Over half of all hotel bookings are made online, and when you add in travelers under the age of 30, that number climbs to nearly 80 percent! It’s crucial to have a booking system that’s fast and user-friendly. So, what does the perfect hotel booking engine look like? Luckily, you’ve come to the right spot. If you’re wondering what to look for in a hotel booking engine, everything you need to know can be found right here! Additionally, if you still are unsure about how your booking engine is performing, our team of digital marketing specialists is always available to answer any questions that you might have about your hospitality marketing strategy.
What a Guest Looks for in a Hotel Booking Engine
Think about the last time you booked a hotel. Did you click through way too many screens featuring deals or offers on your way to the booking page? Was there an option for early check-in or late checkout? The features of your online hotel booking system can make or break any hospitality business. The experience should be seamless so as not to leave your guests wondering why it’s so difficult to give you their money! A simple booking process is the best way to keep your direct bookings up and stop losing money to OTAs.
Mobile bookings are on the rise! Multi-screen compatibility is the first thing you should look for in your hotel’s next booking system. As more and more travelers finalize their travel plans on the go, a mobile-friendly booking engine is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
Free Is Never Better
When it comes to booking engines, you get what you pay for. As we said before, a booking engine is going to take the guest through the most critical steps of the sales process. Don’t just settle for the cheapest option out there. You need to fully understand the investment that you’re making. Spending money in the right places is a requirement for those who wish to grow their business.
Seamless Website Integration
It’s important that your guests’ transition from browsing through your rooms and specials to reserving their stay is a seamless one. Guests are more likely to abandon the process if they’re suddenly taken to a booking site that looks completely different.
What’s the Special?
If you have a great selection of packages, specials, and add-ons for your guests, make sure your booking engine makes it easy to add them to any reservation without disrupting the booking process. It’s also important to find a booking engine that can work with promo codes so that you can easily run last-minute deals and special offers.
Work Smarter Not Harder
Your booking engine is collecting data with every reservation that it receives. It should be able to help you see every little detail about guest behavior, from the most-often booked room types to your busiest periods during the year. That data can help you maximize your profits with yield management. A good program should come with rigorous revenue management ability, as well as rigorous reporting. You’ll need e-commerce tracking (which will let you better use Google Analytics and Google AdWords). Once you get all this data, you’ll be able to competitively choose room rates. Once you’ve decided those rates, you should be able to use this software to change the rates without any hassle. Your booking engine should also work as your property management system.
Stay in Touch
One of the most important booking app features is the ability to send pre-arrival and post-departure emails to your guests. Remember, these post-departure emails are especially critical, as they can encourage your guests to help you increase your positive reviews on Google, TripAdvisor, and Facebook.
Your booking engine can also reach out to customers that have abandoned their cart. If they’ve signed in or entered their email before leaving, you can send them a reminder that they haven’t yet completed their reservation.
A great way to keep your guest moving down the sales funnel is with urgency triggers. For example, when your guest enters their desired dates into the engine and it says “Only Two More Rooms Available!” This is one more push for your guest to click that very important “complete reservation” button.
If you have a loyalty program, you’ll want your booking engine to be able to integrate with it. A loyalty program that doesn’t track business and loyalty offers correctly isn’t worth much to you or your guest.
Put It to the Test
Don’t make any final decisions without shopping around first. Test it out! Compare how guests are behaving on Google Analytics across a few different booking engines. If your site has a high abandonment rate right before finishing the reservation, it could be due to some of the features of your online booking system.
Additionally, you can take a look at your competitors’ booking engines. Are they easier to use? Do they have features that your current software is missing? Do they have a loyalty program? What kind of promotions are they running? Beat them where it counts!
Easily Upgrade Your Booking Engine With Q4Launch
We get it. Updating your booking engine can be overwhelming. And who has time to run a successful business and keep track of marketing needs? If you need help finding and setting up a booking engine that will increase your direct bookings overnight, our qualified web designers and digital marketing professionals at Q4Launch have the tools and the knowledge you need to custom build the perfect booking engine for your business. Get a free Future Proof® Website Demo today to find out how our team can help you revolutionize your marketing strategy!