Platform Enhancements from H1 2022
The first half of 2022 was marked by massive growth for Hotel Engine. We’ve seen triple-digit expansion and more than doubled our bookings since 2021, but that’s not all. We’re on a constant quest for improvement, and all those new bookings have helped us better understand our opportunities to drive upgrades to the platform.
Let’s look back on what we’ve done so far this year to offer a better and better experience for our members. Our platform optimizations have focused on four main areas of the Hotel Engine experience: admin controls, search, checkout and payments.
We love helping our customers find great deals on their trips, but it’s just as important that we’re making things easier in their office. We have made several platform optimizations so far in 2022 aimed at simplifying the administrative tasks involved in booking and reconciling hotel stays.
First, we set up Travel Policies, which enable admins to set maximum nightly rate limits — allowing travelers to book their own rooms without exceeding budget. Different policies can be put in place for different positions and departments, and Tiered Travel Policies can automatically adjust when travelers are searching in higher-priced regions that may not have availability in the target budget range.
We also added Custom Fields for streamlined reporting. Receipts can be instantly coded by job name, job number, PO, cost center — whatever makes sense for our clients’ unique process. This customization option removes manual work and helps Accounts Payable quickly and easily connect receipts with the applicable job.
And to help travel managers get a complete picture of the company’s travel habits and expenditure, we expanded our Trends page to enable a deep dive into who’s booking, top locations, top properties and more. Checkout Verification can also help admins understand where the company is paying for room nights that go unused in order to make bookings more efficient in the future.
With over 700,000 properties available to book on Hotel Engine, we want to make sure our members are able to find exactly what they’re looking for. Thanks to improvements in the search experience, it’s now faster and easier than ever to locate the right hotel.
Members can easily find hotels they’ve loved in the past with new options to save locations and even designate favorite hotels. They can also help future travelers find the same awesome properties by leaving reviews. On the flip side, we also rolled out the option to hide properties that weren’t a good fit, so they won’t come up in search results again.
Finally, we are proud to support several government agencies, and we know that finding properties that comply with US General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rates is important. We added a Show GSA Rates option to make it quick and easy to find this information.
Saving our members money, time and stress is always our top priority. After identifying some areas of opportunity, we got to work on improving our checkout process to make it even easier to book. Members can now save payment methods and guest information, enabling a quick and easy checkout experience. Participants in our Direct Bill program can conveniently charge rooms to their accounts at checkout.
We’re also big believers in transparency, which is why we made improvements to clarify taxes and fees in the checkout process. Now, members can rest assured that there won’t be any unexpected additional charges at checkout.
Finally, we know that a big source of stress at the checkout screen is the worry that travel plans will change. We rolled out the HE Flex feature to help our members book with confidence! When the Flex option is purchased, customers can cancel their reservation and get a refund up until noon the day of check-in. The Request Late Check-In feature provides further peace of mind that should a traveler get delayed, their room will be ready and waiting for them no matter what time they arrive.
In the first half of 2022, we focused on giving our members more ways to pay, more flexibility and greater convenience. We rolled out the option to pay via ACH, and are now accepting Google Pay and Apple Pay as well.
Additionally, we complemented our Direct Bill program — which extends a line of credit to qualified members to cover bookings and incidentals — with an Autopay option. This makes the invoicing and payments process completely hands-free for our customers by consolidating all charges into one invoice that is automatically withdrawn from their bank account.
Finally, we made it easier for businesses to get the special rates they deserve at properties their travelers frequent. Members can share pre-negotiated rates so that we can negotiate the same or even better rates with those individual properties.
Phew — it’s been a busy six months here at Hotel Engine! (It’s no wonder that we’ve also added hundreds of talented new associates to help support our ambitious growth.) We’re proud of all that we’ve accomplished so far this year, and excited for the improvements that we’re already hard at work on for the second half of 2022.
Here’s to six more months of growing, learning and always improving!
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Cara Meglio is a Copywriter at Hotel Engine. She assists with content creation, researching and writing articles to help businesses improve their travel experience and discover helpful solutions with Hotel Engine. Cara has a passion for travel of all types. Based in Denver, CO, Cara loves exploring the Mountain West as well as international destinations.