With E-Commerce dominating in the wake of the pandemic, hotels are no different from other businesses in that they have to offer their customers a clean, intuitive and trustworthy interface in order to motivate them to commit to a payment using their credit card.
Now this is all the more critical as online travel agencies (OTAs) and home sharing platforms are luring hotel guests on their channels. This not only increases the acquisition cost for new customers but also means that you don’t have robust data on these guests to better personalize their stays or inform you on revenue opportunities for future guests.
A great reservation engine on your brand.com is thus an integral part of converting guests to book direct. Heading into 2021, we’re here to elaborate on three key features you should look for to help optimize revenues per booking.
Feature #1: Visually Pleasant Design
This is a catch-all that encompasses the inclusion of lots of iconography, clearly marked buttons and photography (particularly of the rooms, as accessible via a gallery to not slow loading speeds) to adequately space out the information to lead the eyes down the page. Any breaks or outdated design features can cause a customer to lose confidence in the booking process and exit the website. Even changing the font to match your brand can make a difference. Importantly, you must consider responsive design – that is, how your platform adapts to fit any device, where nowadays mobile is king.
Feature #2: Optionality
Part of the fun of any travel research and reservation journey is a ‘sense of discovery’ where the customer can play around with what’s available. Your booking engine should offer a bit of entertainment in this regard by letting prospective guests seamlessly check different room types, change their stay dates, inquire about packages, add-ons or cancellation policies, and generally search for the total rate that suits their specific desires.
Feature #3: Always Be Offering
Selecting a room should only be the beginning of a great booking engine process. It is during this prearrival stage, while you have the incoming guest’s attention, that you want to present them with a range of amenities to make their onsite hotel experiences all the better. What’s typically referred to as an upsell would involve trying to get the customer to opt for a better room or a suite, but it’s actually far more than that. Your booking engine should display some arrival amenities or in-room add-ons as well as upselling to the restaurant, spa or other bookable facilities, all while doing so in a visual-forward manner and mentioning the latest COVID safety policies.