What Sends Customers Running from Your Site and How Can Your Booking Engine Pick Up the Challenge?
Attracting visitors to your website is just half the battle; keeping them there is the real test. More challenging than you may think, how a website is built can make or break your hotel. There are fundamental dos and don’ts when it comes to a hotel website and a hotel reservation system – all of which are not abundantly clear from the get-go. So what does cause customers to run from your site and what can you do to stop this from happening?
A complex booking processes
A hotel reservation system should be simple to navigate and even easier to complete from a guest perspective. Even the savviest computer users will not want to sift through lengthy instructions and steps to confirm their booking; they want a simple, hassle-free and fast process that gives them what they want so they can move on to the next thing. Few of us want to spend ages filling in tedious forms and forcing guests to register before they can make a reservation or failing to offer social media log-in further complicates matters.
To overcome the prospect of turning guests off, do some testing and ask for feedback. If any of the users say it has taken too long to confirm a booking, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Don’t be afraid to perform formal A/B testing and change small elements to measure the impact on booking confirmations.
You need to be transparent with your pricing as hidden costs are one of the biggest turn-offs for guests. After all, guests don’t want to arrive at the payment screen only to find the price has increased from what was advertised. To help avoid this, it’s important to keep things simple. Adding tax, VAT etc. afterwards is confusing for guests, so to streamline the process you need to advertise one, final figure and keep this consistent throughout. Likewise, if you offer any add-ons such as cancellation cover, they should be clearly displayed and easy to select or deselect.
Few or no reviews
Websites like TripAdvisor have made reviews a must for travellers. In fact, the first port of call for many guests, before they even think about parting with their money, are recent reviews. Should your website not boast a selection of impartial reviews you could be missing out on countless potential guests. The best way to highlight these is to have a dedicated area on your site and feature positive reviews on key call-to-action pages in order to evoke confidence in your services. It’s also an idea to include the recognisable TripAdvisor logo and score on your website, as well as any accolades won.
Guests that come back time and time again will want to feel valued. And a vital part of good digital marketing for hotels is personalisation. Creating a dedicated area for returning guests or introducing a rewards system not only encourages them to return by offering personalised deals and preferences, but also provides optimum insights for the hotelier. This can all help when it comes to understanding guests’ changing behaviour.