The eBooking Serbia portal was launched in early 2019, and the preparation started in mid-2018. The owners got the idea to launch this service several years ago, but they believed that apartment owners and hospitality businesses were not as willing to go for electronic booking, as computer literacy was not as widespread yet in this field, the director and owner of eBooking Serbia, Vojkan Nikodijevic, says for eKapija.
– Last year, our friend from the USA booked accommodation in 7 cities in Russia, which he visited to attend the World Cup, through the booking.com website. Unfortunately, in two places, he had to sleep in his car as the accommodation had been leased to someone else, and in one place he was asked to pay double the booking price. We then decided to launch this after all, but to make the booking system secure for both guests and providers of accommodation – Nikodijevic says.
All hospitality business, owners of private accommodation and owners leasing their apartments for a day can advertise their accommodation for free. In order for a piece of accommodation to be allowed to advertise, the owner needs to register either as a company or as a natural person. After the registration and the verification, they can set up their accommodation facilities and units within their properties, set up parameters for each facility and unit and, of course, run an electronic overview of the occupancy of each individual accommodation unit. As our interviewee says, they are obliged to show their facilities as they are, without false images or data, as that can get them permanently banned from the portal.
– At the moment, there are 1,286 registered apartment owners and hospitality businesses and more and more are registering each day – Nikodijevic says.
When browsing the portal, guests need to select the place, the time of arrival and the time of departure, the number of persons and the number of accommodation units required. When they find suitable accommodation, they are displayed everything the facility offers based on their search parameters (number of adults and children) and offered a price.
– When they select the offer, they get a full overview of who the owner is, what they’ve booked, how much they need to pay in advance and how much upon arrival, whether they are looking to stay the night only or additional services (if they are offered) and they make the payment at a click. Of course, if they are visiting for the first time, they need to enter their full name, email and phone number (if required). The next click leads them to the payment form through the bank’s secure connection. Once this is completed, they get an email confirming the reservation, and the owner is informed of the new reservation – Nikodijevic explains and adds that they also plan to introduce a rent-a-car reservation service in due time.
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