The IBE was initially developed for use on a desktop computer since the 90’s pre-dated mobile devices. A great deal has changed since then, including guest buying habits. Now today’s booking engines need to be effective on any device a traveler owns. And travelers, like most consumers, exhibit a non-linear purchase path. This requires the IBE user experience be as responsive, flexible, and frictionless as possible.
So, what is the future
of the IBE?
Today, guests are expecting a much deeper level of personalization. The future of the IBE is all about delivering exactly what the guest requires and wants during the booking process no matter what device they use or how they use it. There are some very rudimentary aspects of a booking engine that they all require. The capability to deliver results based on direct input from the guest like location, dates of stay, room type, and such - but there is so much more to be done.
Machine learning within a guest’s buying path will inevitably change the way the IBE works. It will power the relevant results for the guest during the decision-making journey and make the booking much easier, ultimately leading to increased conversion rates. Some may question the viability of machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI), but in reality, it is the obvious evolution of the IBE. There is so much data available that utilizing this information will deliver the most intuitive experience. The mining of data along with the development of specific deep learning algorithms will enable hoteliers to not only enhance the booking process but also make it feel uniquely personalized. This is the ultimate in guest service.
So much can now be accomplished
using data, not only in delivering precisely what the guest wants and requires
- but also in enhancing their stay. Within the booking flow, complementary
products and services can be offered based on other preferences like the
type of room the guest likes, whether they prefer a high floor or low floor,
whether they consistently request late check-out, and so on.
However, imagine if the booking process could also anticipate and recommend things that the guest doesn’t yet realize they want? This could include restaurant recommendations within walking distance of the hotel based on the guest’s social profile, or in-room music tailored to the guest’s public likes. The opportunities are endless, and the technology is available.
The introduction of machine learning and its complimentary cousin, artificial intelligence, will not only help the booking experience but also amplify the guest’s relationship with the hotel. When it comes to loyalty, making the booking experience easy and then utilizing the data effectively can build greater loyalty to an individual hotel or a brand than any formalized loyalty program. The future is incredibly bright for the IBE, and it will remain the most integral part of your online distribution strategy.
Want to learn more about the Pegasus IBE? Visit here to find out.
About the Author
Wirick’s passion and hands-on approach to solving customer challenges have allowed him to forge a rich career and lasting relationships around the globe. During his career, Glenn has lived the US, Asia and Europe, where he has built and managed multi-national sales and service delivery organizations. At Pegasus, his focus is on helping hoteliers continually improve and compete in a rapidly changing marketplace by applying the right innovation, expertise and resources.
Wirick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing with an emphasis in Sales and Product Management from Arizona State University. When he’s not working, Wirick enjoys outdoor activities and traveling with his wife to tropical and mountain destinations.
About Pegasus Solutions