With 148.3 million bookings being made on the Internet each year and 65.4% of those occurring on the hotel’s website, you really cannot miss the opportunity to get those reservations directly. Yet, we still see many hoteliers making common booking engine mistakes that are easily avoidable and can easily add up to more revenue.
We know you’re busy running the front desk, preparing breakfast, or cleaning a guest room but unless you hope to get all of your bookings from previous guests here are some common errors we see on booking engines that once eliminated can help attract new guests and reduce guests abandoning their online reservation.
1. Availability not available: With the variety of options (quick search, two week, or two month) of availability displays, your guest should be able to quickly check availability on your site. But, if they have to click through to multiple pages just to find out a room they want is not available, you’ve lost a booking right there. Give your potential guests at least one way to find the dates and room they want as soon as they land on any page of your site.
2. Not themed: You want your guest to have a seamless experience on your site, so why does your booking engine look completely different than your brand’s website? If your guests feel that it doesn’t look right or match, they’ve probably lost trust with your booking engine and will be more hesitant to book.
A non-themed booking engine.
3. No photos, descriptions, or policies: This is a major red flag for online bookers as they want to see and read about the room they’re booking for their vacation. Your descriptions in the booking engine must match what you say about the room on your website and the photos should be up to date. Remind your potential guest of why they selected this room by listing out the amenities that come with it to help provide peace of mind that they’re making the right choice. It’s also important to be up front and clear about your property’s policies. Guests should be informed about deposits, taxes or fees, children or pet policies before they make a reservation. On the flip side, keep the policies as straightforward and succinct as possible as a guest could get a headache by seeing too many sections or statements toward the end of the booking process.
4. No progress bar: You may only have three steps in your reservation process but if the first step is a bit lengthy and the guest is unclear of how many steps they have to go through, they may abandon their booking simply because they don’t know how long it’s going to take. Provide a progress bar up at the top so your guest knows where they’re at in the process.
5. No point of sale, packages, or discount rates available: You’ve spent a lot of time creating packages or selecting point of sale (POS) items that complement the experience at your property, but often we’ll see hoteliers that don’t offer these packages of POS items in the booking engine! On the opposite end of the spectrum, many of you offer discount rates that are shown on other pages of your website but aren’t loaded into your booking engine. It’s very frustrating for an online visitor to see a certain rate that applies to them only to have it not show up in the booking engine. Make sure all of your rates are available or promo codes are working correctly.
What other common booking engine mistakes do you see your fellow hoteliers do? Share them with us below in the comments section!