Trying to figure what’s wrong with the script? Why are your direct online bookings below expected levels? Take a close look at your booking engine. Is it effective? Is it really working as hard as it could? Here are the usual suspects in a hotel’s booking engine not working optimally.
It’s Well Hidden, Like Mackenna’s Gold
Not finding the booking engine easily on a website is probably the most common mistake properties make. It takes considerable effort to get a user to your website. And once they’re convinced about your property with the pretty pictures you’ve uploaded, they should easily be able to navigate to the booking button or relevant call-to-action. If you bury your hotel’s booking engine software deep in your site or relegate it to a corner, the user will navigate to another site, losing you a potential booking.
Don’t be subtle, especially on the home page. Place rate search and call-to-actions (links to your hotel’s booking engine software) on the beautiful imagery at the top of the page.
Not Quite Picture Perfect
Booking engines embedded in an iFrame and your website are hardly the perfect casting.
Why? Firstly, the URL a user sees when they go through an iFrame will not be a secure one (not https://) so users may be vary of sharing credit card details through it. Secondly, it is not mobile friendly and the booking screen may not be viewed correctly across all devices. Lastly, being an off-page element (or dynamic content), it is not attributed to your website by the search engines, negatively impacting your SEO.
iFrames may be good for advertisements or similar third party content on your website; they’re certainly not fit for the role of hosting your booking engine.
Pop Ups Be Damned
Typically an online booking goes through various stages. And if it any of these stages, users find a visual disconnect, a forced popup or similar, they will leave. Booking experience on your website should be smooth. And in order for that to happen, your booking engine should be seamlessly integrated with your website – in styling and functionality.
Lacking Foolproof Security
You’re expecting people to share their credit card details and personal information on your site. It is imperative that your security certificates are up-to-date, visible and recognisable. Use the best encryption and information security practices available. Any compromise on this front not only means a loss of booking but potential negative reviews online that can be disastrous.
Where’s the Sale?
Sales, deals and discounts are the most common search queries for travellers. If you have spent time and effort is creating promotions and packages, load them on your booking engine. It is frustrating if you advertise the deal on your site and the user is unable to book it through your system!
Is the Trailer Good Enough?
Your listing is like a movie trailer. If it isn’t good enough, the movie hall will be empty. Make sure you have good and up-to-date descriptions and photos. Remind your potential guest of why they selected your property by listing out the amenities that come with every room 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.
Gone with the Wind
That’s your user if you make online bookings cumbersome (who wants to fill out a whole form?!). Fewer the clicks to the end of the booking, more likely it is for the user to stay and complete the booking. A good booking engine makes this possible.