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The business world has embraced the application of the internet to carry out many transactions. The hotel industry is no exception. The internet provides fast exchange of information between two or more parties, most of the computers on networks communicate with each other. In the hotel industry, the application of the internet in the various services such as booking of hotel rooms serves a very important function since it is efficient and people do not have to meet face to face. This means that regardless of the differences in the distances, one can book a room in a hotel of choice. One only needs to be near the internet and use the hotel website to book the room of choice (Andrews 67-122). This technology benefits the company as well as the individuals. The study of this field is important since it enlightens us on the new developments in the hotel industry in as far as technology is concerned, this also exposes the advantages that go along with the use of this technology for those individuals that use it.
Research indicates that online booking in the hotel industry is on the increase. This has been necessitated by the need to maximize profits and provide better services. Room bookings over the internet were seen to have increased by nearly four times from 1999 to 2002. This trend has increased tremendously over the years. More and more hotels have websites that give the clients a chance book rooms from whenever they may be. Zhou (67) notes that advancement in technology has lead to this trend. The following table shows how online booking has increased over the years.
Annual bookings in billions
Annual bookings in %
This increase shows that there is a growing need to embrace the new booking method. This increase has been evidenced in many parts of the world since this technology is widespread. One can also make an inference from the increase in online bookings by saying that the traditional methods of booking hotel rooms were not better. People prefer to use this booking for various reasons. Time and money are two main factors that enable the customer to choose the service provider.
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Brymer (56) defines e-commerce as the business transactions that are carried out over the internet. This includes the buying and selling of goods and services. Recently, the hotel industry has also incorporated this type of services in its operations. There are many services that are given over internet to the customers. Plunkett (564) sees this advancement as the most efficient way of offering services since customers can order these services at home or work places. This is unlike the old times when customers and service providers had to meet physically. The growing trend of the use of internet in room booking has been necessitated by the need to provide better services as well as make more profits.
The business world is constantly faced with stiff competition. Due to the competition that modern methods face from powerful traditional business, effective e-business can only occur if the customer needs are met in a better way than traditional businesses. The service providers are always out to attract more customers and at the same time retain those that they have managed to attract. When internet booking was introduced, the hotel industry did not embrace it immediately. This was until some hotels applied it and the results were amazing. More and more clients started using the service since they found it effective (O'Fallon & Rutherland 453). Most hotels also recorded an increase in the number of bookings. As compared to physical or phone bookings, internet booking attracted many clients since it allowed for flexibility; one could do the booking from anywhere. Following this, more and more people traveling preferred to book rooms via the internet, this challenged more and more hotels to provide this service over the internet since they were loosing their clients at an alarming rate.
Hotels provide information online so that the clients can have an easy time booking. This is important since the clients are not likely to be faced with hard times using the internet to do the bookings. This service also referred to as e-booking of hotel rooms, saves the hotel management in keeping records since the records do not have to be put on paper. This ensures that the bookings are done in an orderly way and it becomes easy to access the records. It is cumbersome to deal in paper especially if there are many records. Exchange of information is the key concept in the buying and selling of services. The client only needs to enter personal details and other important details; with this the process is completed. The online information can also provide important details on other services that are offered by the hotel.
Research shows that more than 90% new hotels start business using the internet. This has been prompted by the fact that application of integrated information technology in the hotel business is profitable both to the customer and the hotel management. The internet applications in this business have attracted the attention of researchers who seek to find out how this service has afforded to improve the services. New businesses have to attract the customers by providing better or similar services, as Plunkett (400) notes, clients may want to be served by a new enterprise provided the services are good even if the prices are the same as those of other providers. This is important since business picks up fast as compared to when this service is not provided.
The effectiveness of this service is further enhanced by the fact that bookings can be done at any time of day or night. This increases the number of bookings and at the same time ensures that the service accommodates all clients. This is a better version of the traditional booking methods where one could go to the hotel to book and unfortunately find out that the rooms are full. With this kind of service one can know from the booking place whether there is a vacant room. This helps in avoiding inconveniences that were evidenced in earlier times when one could physically go to book a room and find out that all rooms have been occupied. Online delivery of services makes it possible for individuals to know what hotels have vacant rooms hence one can jet in any time of night or day with the assurance of getting the room which he or she gad booked.
For any service to be preferred, it must provide its clients with some advantages. These can include wider selection, better options, quality services than that of others, and convenience. The online booking service is cheap; this is because one saves both money and time. In terms of money, one does not have to go to the hotel physically or call to book the room since this can be readily done online, this can apply to people who come from far, also one saves a lot of time which can be used in doing other constructive activities. Clients will prefer online services that provide quality services and at the same time cheaper (Dopson & Hayne 46). This is why you will find the websites of some hotels are visited frequently than others.
Factors determining the use of online bookings
Hotel size is one of the most important determinants of the availability of online booking of rooms via the internet. Big hotels are likely to use this service since they provide more services and their profit margins are high, also this kind of service is only common among such hotels. This is one of the marketing strategies that big hotels have to apply so that they can attain competitive advantage with the competitors. These hotels benefit a great deal from this service hence its use is called for. According to Elliot (23-46) small hotels cannot benefit from this service since the bookings are done by dignified people who will definitely opt for a hotel that provides five star services. Many people prefer to do their bookings with these hotels since they believe that this is likely to provide security. The smaller hotels are characterized with insecurity hence they are not a preference unless in extreme circumstances. People can easily access the hotel building and its location from the online services provided hence one chooses the hotel that best suites his or her needs.
The hotel star rating is also a major determinant. Hotels that are rated five stars are booked more since they are widely known; these hotels have good services although they are a bit expensive. The bookings that are done in these hotels are done by foreigners and important business people. This is because most locals cannot afford the cost of these rooms. The hotel star rating determines the cost of the room hence people get to choose their room of choice. In most cases, the size of the hotel is an indication of the online services that the hotel provides, hotel room booking being one of the most important. Star rating also gives a clue on the quality of services provided, five star provide better services that those with less stars. This is in terms of the size of the room and cleanliness (Nolan 78-80).
The star rating of hotel also determines the type of clients that book the rooms. Banerjee (67) notes that class is evident in today's society where it forms the basis for establishing where one will eat and sleep. The rooms are booked according to ones class, the rich will opt for five star hotels while the poor book rooms that are cheap. The prices for the rooms are displayed so that one can choose one that best suite him or her, the difference in prices is determined by the degree of luxury in the room. The management of such hotels is aware of what kind of services that the clients demand hence they are out to satisfy these needs so that they can retain their customers.
The type of the hotel also determines the use of the internet in booking rooms. There are hotels that only provide catering services while some offer accommodation to its clients (Khosrowpour 67). The former cannot therefore offer online booking services since services are limited to meals. The later will have online booking services for its clients. The hotels and the rooms are located together for convenience. Clients will have their meals at the hotel and go to the booked room; food can also be brought to the client's room if he or she request. Hotels that do not use internet in the bookings conduct the booking process using paper; this kind of service is preferred by those who are not aware of online booking. This is because despite the fact that hotels have adopted the use of online room booking services, the traditional method is still used since not everyone access the internet at any time of day or night (WEbReserv.eu 9).
Geographical differences between the client and the hotel also determine the use of online bookings. People who come from far away lands have to do their booking earlier especially if they are traveling. This helps in avoiding inconveniences that may result from this kind of booking. Some hotels reserve their rooms for people who are within the country of in the vicinity.
Internet has evidently revolutionized the process of booking rooms in hotels. Online services of hotel booking are becoming very popular in the hotel industry (Nolan & Fung & Brown 87-88). This has made it possible for travelers to book rooms using online security. This is important since it protects the clients' privacy. One can compare the prices and facilities by looking at online travel agents available. Before the introduction of online services, individuals were forced to write, call the hotel via a telephone or use a travel agent to make the reservation for those who were traveling (Leisure & Travel 5). Today, one can readily book a room in a hotel of choice since there are pictures of the rooms as well as the prices. The online services have been preferred by many since they are efficient. The services are important to travelers who make the travel arrangement late; this would have been difficult earlier since the process demanded more time.
Increased popularity results from the effectiveness of the system. More people prefer to use the services since it saves both time and money. The hotels have also benefited from this technology since more and more clients are opting to use this service instead of using traditional methods. This method is efficient both to the hotel management and the clients. The websites that have been established specifically for online bookings have sufficient information that can give the client an idea of what kind of a room to book (Wei & Ruys & Combrink 239) this also helps one to choose the room of choice.
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The online booking method is efficient as compared to traditional methods. The process that one had to follow earlier demanded a lot of time since some time was required before the response was given. Theses methods did not provide enough information hence the one could not be sure about what kind of room has been reserved. In most cases, the clients were not satisfied with the kind of rooms that were reserved. This is due to the fact that the details provided could not give the client a good picture of the room so reserved.
The price of the room depends on the location and the facilities that are available. The booking is made easier by the availability of websites that deal with searches for rooms. The client is required to visit the websites so that he or she can book the room of choice. There are many approaches that can be applied in making the reservations. A big number of the online reservation systems apply centralized Distribution Systems (GDS), these are very useful since they make it possible for clients to make reservations directly with the hotel (ArticlesBase 5). Travelport, Sabre, and WorldSpan are good examples of GDS. This system operates in such a way that one does not have to pay during the reservation, rather, one pays during check in or out. Hotels should ensure that the clients are able to make accurate online bookings by providing instructions incase the customer is using the system for the first time.
Integrated information technology can benefit the hotel industry greatly by the use of online booking services. This is vital as it helps in improving services and at the same time lead to profit maximization. Research has shown that the hotel industry has embraced the idea of booking rooms via the internet (Nikolis 4). This has increased the number of bookings hence increasing the profits. This system is also efficient in such a way that it provides accurate information concerning the hotel rooms. All that the hotel industry has to do is to warn the travelers of fake agents that steal money from people, one can therefore lose money to them or travel thinking that a room has been reserved while this is not the case.
The hotel industry is aware of the increased use of the internet to do the bookings; this ensures that efficient services are provided to clients (Mind Tools 4). This is one of the things that have necessitated the need to provide online booking services to the public. Competition in this industry has also necessitated the need for the application of the service. This helps in maintaining clients and attracting more (Edmonds 7). Clients are keen on the type of service that is provided in terms of efficiency hence one is able to choose the best service provider. This further makes the key players in this industry to come up with better methods of serving clients online by doing things like making the booking process an easy process. Clients will not prefer websites that provide instruction that do not observe clarity. Online booking of rooms is a delicate matter hence the information provided needs to be clear.
The online booking of rooms is common among business travelers and those on vocation. These groups have proved that the rate of booking the hotels is much lower when using the internet that through the traditional methods (Johnson 12). It has also been proven that different people have different preferences of the rooms to book, while some are only interested in a good night's sleep, some need more facilities in the room. The price of the room depends on the facilities that are available, Lipka (12) compares hotel rooms to a train where one can pay more and be on first class while others remain in normal classes, according to him, this is the same case with rooms, one can pay more and receive better services since the facilities in the room will be more.
Online booking services for hotel rooms have undertaken the traditional methods of booking rooms where one had to follow a long process to receive the service. Today, more and more hotels are embracing the idea of providing these services online. There was a sharp increase in the number of online bookings between the years 1999 to 2005. this is because more hotel owners has realized that this method is effective since it ensures that professional services are provided and at the same time the hotel is in a good position to make profit. Research has shown that there are several factors that determine whether a hotel going to apply the online booking services, the star rating of the hotel is one of them. The service of online booking of hotel rooms is made effective by the fact that there are websites that provide proper guidelines on the good hotel rooms.