Written by: Mar Reguant
Why should you invest in a website with its own booking engine? Simply because if you don’t, you’re losing sales. If you want to save commissions and have full control of your hotel’s content, you should read this post.
Imagine you go shopping (your hotel website) and you want to buy a product (a hotel booking). But to buy it, you have to go to another store (a Tour Operator). You may find in this store another product which attracts your attention, with a better price or simply it has a better position.
It’s the same when you don’t have a website with its own booking engine. Don’t send your customers to your competitors.
Besides customer attraction (and a higher number of leads), a booking engine in your own website allows you to sell without giving so many commissions to Tour Operators. Equalize the price of your other channels offering your potential customer an unique value proposition if they book directly from your website: an included breakfast, a champagne bottle… Make them an offer they can not refuse!
If you want to learn more about the issue of price parity, in this post you will find detailed information.
From your own website you can fully control your hotel’s content and communication.
Check prices and offers, customer’s benefits and conditions. Modifie first hand content and play with pricing and revenue management (or yield management). Become an expert in your hotel!
There are multiple tools that allow you to analyze what happens on your website. If you have an own booking engine, you can calculate the conversion rate of users coming to your website and choose the landing pages and campaigns that work better. Who doesn’t want to see the results of a great work?
In addition, you will get customer data long before they arrive at your hotel. Send them relevant information about your city, local festivals and the best restaurants. You will get your customers’s loyalty even before they take off!
Include a coupon code box on your website’s booking engine. Thus, you can play with unique offers, giving your customers advantages not found in any other sales channel.
Offer support at all times. The live chat option is being implemented increasingly on the websites of any business. It is a way to easly solve any customers doubts on time, without phoning or sending an email.
If they have to leave your website, they may not return and you’d lose the sale. Let them know that you speak their language and there is always someone on the other side of the screen to help them.
Your booking engine must, literally, chase the customer through any section of your website. Users must be able to book at any time, whatever the page of your website they are visiting. When they feel ready to book, they should find easily how.
To do this, include the call-to-action (the "Reserve Now" button) in all sections of the web page of your hotel.
Ask the minimum customer details. The purchase process should be simple and fast. If you want more information about the customers, ask them on arrival! Now you should mind about your prospect booking directly on your website.
To err is human. If a user makes a mistake entering some data in the booking process, never make them to fill out the entire form again! Show them clearly where they are wrong: you could highlight that section in red, and send them directly to the box that must be corrected.
Your website and your booking engine must be user-friendly.
Any user who makes an online purchase wants an immediate proof of it. Offer them the option to download a purchase order when they had finished the booking process
In addition, tell them that they’ll receive a confirmation email to the email address they have provided to you. Make sure this shipment works instantly and remind the customers that they may receive your mail in the tray "spam".
Finally, include always an email from the hotel where you also receive confirmations coming from your own booking engine. And don’t forget to adapt your web platform to mobile devices. People are increasingly booking through these supports.