Online Booking Procedure

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Topic | Online Booking
Tutorial 34

Online Booking Systems 101
This tutorial will help you understand online booking systems and review a number of tourism specific systems against certain criteria.

Reading time: 25 minutes
Prerequisite:

None

Online Booking Systems 101

1.

What is an online booking system?

Latest research suggests that 60% of travellers book online when it is available. As a tourism operator, you may therefore wish to enable your website to be booked online. An online booking system is a technology that will:



Display your availability in real time on your website and on the selected distributors’ websites
Accept payments from consumers on your own website securely and without requiring human interaction
Give you the opportunity to also make your product bookable on a variety of the selected distributors’ websites (by joining the TXA)
Update your inventory on your website and on the selected distributors’ websites (optional) when a purchase is made.





There are many online booking systems available to Australian tourism operators. They are very simple to install and can be much cheaper than custom-built systems.

a)

What are the benefits to my business?

The online booking system offers convenience as well as opportunities for exposure to new customers. It also means the booking system will automatically update your records without the need for emails and manually entering in guest details. Payment via credit card is processed online and the booking is confirmed with the guest. Online booking systems will save you a lot of time.

ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEMS PROVIDE BIG TIME SAVINGS IN HANDLING BOOKINGS, DATA-ENTRY, AVOIDING DOUBLE HANDLING OF DATA, AND STREAMLINING PAYMENTS.

They also allow you to display your availability on your website and offer reporting tools.

b)

How much does it cost?

Online booking systems vary in cost. There are generally three types of costs associated with an online booking system:
Licensing cost:

Installation and training:
Support:

Cost to use the system. It could either be a fixed monthly or annual licensing fee, a percentage of the value of the transaction (commission) or a combination of b oth. Usually includes support and upgrades to the system.

Cost to install the system and to be initially trained on how to use it. Cost for support once the system is installed. May be charged as “pay as you use”.

We recommend you do the maths and take into account the different types of costs and contact the system vendor to verify the information.

Tutorial 34, Page 1
Version 9 Last updated September 2012

Online Booking Systems 101

c)

Will it bring me any extra business?

Online booking systems can be compared to an online credit card machine: they are services that encourage and simplify a monetary transaction.
If your existing website is search engine friendly and its content is up -to-date, installing an online booking system will increase the chances for conversions (bookings) since you have made it easier for the consumer to book. They won’t require an extra step (e.g. making contact with you by phone or email) in order to purchase and they can transact with you any time of the day or night.

If your website’s content is not up to the standards of tod ay’s consumer and your site isn’t search engine friendly, you may not see a significant increase in bookings. We recommend you first work on your website and search engine strategy to ensure your website is visible to the web searcher.

By installing an online booking system on your site and joining Tourism Exchange Australia (TXA) you will enhance the visibility of your product or service, as it will be bookable on a growing number of distributor’s websites.

Installing an online booking system on your website may not provide you many extra bookings if your site’s content and functionally does not respond to the needs of your online visitor. However, an...
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