With the challenge from online travel agents and the need to compete with competitors, the battle for direct bookings is one that is fought in multiple channels and across multiple customer touch points. While your digital marketing strategy is absolutely critical for pulling potential guests into your sales funnel and channelling them through your site to make a booking with you, your hotel website booking engine is the single most influential tool at your disposal for driving up RevPar from direct bookings.
The right booking engine makes the act of making a reservation a breeze. It reassures customers, instils trust, streamlines the process of making a booking and allies guest fears, needs and queries at each stage of the booking. It will allow for add-ons without complication, facilitate price comparison to ensure guests know they’re getting the best option for their budget and it will be accessible across mobile and desktop devices with no unnecessary form fields, multiple payment options and secure payment processing.
Get it wrong of course and you risk abandoned bookings and lost revenue. You may even erode customer confidence, cause guest uncertainty or send your hard-earned potential booking running in the direction of a direct competitor.
Here at Digital Hotelier, we know more than a few things about what makes a superior hotel website booking engine. We have poured all of this knowledge and know-how into our own hotel website booking engine product. If you aren’t using it yet and are failing to make the conversions that you need to achieve your direct booking and occupancy targets, read on to find out which five front-end features make our hotel website booking engine superior.
1. Price check feature
Our hotel website booking engine has a handy price check feature. This compares room prices across various channels and displays them in one place, in a customized widget on your website. This feature reassures users they should book directly without any time-consuming shopping around being necessary.
2. Power selling
We’ve built in strike-through pricing displays and periodic prompts to create a sense of urgency and compel an action in the form of a booking. Custom notifications are designed to enhance conversion. Active room listings also reassure, with value messaging and social endorsement to further nurture the booking and amp up your website’s sales performance.
3. Flexible stay options
Many travellers will want flexibility when browsing for a room and will often want to see prices displayed around their chosen dates. Our hotel website booking engine displays a +/- 3 days radio button which offers customers alternative stay dates if there is no availability on their requested dates. This added flexibility streamlines the search process for guests, making it more likely they’ll find a room the like, at a price within budget, quickly and easily, and encouraging conversion.
4. Calendar view availability
Display anything from a week’s worth to a year’s worth of live inventory with our clear and intuitive calendar view format. This is a great feature for extended stay guests and serviced apartment providers. It makes trip planning quick and easy and reduces the risk of booking abandonment.
5. Abandonment messaging
Our hotel website booking engine reduces basket abandonment with automatic messaging. As well as Price Check, a pop-up also prompts the customer to confirm either resuming the same booking on their return to the website, or starting a new booking. If an email address has been provided on the payment page, you can ask the customer to opt-in to email them so that they can continue their journey from a hyperlink within the email. This also gives you the option to tailor the messaging, for example by offering a cheaper price if applicable to their criteria.