As a hotelier, you know that a website booking engine is more than just a tool… it generates commission-free revenues for your business by increasing direct bookings. It also provides your guests a platform to book without having to call, mail or go through a travel agent.
Your hotel’s website is incomplete without a booking engine just like a burger without cheese. There are multiple booking engine providers in the market but since a booking engine is an integral part of your website, you should make sure that the one you choose provides a flawless user-experience to your potential guest.
We highlight 8 must-haves in a website booking engine:
1. Minimal steps to book
“SaleCycle conducted a survey on 1000 consumers recently asking them reasons for abandonment of travel purchases. 13% of the people stated that they abandoned the booking process because the form was lengthy and time-consuming.”
Hotels should provide their guests with an easy-to-fill form that takes minimal and simple steps to finish the booking process. The form should not be complicated and unnecessary information (stayed with us before, how did you hear about us or would you like to recommend anybody?) can be avoided in the first stage. These details can be fetched later. The important features of a form are the travel dates (visual calendar preferably), number of occupants, packages, policies for booking and cancellation. If the booking form is too cumbersome, chances are that your guest will abandon the process from the first page itself.
2. Simple user interface
The ideal booking engine should not be an eyesore. It should have all the important elements highlighted and have an easy-to-read font. It should provide the user a seamless flow.
3. Mobile-optimized platform
According to Google, 40% of leisure travellers and 36% of business travellers book accommodation from their mobile phones. Statistics show higher search for hotels on tablets and smartphones, thus having a mobile optimized booking engine is not a choice anymore.
4. Secure payment process
A payment gateway increases the chances of getting confirmed reservations. If you don’t provide a payment gateway, chances are that your guests might change their mind and get swayed away to other hotels. The payment gateway should display a secure symbol upfront to instil confidence in the booker.
5. Option to upsell
If you have any special offerings to provide convenience to your guests like airport pickup/drop, discount on services in restaurants/spas or loyalty points for guests who book directly, display it upfront! Opt for a booking engine that allows personalization to sell your rooms with add-ons.
A booking engine should allow you to add images of not just rooms but also of other services and amenities, so that the guest gets the right picture. For example, if you are offering a room facing the swimming pool, it is advisable to showcase the pictures of both the room and the swimming pool.
7. Multi-currency feature
Hotels can expect travellers and bookers from any part of the world. Giving them the option to book in their currency makes it very simple for them. Hence, a booking engine must accept payments in multiple currencies.
A booking engine should offer hoteliers the feature to customize the font, color and more to match the look of the hotel’s website. A booking engine that looks slick definitely adds to the user-experience and prompts the user to go to the next stage.
“I was planning the launch of my hotel’s newly themed website and Hotelogix’s web booking engine turned out to be the perfect solution as it offered the option of changing the color, font and size, and suited our new design beautifully.” – Erin Cadigan, Owner, White Dove Rockotel, Woodstock.
View the booking engine in action on Erin’s website.
A website attracts visitors from all geographies so it is best to have a professional booking engine with a simplified, uncomplicated and to-the-point interface.