Two-way integration is an essential tool for hotels, motels and accommodation providers that want to compete in today’s massive online marketplace.
Competition is hot in the online booking space. Hotel bookers now have access to vast amounts of information through comparison websites (metasearch channels), search engines and online travel agencies. Now more than ever, hotel bookers are using more than one booking engine to plan their travel.
In fact, hotel bookers visit between 2.4 and 3.4 websites in each of the three booking stages: destination selection, shopping and purchasing, according to travel market researcher PhoCusWright.
So it makes sense for accommodation providers to list their room inventory and rates on as many online travel agencies as possible, in order to increase your chances of capturing the fickle hotel booker.
Until now, hotels have been limited by the time and effort it takes to manually manage multiple online channels.
But new distribution technology is freeing up hotel resources, allowing hoteliers to concentrate on broadening their market reach by integrating their Property Management System (PMS) or Central Reservation System (CRS).
How two-way integration works
Using a Channel Manager solution, such as SiteMinder’s unique and sophisticated two-way integration technology, builds a link between a hotel’s PMS/CRS and Revenue Management System (RMS) and the hotel’s chosen booking channels.
Information is then instantly exchanged over this two-way connection from the hotel to online travel agencies such as Expedia, Booking.com, HRS, Hotelbeds, Orbitz and Agoda.
When accommodation is then purchased via one of these online booking websites, the hotel’s PMS updates itself, meaning the days of manually entering each booking are over.
Meanwhile, real time rates, availability and restrictions are automatically sent from the PMS to the hotel’s various online channels. Hoteliers can now maximise room inventory and revenue without the fear of overbooking.
Assessing different solutions is essential
Two-way integration saves hotels precious time, according to Michael Kinloch, Head of Sales – Pacific at SiteMinder.
He comments, “Giving time back to the hotelier is incredibly important in this ever evolving distribution landscape. Two-way integration cuts down the cost of acquisition substantially; for every reservation [that is] automatically populated, the hotel can then use that time to manage their guests effectively and spend more time on the overall guest experience.”
There are many other advantages of two-way integration, such as retaining revenue that would otherwise have been lost due to delayed cancellations, as well as increasing revenue by maximising online exposure with automated inventory and rate updates.
However, not all distribution technologies are created equal.
Hotels should diligently assess software technologies that offer automation between distribution and reservation systems, says Kinloch.
He claims that many technology providers imply that they have true two-way integration, but their solutions fall short of meeting the evolving needs of hotels and resorts alike. “Very few hotel software technology providers can state a reliable track record like SiteMinder’s with this type of solution,” he adds.
Kinloch comments that SiteMinder is continually reviewing and refining its products. As the technology matures, he predicts that more and more hotels will switch from manual processes to SiteMinder’s fully automated two-way integration system.
“The market is ever changing and being agile is the most important responsibility of a technology provider.” He continues, “I see a place for two-way technology in all shapes and sizes of accommodation, as time is the most important aspect in a hoteliers day, and we are giving that back to them.”