Despite the online booking process becoming an increasingly hot topic as hotels struggle to close the gap between guest and the hotel itself, most hotels still treat their website and hotel booking engine as two separate things. And it’s not hard to see why; you probably got your website built by your external web design company, while your booking engine is built and likely developed and managed elsewhere by a different team, in a different company. The two don’t often talk to each other (if at all), and although you’re usually left with two amazing platforms, they don’t always work well together and function as cohesively as they should.
Once upon a time this wasn’t too much of a problem, however web design for hotels has changed. With advances in technology and demands from potential guests, those who don’t update their hotel booking engine can end up suffering the consequences. API and platform integration developments mean that websites and booking engines need to work together as one, simple to use booking platform in order to offer a great user experience from start to finish. So how can you do this?
Make it simple
Nowadays, website systems are able to pull information from the CRS in real-time in order for the current pricing to be highlighted on the homepage. This is an imperative part of the process as not only does it provide transparent prices to potential guests and highlight great rates, but also makes it easy for guests to reserve rooms by taking them directly to the booking engine in a user-friendly way. Modern consumers are impatient, they will abandon pages that don’t load quickly and they’ll soon lose patience with complicated processes. Your hotel booking engine should be a seamless extension of your site, presenting the necessary information clearly with minimal barriers to reservation.
Make mobile work for you
More people are using mobile devices to book hotels than ever before, especially within the Millennial demographic. So it’s important that your system is integrated to ensure that not just your website is optimised for mobile, but also your booking platform too. This will provide the seamless and user-friendly experience for guests that both you and they strive for. Ignoring mobile will not only harm your search engine ranking and user friendliness rating, it can will prove detrimental in the long run by encouraging guests to take their future bookings elsewhere.
Link up with other tech
Creating a seamless, frictionless system makes it easy to utilise other technologies that will boost conversion rates. Highlighting the number of rooms remaining via widgets and including a countdown clock are simple ways to add urgency and capture those all-important direct bookings. Simple features to add, they provide the urgency hotels crave, while implying the guest is getting a better deal than others. However one of the finest, and easiest ways to really boost your chances of getting a booking is to use an automated best rate guarantee seal and couple this with any TripAdvisor award badges and widgets to display positive reviews on your site. Integrating with other well known brands via plug-in or widget should be straightforward if your site and booking engine work in harmony.