Guests prefer online reservations
Hotel reservations through online services have been replacing the conventional booking system by travel agencies or on-site individual orders.
Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta Putra, owner of Griya Santrian Hotel in Sanur, shared with Bali Daily recently that 40 percent of his hotel’s guests had made reservations through its websites.
“The majority of hotels, villas and accommodation in Bali, Sanur and Kuta in particular, have started to receive online reservations over the last two years thanks to fast-changing communications technology,” Sidharta said.
However, Sidharta said they still have close cooperation with domestic and international travel agencies to attract guests and take direct orders from individuals.
“There is a drastic pattern change in the hotel reservation business worldwide,” Sidharta said. In the past, he added, most hotels had to establish mutual agreements with travel agencies to manage their guests.
“If we didn’t have an agreement with certain travel agencies, we could not get any reservation from the agencies’ clients,” he noted.
Perry Markus, secretary of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurants Association, said the changes had reached out to all sectors in tourism across the world.
The online system had been common in banking and finance, now it had embraced hotels, restaurants and accommodation.
Even non-star hotels, villas and home stays are selling their rooms online.
An owner of some small villas in Tegalalang near Ubud admitted that she has a flourishing business thanks to her active online marketing.
“I have already received room reservations for the summer holiday, Christmas and New Year holidays from my clients all over the world,” she said.
Actually, she has only three Javanese Joglo-style villas with a swimming pool.
Markus said to anticipate increasing online reservations, hotel managements in Bali had established special divisions to manage their online marketing systems.
“This system has altered the fixed reservation to a market-oriented system. The rates for hotel rooms move very fast depending on the market demand,” Markus said.
Customers, he said, could benefit from the system if they could make early reservations. “They can get cheaper room rates,” Markus said.
There were other consequences too, he said. “We cannot make any prediction about the real occupancy rates of hotels in Bali, because online booking has made it so dynamic. Reservations can be made within minutes,” he said.
In the past, all hotel reservations by travel agencies were made months before the guests’ arrivals.
There was also a downside to the online reservation system, he added. “The room rates could be more expensive when people mad online reservations. The marketing agencies usually increase the prices before selling them online,” he added.
Sidharta stressed that it was difficult to categorize the characteristics of the guests making reservations at the hotels through online services.