There has been a revolution in the sale of hotel and accommodation offers for several years. Tables with prices and inquiry forms have practically disappeared from the market and have been replaced by intuitive digital booking systems. They allow hoteliers and apartment owners to increase their reach to customers, who in turn can quickly, within a few minutes, choose the best accommodation offer for themselves, make online payments and receive a booking confirmation without having to contact the reception desk. The pandemic has greatly increased the popularity of such tools: the number of implementations of booking systems is currently 50 to even 70 percent higher than in previous years.
“During the pandemic, some facilities were closed, but some industries – such as apartment rental or agritourism – tried to adapt to the prevailing restrictions. For example, apartment owners allowed business stays. Online booking systems brought them benefits and created an additional opportunity to attract guests during this difficult period. Customers searched for reservations on websites such as Booking.com, Airbnb or through the website. Owners of facilities that were not present on the Internet lost the opportunity to reach customers in fact” says Damian Wizert, product manager at IAI.
During COVID-19, fast online migration has proven to be a condition for maintaining business for many companies. The “Koronabilans SMEs” survey commissioned by the NDS was carried out in May last year. showed that already then 42 percent planned the expansion of their channels on the network, construction companies and 40 percent of manufacturing companies, i.e. industries that were not even associated with the Internet before and conducted mainly stationary activities.
It was no different in the case of the hotel and accommodation industry, which – after three lockdowns and business restrictions – turned out to be one of the most affected by the coronavirus. The lockdown loss counter launched by the Warsaw Enterprise Institute estimated that they exceeded PLN 2.1 billion. Therefore, many hoteliers and owners of accommodation facilities, in difficult realities, decided to expand their online channels and implement booking systems to increase their ability to reach customers.