For last 6-8 months have meet lot of small hotel/guest house property owners interested in starting to accepting customer bookings online for their property. In terms of options available there are lot of hotel management software which are basically property management software which not only takes care of online customer booking but other things like staff regulation, property maintenance, billing etc. Though what hotel owners are really looking for is very primary very basic something which allows them to daily update their available inventory online and accept customer bookings for same.
If you are one of those same hotel owners just looking for very basic and functional way to convert customers coming on your website. Then you need not to be worried about investing in something fancy like a property management software. What you are looking for is Payment gateway services which are offered by Banks like Axis, HDFC,ICICI,Citibank in India enabling you to accept master card,visa etc.
Kind of payment gateway you should select is dependent on kind of target customers for your product. If your property is based out of a destination which attract higher propotion of Domestic Travellers instead of international then you shoud look at have payment methods visa,master card and others like Debit Cards, Net Banking as other payment modes for booking and reservations.
If you are looking to attract international tourists then simple Master Card, Visa and American Express should be certain choice of pay mode acceptance.
Once you have defined the payment modes which you would accept one needs to go into details of transaction fees which these banks will charge on each transaction and also monthly or annual fees one need to pay for maintaining such services on ones website. Generally these payment gateway fees can vary between 2-10% dependent on volume and number of payment acceptance modes selected. Ideally one should not go for more than 7% transaction fees and avoid using international payment gateway services like Paypal etc due to higher transaction fees one needs to shed for transfering amount deposited with them in your name to local bank and effect of money loss due to currency fluctuations.
Once you have selected payment gateway then you need a shopping cart or booking reservation engine to which the payment gateway would be integrating here again providers like CC Avenue have payment gateway enabled hotel reservation software called resavenue which at a monthly fees and higher transaction fees offer its software on pay as you use model. Though this can be a good startup option i personally recommend spending 15-25,000 INR as one time setup fees to buy the software and negotiate on lower per transaction fees with the gateway provider which on good negotiation can be brought down easily below 5%. Which if your hotel is able to do 20-30% of its business from online booking then cost of software upfront is recovered within 10-14 months depending on size of property or number of rooms.
Once through with accepting bookings online the next stage is for monitoring those bookings and updating on daily basis room status. There are payment gateway service providers which will be ready to take this up for you and would suggest smaller hotels to use their services for inital 6-8 months till the time website is stabilized.
If you need help in selecting provider just leave comment on post and will try to help you in whatever way possible in selecting the right provider for your property.