Going to do some spring cleaning on your property, website, and marketing strategy? Make sure to include your booking engine so it’s performing as best as it can during your busy season. But, before you go making any big changes, let’s evaluate how successful your current booking engine already is so we can implement smart improvements.
How can you measure the success of your booking engine? By looking at the following nine metrics:
1. Website conversion rate
Your conversion rate shows you the percentage of website visitors converting or taking a desired action, like making a booking or filling out a form for wedding information. For the hospitality industry, we typically look for a conversion rate of 1.5%. Yours may be lower or higher dependent on your average order value. The higher your average order value, the lower your conversion rate may be as guests feel more comfortable booking over the phone or need a few more interactions with your website (and bringing your conversion rate down). On the flip side, a lower average order value can see higher conversion rates.
Is your conversion rate close this 1.5% average? If not, it might be time to look at your Calls to Action (CTAs) or website copy to make sure guests feel comfortable taking the desired action of booking a stay.
2. Number of transactions
Is the number of transactions on par with your year-over-year data or are you on track for the same number of bookings comparing this year to last year? If you’ve seen a dip, pull data from last year to see where your visitors where coming from and any changes to those sources. For example, if your organic traffic is down you may need to refresh your content, add new pages to the website, or make sure your pages are optimized for the right keywords.
Are you getting the amount of revenue you expected based on the number of visitors to your booking engine? You probably don’t want to change your deposit policy much here but this can present a wonderful opportunity to add packages or add-ons to your booking engine to increase the order value per visitor.
Now is the perfect time to investigate how your referral sites are performing. If you’re paying for a listing on TripAdvisor, bedandbreakfast.com, or any other directory that links to your site, then you should be seeing website visitors and hopefully revenue from those sites. This is especially true if you’re paying for TripConnect where users are being directed into your booking engine. Be sure to look at these users’ average order values and conversion rates to make sure the return is worth the investment.
5. Visitor behavior
Have you ever been signing up with a website and find out that your password has to have to six capital letters, five numbers, two special characters, no repeating characters, no names, etc. and it makes you question if you really want an account with them? That’s what it can feel like for some travelers if they have to fill out field after field of contact information. Make only the relevant fields required and try to trim down the excess optional fields. Take a closer look at the steps needed to make a booking and if any particular steps have high bounce rates or make it easy for travelers to abandon their booking.
If you see high bounce rates in the booking engine, see what can be simplified or what data can be optional. Sometimes a guest has to abandon a booking for external reasons but forgets to return. Cart abandonment software could help you recover some of that revenue with automatically triggered emails to encourage guests to finish their reservation.
Like we asked above, are you making it as easy as possible to make a booking at your property? Now, we’re going to add the condition of: No matter what type of device I’m booking on? If you don’t have a mobile-friendly booking engine in place, you could be missing out on tons of reservations as guests become more and more comfortable booking on the go.
Test your booking engine by trying to make a reservation through your website on your smartphone or tablet. Most booking engine providers offer a mobile-friendly option but not all providers turn this feature on automatically.
7. Exit intent technology
Another option if you don’t want to use emails to recover bookings is to implement exit intent technology. This allows you to use popup windows offering guests a discount or promo code if they begin to move the mouse toward the “x” icon on their screen. This can help stop the guest from abandoning their booking and finishing their reservation.
8. Pricing research
We know you’re checking out your competitions’ websites and rates so make sure yours are in-line with theirs! You know your guests are already shopping around for the best rate so either match your competition or really show the value of what guests get with your property.
9. Property figures
Finally, you can measure the success of your booking engine with some easy data like your Average Daily Rate (ADR), Average Rate Index (ARI), occupancy, and Market Penetration Index (MPI). If your rate and market share is competitive and you’re not relying solely on OTAs to get guests to your property, chances are good that your booking engine is performing as well as it should be.