With the number of travel bookings made online approaching 150 million every year, and online travel agents taking commission for bookings, it’s imperative that a hotel’s online booking engine is working for it and not against it.
Unfortunately for many hoteliers, their hotel booking software is not as efficient as it could be and this is costing hotels precious direct bookings every day.
So, if you’re looking to convert website visitors into hotel guests, you’ll need to ensure you provide a user-friendly and seamless experience for your web traffic. However, simply making sure your site is mobile-friendly and creating a multi-lingual website are no longer enough. You need to ensure you are able to attract visitors away from OTAs, nurture their journey through your site and keep them there until the end of the booking process. If you’re facing a draught of direct bookings or have noticed that your abandoned cart figures have reached unacceptable levels, it could well be that the fault lies with your hotel booking software.
Try our top tips for overhauling your booking engine for website optimization and an improved visitor experience.
It’s all well and good piquing their interest, but to ensure potential guests turn into booked guests, you need to create urgency around the booking. And the best way to do this is via urgency messages. To do this, you can simply draw attention to rates and availability during the browsing process in order to make guests think they will miss out if they don’t book immediately. Proven to increase conversions, urgency messages, such as ‘Only four rooms left at this price’, ‘No booking fee for limited time’, and ‘Free cancellation’ are perfect examples. Your hotel booking software should allow you to add these urgency messages as standard. If not, it may be time to invest in a more sophisticated booking engine for website use.
Introduce early-bird rates (and last-minute rates)
‘The earlier you book, the cheaper the deal’. This is something that consumers have become familiar with. To make the most of early bookers, you need to set up – and promote – early-bird rates. Not only will this guarantee you sell rooms, but it will boost your short-term cashflow. Likewise, last-minute rates provide guaranteed short-term occupancy, and just like the above, boost short-term cashflow. Should you go down this route however, it’s best to use this in conjunction with urgency messages.
Integrate the booking engine and the website
Online booking is all about providing a seamless, user-friendly experience for website visitors. And making sure your booking engine and website work in harmony will make the guests’ booking experience that much easier, while also ensuring it looks trustworthy to those who may be unfamiliar with booking online.
Make it SEO-friendly
With so much competition, it’s vital a hotel website is SEO-optimised. Online bookings are all about visibility. And you can do all the work you want on your booking system, but if potential guests can’t find you online, then it’s all for nothing.