A hotel’s website is an extremely crucial sales and marketing tool. How a website is designed and the amount of thought given to the website strategy can determine whether or not we are able to get maximum number of lookers on our website, interested enough to click on the very vital Book Now button. Once the prospective guest has landed on our booking page we are at the last leg of our online booking cycle. To ensure maximum conversion on this phase of sales cycle, it is important to have a booking form that converts the lookers into bookers. (Read: Turn Your Website Lookers Into Bookers)
Let’s take a look at the important factors of the booking page:
The information on the booking form needs to be precise. The guest should not have limited information and needn’t go to other places to hunt for information. Booking policies, cancellation policies, different packages, rates, offers, services and other information need to be presented in a way which is direct and easy to navigate through the web form.
The booking form needs to be simple, easy and as short as possible. We know that it would be great to capture all sorts of information about the guest. The colour preferences, allergies, interests, hobbies and so on but research suggests that if the form is tedious and long, there are high number of chances that your guest will lose interest in the activity and deviate to other sites. Hence, first step is to get rid of the optional fields. This information can be gathered later once the reservation is done through a follow up mail.
Another important factor while designing the forms is to make sure there are enough user instructions and examples. Also, error reporting should be clear and we should direct the guest on what needs to be done in order to fill the form correctly.
Address the fear of the online
Many guests fear about the security and privacy of their data and credit card information. Information on policies, terms, security and warranties should be clearly mentioned. Also, HTTPS protocol (secure communication over computer network) must be added that will provide a sense of assurance, making the guest feel more confident about online reservation.
Impress and win from competition
The biggest competitors for your booking sites are OTAs. The guest may decide to book through an OTA instead of going to the website directly. OTAs cater to multiple hotels whereas a hotel can provide a more personalized touch to the guest on their website. So, reinforce the hotels unique value propositions and showcase your rooms with the best visual tools and photographs. Make sure customer feedback is present on the booking page as it becomes very crucial for new users. (Read: TripConnect: A Hotelier’s Tool to Outsmart OTAs)
Mobile Booking Forms
The hotel booking form should always be mobile compatible. Data shows that guests prefer booking online on their smartphones. Therefore, it is very important to have a mobile booking version of your booking form to achieve maximum conversion. (Read: Keep Your Hotel in Your Guest’s Pocket)
Recover Abandoned Reservations
With 90% of website visitors abandoning the reservation process (as per research data) it is imperative to have a strategy in place to address this visitor segment. One very simple way is to save the information that was entered by the visitor and send email reminders or suggestions for completing the reservation process. It is important to have the correct communication while retargeting those visitors. The tone of the email needs to helpful, informative like provide a toll free number where they can call for questions and special offers can also be sent to encourage visitors to complete reservations.
There are a lot of research and techniques in the market for using persuasion architecture while designing your booking forms. To begin with, analyse your website and make sure the above practices are being followed to get the most out of your booking engine. (Also Read: TripAdvisor To Integrate Hotel Bookings Via Mobile)