A user-friendly online booking process is key to increasing direct bookings through your property’s website, so choosing a modern, intuitive, secure, mobile-friendly online booking engine is an important decision for hotel operators. But the effort doesn’t end there. It’s also important to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the conversion-driving features provided by your online booking engine. From customizing your booking engine to your brand and adding quality unit photos and descriptions to making it easily accessible on your website, there are things you can do to optimize your online booking engine for a higher conversion rate. Let’s dive in!
Customize to your brand
The design of your property’s website—including your logo, images, background and accent colors, fonts and layout—contributes to your property’s brand identity, which helps customers make an emotional connection with your property and inspires them to book. Make sure you’re not eroding that well-earned trust with a mismatched booking engine! A booking engine that reflects your property’s brand is key to maintaining your customers’ confidence to complete the booking process.
Customize the appearance of your booking engine with your property’s logo, background and/or feature images and a color palette that matches your website for a seamless, on-brand booking experience your customers trust. Your WebRezPro online booking engine is easily customizable within property settings.
Add unit slideshows
The best way to sell your rooms is to show them to your customers! Take advantage of unit slideshows within your booking engine to really show off your guestrooms. It takes time to curate the right images, but it’s worth it. Presenting your customers with photo slideshows of your units during the booking process provides visual reassurance at a crucial moment, boosting the prospective guest’s confidence to complete the booking—and often working to convince them to upgrade.
For each unit type, WebRezPro allows you to upload up to 16 slideshow images (with optional titles and descriptions), which are displayed in a slideshow pop-up customers can view conveniently within the availability search results. For a polished presentation, we recommend making all images the same size (ideal image dimensions for unit slideshows in WebRezPro are 800px wide by 500px tall).
Complete amenity lists and unit & rate descriptions
While photos speak 1000 words, it’s also very important to include accurate descriptions for your property’s rooms and rates to clearly communicate exactly what the guest is going to get.
When it comes to room descriptions, customers want to know about the room’s key features, including bed configuration and views, and amenities such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning and kitchen facilities. WebRezPro depicts unit amenities and occupancy limits with icons that can be displayed with unit descriptions, allowing guests to easily compare the amenities and maximum capacity offered by each room type. A short written description can be added for each unit type to summarize the room and convey any special details such as the eco-silk sheets, craft coffee selection, and stunning sunset views from the balcony.
Rate descriptions are especially important for special rates such as packages, promotional rates, early-bird rates, LOS-restricted rates, etc., to clarify terms and conditions to customers, like who qualifies for the discount or what’s included in the package.
Limit booking options
Offering add-on services and amenities at the time of booking is a great way to allow guests to personalize their stay, but take care not to overwhelm customers with too many options at this point in the guest journey. Every time a customer is asked to make a selection or complete another field, the additional step creates friction in the booking process. The more complicated the road to completing a booking, the more likely the customer will abandon the journey.
When it comes to extra options, maintain a quick and easy booking process by keeping them to a minimum (further upsells can be offered within the confirmation email, once the booking is secured!), and don’t force customers to make a selection; they shouldn’t have to click to decline an offer in order to continue with the booking process.
Display cancellation and booking policies
Be upfront with your booking and cancellation policies, especially letting customers know of any conditions and/or fees associated with confirming or canceling their reservation. Clear communication of booking and cancellation policies has always been important to travelers and is now even more so as we navigate these uncertain COVID times. Flexible cancellation terms will go a long way with travelers for the foreseeable future.
Make sure your policies are clearly stated in the booking form so that your customers are fully informed and confident to book. WebRezPro automatically displays applicable cancellation and booking policies by default.
Make it accessible
Your online booking engine should always be accessible to customers wherever they are on your website, to catch them as soon as the urge to book strikes! Including a “book now” button within your website’s main menu or header ensures customers can access your booking engine from every page.
WebRezPro automatically generates booking engine links that can be easily integrated into your property’s website. In addition to linking to the booking engine for property-wide availability searches, these links can also be used to link to the booking engine for a specific unit type or rate type, allowing your customers to search availability for that room type or rate only. This is especially convenient for customers on your Rooms page or Packages page, who are interested in a particular room or rate. Making it as easy as possible for your guests to find what they’re looking for is key to maximizing conversions. WebRezPro’s booking engine links give you the choice of using booking buttons or links, availability calendars, and booking widgets that are embedded into the webpage. (Read our web design tips for creating effective calls to action/CTAs.)
Don’t forget to comply with accessibility guidelines as defined by the American Disabilities Act. Be sure to add image ALT text that describes unit slideshow photos as well as feature images in your booking engine so that images can be “read” by text-to-speech screen readers for people who are visually impaired.
Of course, you won’t know how well your online booking engine is performing without actually tracking conversions. Your software should automatically track the number of reservations coming through your online booking engine, but that won’t give you the booking engine’s actual conversion rate. What you want to know is what proportion of bookings that were started were actually completed?
WebRezPro allows you to track your customers’ progress through the booking process. That way, if customers are bailing part way through, you can pin-point where they abandon the booking process, which can help determine what needs to be improved. For example, if customers are abandoning the availability search, it could indicate your booking engine doesn’t reflect your brand and needs customizing. If customers aren’t completing the booking form, the form could be too complicated and some fields may need to be excluded.
Choosing modern, user-friendly reservation software is key to the success of any lodging operation. Once you’ve found the right online booking engine for your property, be sure to make the most of it to maximize your conversion rate! As this article has outlined, take advantage of your software’s conversion-driving features to:
- reflect your brand
- add unit slideshows
- include complete amenity lists and accurate room and rate descriptions
- personalize the guest experience without overwhelming customers with options
- inform customers of booking and cancellation policies
- integrate the booking engine into your website in an intuitive way for your customers
- track conversions to identify areas for improvement.
If you need any help optimizing your WebRezPro online booking engine, don’t hesitate to contact us!