Guests visit a hotels website, put in their applicable dates, gets the respective rates and then……nothing, they go off to some other site. According to a survey done by SaleCycle 81% of people abandon online travel bookings. Most of them gave the reason that they were ‘just looking’, but that was only 39% of the people.
The top 5 reasons due to which travelers abandoned booking was due to; just looking, high prices and they wanted to shop around, needed to check with their travelling partners before completing the booking, had problems with the booking process and experienced technical issues.
Booking abandonment is a gross opportunity cost to the hotel; therefore they need to ensure that from their side they have made the booking process extremely user friendly and simple for their potential guests.
How Can Hotel’s optimize their online portals?
- Re-evaluate the hotels website: hotels need to spend time and sometimes money to ensure that they have an up to date and easy to use website. The pages should not take long to load, should have easy navigational tools, and the fonts shouldn’t be hard to read. The call to action or ‘book now’ tab should be easy to find.
- Readability – Don’t overload the website with unnecessary or superficial information. Hotels should list the top 10 points that they would like to showcase about their property and locality and incorporate that into the website. Information should be informative and should give value to the time that a guest spends reading it.
- Mobile Friendly – According to Statistics Brain: 65% of same day hotel reservations are made from a SmartPhone. Hotels have to ensure that their websites are mobile friendly otherwise their conversions will be extremely low. Here especially the fonts on the website play an extremely crucial role.
- SEO Optimization – The hotels visibility on the internet is imperative. Small and mid-sized hotels should also look at keeping online visibility as part of their non compromising budget expenditure. Hotels need to ensure that they have key words incorporated in their websites and that they keep updating them regularly.
- Reviews – the hotel should highlight a few authentic reviews on their own website; have a mix of very good as well as constructive reviews. If a guest needs to navigate to another site to check on reviews about the property, then they also end up checking other similar properties.
- Pictures – Clichéd as it may, but a picture does say a thousand words. Hotels should have pictures which showcase unique aspects of the property as well as of the city in which they are located. There should be pictures of the rooms, hotel façade, restaurants etc. so that guests can visually see the property. Even a 360 degrees video would be great, but then the hotel should cross check and see that the loading time of the site doesn’t get affected.
- Contact details – Hotels should have their contact details prominently displayed on the website. Guests still prefer to call and check on certain things via a phone call.
- Best rate available – To ensure that the guests book on the hotel’s website, they should ensure that their website always guarantees the best possible price for their property. If another booking site offers a lower rate than the credibility of the hotel also gets affected.
- Upsell – according to TripAdvisor, one out of 3 people prefer to book at hotels where they can get a ‘package’. So Hotels should offer an array of packages, with breakfast, spa treatment, meals etc. This works well for the hotel’s profitability too.
- Fast Payment gateways – 7% of the bookings get abandoned because the guests faced some issues with the payment gateway. People nowadays do not have the time nor patience, they want everything to be done extremely swift, so hotels need to ensure that their payment gateways are efficient and work seamlessly.
Hotels can definitely look at bringing down the percentage of abandonment bookings if they make a conscious decision to work on it. The above mentioned suggestions are not really financially taxing for a hotel; it just requires some time and attention as well as regular updates.