Booking hotel rooms online is now a website feature all travelers expect. But the difference of getting a booking without a professional salesperson in the process and losing a customer means the booking process has to sell itself. One important aspect of successful online sales for the hotel industry is making it simple for your customers to book a room online.
Here are a few guidelines to help you ensure your booking process is easy to use.
Easy Website Navigation
It might seem obvious now that websites are part of every hotel business, but a website that is visually uncluttered and easy to navigate will help customers more easily get through the booking process. Yes, it’s important to have comprehensive information about the property and good detail about amenities, but if the look and feel is cluttered, customers will not be able to find that all-important “book now” button. Navigation must be intuitive for the average person seeking a hotel room.
Integrate the Booking Process on Every Page
Hotel customers should not have to navigate back and forth between website pages to find where to book a room. Each and every page must have a booking widget that links to room availability and reservation options. This also includes any packages and promotions that are going on at the time. And most importantly, keep that information current!
Keep Choices Simple
Too many choices in room types or rate plans can create confusion in the mind of the potential hotel customer, and they will abandon the booking process. If you do have lots of different types of rooms, group them into similar types to make it easier to think about the options.
Similarly, rate plans that are not easy to differentiate will frustrate those customers looking for deals. Be sure it’s easy to rate the value of your various plans, and first and foremost, be sure those rates actually are available. There is nothing that will confuse and anger a customer than seeing that they missed out on a real or perceived “deal.”
Hotel guests come from all over the world and are especially prone to use your website to book a room. Make it easy for an international customer to see specific currencies beyond the Australian dollar. Include a currency converter if possible in all, if not the most popular denominations, such as American Dollars, Japanese Yen, Euros, etc. And be sure your site clearly states your prices are in Australian dollars.
Use the Shopping Cart for More than Just Taking Credit Cards
Make it easy for foreign guests to convert hotel rates into their own currency.
Credit: purplefrog7777 via Flickr
Be sure to use the shopping cart to capture accurate guest information beyond just the credit card reservation. Ask if they need any other special help with their trip, or if they have questions they’d like answered about the hotel beforehand. Making the guest feel like the concierge service has started before they even arrive will ensure a good experience.
With a little advance thought and planning, your website will be simple for customers to book a room online, giving you a powerful business sales tool in the competitive travel market.