In recent years, more and more tourists are booking hotel rooms using web services such as Booking, Priceline, Expedia or Hotels.com. Indeed, these services are faster, easier and often less expensive. Therefore, it is not surprising that many professionals in the industry are thinking about effective procedures to create a viable and profitable hotel reservation website in the long run.
In this article, we will look at the economic models that will allow you to create a successful website.
Choose a viable business model
Website according to the “hotel chain” model : this pattern lies in the creation of comprehensive websites that offer both web services and mobile applications to book rooms directly in large hotels. Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton and other major players offer such web services. Small hotel chains and individual hotels also tend to have their own sites. You can create your site by opting for a seasonal rental template, or to create your site directly using the creation tools available on the market.
- The agent business model ”: this is a set of sites that work according to the algorithm of the multi-seller platform: the service collects rental offers from many sources and offers them to users in the form of a list with many filters (location , price, availability, shower, etc.). We can cite the example of Booking.com, which charges 10 to 30% commission on each transaction.
- The “advertising company” model: this model is based on advertising and pay per click (CPC) which is displayed on the hotel reservation site. At the same time, an order for such advertising can be solicited by using direct contracts with hotel chains, affiliate programs of other sites, or by connecting to Google Ads or other similar services. Classic examples: TripAdvisor, PlacetoStay, Hotels.com, HotelTonight and Google Hotel Finder.
- The commercial business model : Sometimes this pattern is called trading by the experts. Its principle lies in the fact that the web service buys several hotel rooms and then resells them to its users. The difference between the buying price and the selling price is the benefit of the service. This is how the booking site Expedia works, which in 2018 grossed more than $ 5 billion in sales, selling rooms in more than 200 countries. Its main competitors are Orbitz and Priceline.
By creating your own hotel reservation website, you don’t have to adhere to a business model or work in a single niche. You can combine multiple models and monetization and bet on multiple niches in order to increase the reach of the target audience and the number of ways to profit from the site.
Determine the basic functions
Whichever model you choose, you must then create a set of functions that will allow your site to be referenced on search engines:
Search engine : include the possibility of searching for a hotel and rooms according to several criteria: location, availability, price, shower in the room, distance to the city center, beds, air conditioning, etc. The choice of filters can be implemented on Booking. com (all filters are available immediately). It can be done in stages (the city is selected first, then the price range, then the type of accommodation, etc.). The search engine must be simple, intuitive and at the same time as functional as possible.
Use an IP address to locate users and provide them with personalized offers. In addition, integration with Google Maps is also desirable to enable searches for hotels near train stations, airports and attractions.
Ratings and Reviews. Allow you to create a gradation of hotels according to their quality based on customer reviews. It is desirable to create a rating system for several parameters, for example, cleanliness, respect for photos, quality of service, speed of response, convenient location, etc.
Inform customers of events, promotions, discounts and everything else that is important for the trip: for example, a reminder of the trip a few days before it). Notifications can be implemented via email, SMS and social media messages or instant messengers.
For hoteliers. A set of tools should be considered for owners or managers with whom they can offer their services to travelers. The following items are included in the basic list of these functions:
- Registration / Login: hoteliers need to be able to create personal profiles to link their property to them. As with travelers, this can be done using an email, phone number, social networks and a Google account.
- Property management: the possibility of attaching a property to a profile and indicating its main properties (location, number of rooms, equipment, etc.), photos, payment methods, availability, etc.
- Manage your reservation: calendar for monitoring availability, defining reservation conditions (automatically, after confirmation by a hotelier, etc.) and the possibility of canceling a reservation.
- Setting of the terms and conditions of notification (whether for the hotelier or his customers) various events, promotions, discounts and others.