How eZee reduced overbookings with the Reservations API
Founded in 2006, eZee Technosys Pvt. Ltd. (eZee) is one of a few hospitality technology providers in the world to develop and offer end-to-end hotel and restaurant solutions. Recently acquired by Yanolja, eZee has a strong hold on research and development and is introducing innovations to benefit the industry. Today eZee serves more than 13,000 clients in over 160 countries across the globe.
We spoke to Harshdeep Khatri, CTO at eZee, to find out about their recent success with reducing booking retrieval time.
Why were you looking to reduce booking retrieval time?
We’re always looking for ways to improve the user experience for our customers. Booking retrieval time is an important factor for any channel manager, because it determines the chances of overbooking for any property.
In the past, we used a linear algorithm to retrieve bookings from Booking.com via our channel manager. It worked in a round-robin manner, fetching customer bookings one hotel at a time. If there were 1000 customers, the algorithm checked for bookings for customer 1 to customer 1000 one by one, and then started with customer 1 again to continue the cycle.
As our customer base grew, it started to take longer and longer for this algorithm to fetch bookings. This meant it also took longer for our customers to receive the booking information and for the channel manager to update inventory on connected OTAs. This greatly increased the chances there would be overbookings.
How did you reduce booking retrieval time?
Booking.com’s Reservations API works in two different ways. Either it can pull bookings for every hotel with each unique hotel ID, or it can pull all pending bookings at once for connected hotels without using specific codes or IDs. Until now, we were using the former method because we had a relatively old algorithm, and we were hesitant to make the update due to the huge number of connections we had.
This was where we saw an opportunity. If we switched the Reservations API to the second method (pulling all bookings in one cycle without the hotel ID), we could reduce our retrieval time significantly. Switching reservation methods also reduced the errors generated for disconnected properties.
The Connectivity Partner Programme was a big driving factor to work on connection quality. eZee has always strived to gain 100% accuracy on quality of connection. It was extremely exciting to see that one action resulted in more than one benefit. By reducing retrieval time on reservations, we were able to reduce overbookings – as well as errors for disconnected properties. These results will have a positive effect on guest satisfaction. - Anuja Bhosle, Connectivity Partner Business Manager at Booking.com
How did you measure the success of the project?
The only metric that we focused on was booking retrieval time. It took us around 3-4 weeks to find a solution and optimise this process. We eventually brought down the booking retrieval time from over 1 minute to 5 seconds.
Although this optimisation focused primarily on a back-end process, it did impact our customers’ experience through reduced overbookings and instant updates whenever they receive a booking. They were very happy with these changes.
What did you learn from reducing the booking retrieval time?
You need to constantly look into enhancing and optimising your processes, whether internal or external. You’ll always find new ways to improve, which will eventually help you provide an even better experience to your customers. We’ll continue to look for ways to optimise our service in the best way possible.
We value our partnership with Booking.com greatly. We’re thankful to have been Booking.com’s Connectivity Partner, as they have always helped us in expanding our potential and enhancing our products over the years. They have been our true partners in every sense – guiding each other from time to time to provide a better experience to our customers through the best possible enhancements. - Harshdeep Khatri, CTO at eZee.
Do you have any advice for your industry peers who’d like to achieve similar success?
Booking.com has many APIs, and you need to constantly evaluate them to find opportunities to improve your processes. The Partner Programme outlines business growth opportunities, so following the programme really helped us to find out what to focus on.
- The Connectivity Partner Programme can help channel managers improve their performance through Booking.com APIs.
- Reducing booking retrieval time lowers the risk of overbookings from other channels.
- Limiting errors for disconnected properties was an unexpected extra benefit that came with using Booking.com’s Reservations API.