The booking engine is your hotel’s first real test in the consumer journey, so it’s crucial to iron out any flaws which could prevent a prospect from making that all-important room reservation. Here we take a look at a few of the essential elements you must demand from your booking engine in order to provide potential customers with a positive experience, thus ensuring plenty of conversions…
First, let’s break down the basics:
A traditional hotel booking system is comprised of three essential elements:
1. Search – the prospect types in a request.
2. Results – the result of this request are displayed.
3. Validation – the prospect proceeds to make a booking.
This is tied closely to the buyers own thought process when making a booking. Even with the most ‘creative’ of booking engines for hotels
, it is vital that the design process does not stray too far from the fulfilment of these components.
So how do we optimise these elements to ensure a customer-friendly process?
The first stage is invariably about collecting some data from the potential guest:
• To make navigation faster and simpler, some hotels place the ‘Reservations’ capability directly on their landing page, allowing guests to find exactly what they need. If this isn’t feasible, it’s important to ensure that the reservation page or tab is visible immediately to the customer to make searching for their chosen dates/rates a more streamlined experience.
• Don’t overcomplicate this initial stage – stick to the absolute minimum of fields.
• This stage is all about getting them to the ‘Results’ stage – so keep it simple and clear.
The second stage is all about gathering any additional data required and prompting the customer forward to make a reservation:
• Ensure the accuracy of results. A good hotel booking engine has no room for error – and nobody wants to have to input the same criteria over and over again before getting the results they were looking for. Having to re-input the same data is detrimental to building consumer trust.
• Add-on options make for a great way to help personalise the customer experience and generate additional revenue for the venue.
• Ensure key information is highlighted and include a visual element to search results. Hotel bookings are not purely utilitarian, and potential customers will likely want to peruse their options before finalising their booking. Minimise text and optimise images.
• Ensure prices are displayed clearly. Nobody likes unexpected surprises when they concern their wallet!
This is the stage at which a prospect becomes a customer – there are certain things to keep in mind during this process:
• Emphasise the security of the transaction.
• Make sure terms and conditions are clearly displayed.
• Reiterate key information.
• Confirm – a confirmatory e-mail is almost always standard practice amongst hotels with a superior booking engine.
The most important consideration when crafting your booking engine is the needs of your customers. Think of their expectations, and ensure your booking process makes things appealing, straightforward and simple for them.
Whatever your digital needs, talk to Digital Hotelier
first. Get in touch to discuss how we can help develop the perfect booking engine for your hotel, regardless of its location or star rating.