for operators, by marketing your units to a global audience. But this service isn’t free. OTAs typically charge a booking fee between 15-30%, and these fees grow depending on other factors, including the property location and whether you pay marketing fees to rank higher in search findings.
On the other hand, direct bookings cost nothing. Linked to your serviced apartment property management system, a direct booking portal supports guests booking and paying through your site. Operators can even use commission savings to offer direct booking discounts which encourages repeat custom.
- Customer connection
OTAs might boost your bookings, but the downside is that they manage customer communication. Not only does this deprive operators of key customer data, such as booking preferences and contact details, but it limits repeat custom, and has a knock-on impact if a guest has a poor booking experience with the OTA.
With serviced apartment booking software, operators retain full control over customer connections. A live chat feature between operator and user alleviates guest concerns or queries. Operators build customer relationships with a direct connection via email or phone. With access to customer information, operators can send pre-arrival recommendations and offer personalised discounts post-stay, to foster guest loyalty and repeat business.
Whether you offer inner-city serviced apartments or rural stays, your booking site should become an extension of your brand. One that captures the essence of your company with reams of alluring photos.
Serviced apartment booking software is fully customisable to your brand and preferences. From adding the ‘boring but necessary’ rates, floor plans and cancellation policies, to the ‘snazzy and sexy’ photo carousel and virtual tours, direct booking software speaks to guests.
According to a GlobalData poll, 39% of travellers typically book directly on the company website, compared to 17% via OTAs. While guests might discover your apartment on an OTA, they may book directly, particularly if it’s a stay of more than a week. Using a slick booking software with a quotation portal can make the difference between a browser and a booker.
In less than 60 seconds, a quote portal generates bespoke deals according to guest preferences, complete with tailored messaging, photos and link to a secure payment portal. The safety of booking direct (and dealing with an operator instead of a giant OTA) and seamless booking automation maximises conversions.
Direct booking portals are SEO magnets for search engines, drawing guests in via organic search. Employ serviced apartment booking software onto your site as part of your marketing strategy and create your portal with industry keywords, company metadata and brand information.
Google drives web visitors. A third of users click onto the first page of Google search results compared to only 0.78% proceeding to the second page. Using an SEO-focused booking software improves your Google ranking, as it funnels traffic to your site which increases conversions.
Booking software is integral to a PMS
At res:harmonics, we designed our booking portal to maximise serviced apartment bookings and revenue, whilst minimising management time and resources. Integrated with our serviced apartment property management system, our fully customisable booking software not only synchronises all bookings with the rest of the system in real-time, but also generates more bookings through enhanced customer connections and conversions.
Download the Ultimate Guide to Serviced Apartment Property Management Software 2023 to learn how property management software supports serviced apartment operators.
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