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Things You Need to Know to Choose the Right Distribution Platform

Hotel Spider
Features | 9 Jun 2022

The hospitality industry is known to have a stigma for being slow at adopting technology and catering to the dynamic needs of travelers. But that’s changing quickly now, especially after the 2-year long slump in 2020-21 due to COVID-19.

Seasoned hoteliers are beginning to embrace hotel technology to make their operations easier, quicker, and more affordable. As more hotels adopt technology, there is more software available in the market designed to fit the needs of hoteliers.

These software solutions can handle almost all the complex operations of hotels including distribution, channel management, guest experience, channel management, revenue management, and sales.

According to one report, nearly 57% of hoteliers expect to financially recover to their 2019 levels by 2022. What’s more, an increasing number of hoteliers (18%) expect to financially recover to 2019 levels by 2023.

Considering these stats, it’s clear that hoteliers in 2022 are laser-focused on ways to reduce their expenses and adopt more cost-effective tools and marketing strategies. And the best way to do that is to adopt affordable hotel technology.

Let’s talk about the key technologies that play a role in helping hotels manage and run their operations in an easier and more affordable manner.

What are the key hotel tech solutions you need in 2022? 

While there are many different software tools and platforms in the hospitality industry, the ones that are the most important for your hotel are as follows:

  • Channel Manager
  • Direct booking engine
  • Property management system

Each of these tools plays a different role and helps you achieve a different goal for your hotel business. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each of these solutions does.

1. Online Distribution Platform (or Channel Manager)

An online distribution platform helps you connect, manage, and modify your distribution channels under one platform. You can list all your rooms on different distribution channels at the same time. It automatically updates your inventory and rates on all sites in real-time whenever a change occurs like when you close a room for sale, get a new online booking, or cancellation takes place.

2. Direct Booking Engine

A hotel booking engine is an application on your hotel website to help you get commission-free direct bookings. This way you don’t have to pay to third-party distribution platforms like OTAs or META search engines for bookings made via them.

3. Property Management Software (PMS)

A PMS is typically a software tool that enables a hotel to manage front-office operations like booking reservations, guest check-in/check-out, managing room rates, and billing. While this software is extremely useful, it can also be time-consuming.

Benefits of Using an Online Distribution Platform

There are plenty of benefits of an online distribution platform for your hotel, especially if we look at cloud-based platforms. For example, Hotel-Spider is a SaaS-based online distribution platform that benefits from AWS technology to offer a seamless experience to hoteliers.

With the power of AWS, we’re able to provide easy-to-use, flexible, and cost-effective solutions to our hoteliers. Moreover, the best part about an AWS-based platform is that it’s extremely reliable, scalable, and secure.

Having cloud-based software in your hotel tech stack can benefit you in many ways.

  • It allows faster distribution channel management, saving time and money
  • Automated software can help you reduce manual booking mistakes
  • You get access to key data and metrics
  • It offers seamless direct hotel bookings
  • Improves revenue and business performance
  • Helps with data protection and is secure
  • Reduces overhead expenses

These are just some of the benefits of cloud tech for hotels. Furthermore, a SaaS-based software like ours can also help you get more transparency in your hotel system. For instance, we don’t just offer a modern and easy-to-use extranet but also give you access to real-time data, revenue management, and excellent customer support.
Hotel tech like an online distribution platform helps both hoteliers and their guests. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 64% of travelers said investment in hotel technology that enhances the guest experience is crucial for hotels.
A simple example of this is the increasing use of mobile to make hotel bookings online. Travelers rely heavily on using mobile devices for research and planning their trips. If your hotel has a good online presence with visually engaging content like HD photos, videos, good customer reviews, and exciting offers, and is widely present on a large number of OTAs and META search engines, the chances of travelers making an online booking with your hotel increase significantly.

Plus, if you have a direct booking engine on your website and offer good pricing on your hotel rooms, you can draw a lot of attention from your potential hotel guests.

Key Things Hotels Should Consider When Choosing an Online Distribution Platform

By now, you should have a good idea about the different types of hotel technology you need for your business and what are the benefits of cloud technology. Next up, let’s talk about what exactly you should look for when choosing a cloud platform for your hotel.

#1. Modern and Ease of Use

Whether you’re a beginner or someone who has experience with hotel technology, you’ll ideally want to look for an online distribution platform that has a modern and easy-to-use interface. Using complex software will only take more of your staff’s time and effort. And ease of use doesn’t just apply to visuals but the overall simplicity of software.
We’d recommend you take a free consultation call, discuss your pain points, and directly ask your distribution provider about the ease of use of the platform.
Here are a couple of questions you could ask your provider:

#2. Integration with PMS

It’s very important to choose a hotel distribution platform that is compatible with your Property Management System (PMS). Such two-way integrations help you automate the otherwise cumbersome process of manually updating OTAs and other distribution channels with inventory and prices.

This integration allows real-time sync, so travelers will see the exact number of available rooms, beds, prices, and more on OTAs and other channels. In turn, you can avoid overbooking and price disparity.
In a nutshell, you don’t need to log in to each OTA’s extranet separately to update your inventory and rates – all of it is automatically done when your PMS is integrated with your distribution platform.

#3. Check whether the system has configuration flexibility

There are plenty of hotel distribution platforms and booking engines available in the market today. But there is only a handful that can truly fit your hotel needs. One of the key features to look for in your online distribution platform is if it offers flexible configuration depending on your needs.
Keep in mind that your channel manager should help you increase your online visibility and attract more travelers, so it must connect with different online distribution channels that are optimal for your hotel and the experience you offer. If your audience is mostly local, you’d want to connect with OTAs that are more popular in your country. Similarly, if you’re a luxurious hotel chain that wants to attract a global audience, you’d want to keep a mix of both local and global OTAs, and your channel manager should allow it.
Note: Connecting with popular OTAs and META like Booking.com & Expedia cannot be ignored. But you also need to leverage niche distribution channels that cater to your property’s unique experiences and audience.

#4. Assess analytics and reporting capabilities

Opt for a hotel distribution software that offers detailed analytics and reporting. Insights from different OTAs, booking engines and META search channels can help you understand which channels bring you the highest online bookings, along with how you can optimize your distribution strategy and increase your revenue across different departments of your hotel.
Some of the most important metrics to track include booking volume, parity rate, revenue per channel, and total revenue for a specific amount of time. Reports based on these analytics will help you develop your distribution strategy.

#5. Local Customer Support and Training

You’ve researched various online distribution platforms and booking engines, compared their features and even bookmarked those that meet your requirements. Now, it’s time to dig a little deeper and researches how much LOCAL customer support and training these solutions offer to you.Getting your queries solved in your local language and your local time zone is very important. It’s more convenient and much better than waiting around for answers. Also, features like free migration services, onboarding, and customer training are things you might want to consider while looking for an online distribution platform.

You wouldn’t want to keep waiting for 10-12 hours just to hear from your provider while you’re experiencing severe load on your software or having a price disparity crisis, would you?

#6. Security Features and Upgrades

Your hotel deals with your guests’ sensitive data such as their personal information, credit card details, and more. Your hotel management software like your PMS, booking engine, and channel manager as well as other distribution partners must handle this data with the utmost security and privacy.

Ask your provider about security features and major compliance standards like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). On another note, ask your provider how frequently they offer upgrades, security patches, and additional fees and how easily you can install these updates.

For instance, Hotel-Spider offers local servers in your country which allows quick, automatic deployment of upgrades as soon as they are released in the environment. In simple terms, you don’t need to take care of things like security, hosting, and upgrades with our extranet, as our team does it all.

  • Does the platform have an intuitive interface?
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Can you add, delete, and modify inventory, prices, and so on by yourself?
  • If you get stuck at some point, how easily and quickly can you reach out to the customer support team?

 

What Makes Hotel-Spider Better Than Other Platforms?

Selecting easy-to-use AND powerful hotel distribution software isn’t easy. There are platforms that offer comprehensive features and they tap into all the tools a hotelier might need. Often, such platforms are too complex or advanced for most hoteliers.

Now there’s a whole other segment of cloud-based tech that focuses on customer needs and that’s exactly where Hotel-Spider positions itself. We play to our strengths and offer all the core features you will need to run and manage your hotel successfully in 2022.

We take a quality-first approach, meaning we aren’t your run-off-the-mill channel manager that offers a thousand different features. Hotel-Spider is an online distribution platform designed to address specific challenges of hoteliers globally like time-consuming software and powerful but expensive tools. Hotel-Spider strikes the right balance between ease of use, features, and pricing.

#1. Focus on core functionality

With an easy and intuitive interface, our extranet helps you connect, modify, and manage your distribution channels seamlessly. We offer 2-way connectivity with OTAs meaning you can do both – push inventory and rates to different OTAs and fetch online bookings from them.
Furthermore, we offer connections with distribution channels like Global Distribution System (GDS), booking engine, and META search channels.
Remember the more distribution channels you connect with, the higher your online visibility, and the higher your online bookings.

#2. We leverage automation

To make it easier and quicker for you, Hotel-Spider relies on automation. We make sure that you save time, cost, and effort by automating at least 80% of your manual tasks, if not more.
You can automate your online distribution to the extent that you can run everything smoothly without spending more than 20 minutes/day on the software. No more extended hours in handling different distribution channels or avoiding price disparity issues.

#3. We are mobile-friendly

Another important aspect for us is mobile-friendliness. With a mobile-first approach, we have built a conversion-focused booking engine that easily integrates with your website. Our idea is to empower hoteliers, just like you, to get more direct online bookings and increase their revenue.

With Spider-booking, you have complete control over your story and content. Everything from the types of photos and videos you want to upload to room types, prices, facilities, and more - you can customize your booking engine as per your requirements.

#4. Higher internet speed and scalability

We use cloud servers (AWS) which allow us to offer more scalability to our hoteliers. This means our software can adapt in size according to the increase and decrease in workload as your hotel’s needs scale up or down.
And since we are not tied down to only one specific location, this allows us to offer more internet stability and speed to our hoteliers. You can work from anywhere, anytime. Besides, cloud servers like ours have zero downtime deployment, so your solutions are automatically upgraded even while users are using the platform, facilitating uninterrupted workflow.

#5. Conversion-focused solutions

Each one of our solutions – channel manager to booking engine – is 100% conversion-oriented. We have spent years of research, conducted surveys, and performed hundreds of A/B tests to develop and design the optimal interface and functionalities ideal for hoteliers in today’s dynamic market.
We focus on helping hoteliers drive more online bookings and increase revenue. We help you increase conversions and turn your visitors into paying hotel guests by optimizing your distribution strategy and testing different aspects – easily and quickly, and without the need of tech experts or IT support.

#6. Premium customer support and training

Hotel-Spider is a Swiss-engineered product. Coming from one of the most hospitable markets, it isn’t surprising how much we emphasize customer support and experience. Our operations team and customer support team offer dedicated support, meaning there’s no wait time, no delayed responses, and no mediocre responses.

We maintain high-quality customer support standards and offer free training to ALL our hoteliers regardless of their pricing plans. We ensure that all customer queries are answered instantly. Furthermore, we offer free training services and free onboarding sessions. So if you’re a beginner, don’t worry, our team has you covered.
Ready to Book a Free Consultation Call?
At this point, we have covered most of the important topics you need to know about.

  • The benefits of using cloud technology
  • The key things you should look for in a distribution platform
  • The best hotel distribution platform in the market for your hotel

We know that using technology or upgrading your existing hotel tech stack can be intimidating. To make it simpler and quicker for hoteliers, Hotel-Spider’s team helps you set up your entire distribution platform in just a few minutes.

We even help you pick the right distribution channels that are best suited for your property type, traveler type, and prices. From the very beginning, you’ll be with a team of experts who have the best strategies, distribution channels, and tips to help you achieve your hotel business goals.
If you want to try out our extranet, book a free consultation call with us today.

 

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