Have you ever wondered why OTAs give you more bookings? Why the average online hotel booking engine conversion rate stands at below 2% (Source) despite hoteliers spending on marketing and SEO activities?
The answer is clear and simple – OTAs help potential bookers with all relevant information they would want while making a reservation. This means that your hotel website does not help convert lookers into bookers. So, how do you plan to address this issue? Have you ever tried to optimize its capabilities?
If not, let’s see how you can get more out of your online hotel booking engine by adopting 4 simple booking engine hacks for hotels as explained below.
1. Adopt a highly responsive website with an integrated web booking engine
Now that you know that only 2 out of 100 visitors make hotel reservation via the hotel website, you must work towards having a website that has all the information a potential guest would look for. You need to ensure the real-time visibility of room availability and rates on your website. Your hotel descriptions and images play a major role in this effort and all the pages should load in as little time as possible.
You must offer them a seamless booking experience. For your visitors, the booking process should not be a time-consuming affair. Don’t compel them to fill out every minute detail while making the reservation. It also pays to make your website mobile-optimized as today’s guests love to make hotel bookings using their smartphones. Upon booking completion, your guest should get an instant confirmation. This helps them believe that you will honour the booking.
In short, you have to enhance the quality of your website and its user experience.
2. Implement multi-language and multi-currency features
Allow your potential guest to read your website content and know about you in their own language. You can do it at least for customers of your targeted countries. Let them see the room rates and such details in their currency, too. This would help you to broaden your market reach, to instil confidence in your potential guests and ultimately to create an edge over your direct competitors.
3. Implement virtual tour and promote guest reviews
Allow your website visitors to take a virtual tour of your property. It can be done when they are on your website. It would work well for you if they get to explore your property even before their arrival. Don’t forget to promote positive guest reviews to attract and influence potential guests’ booking decision.
4. Offer ‘best rate guarantee’
Offer ‘best rate guarantee’ and the same should be in parity across all your other distribution channels. Also, you need to ensure that the rates you offer on your website are competitive enough against hotels that are your direct competitors. Additionally, to attract early-bird bookers, you must offer them an advance purchase rate. For example, you can run this campaign in October to attract more guests during end of the December – “Book now with us and avail 20% off on final bill during your stay between 25th – 31st Dec”.
Most importantly, be loud and clear that their credit card details will be safe as you have implemented a secured online payment processing gateway.
If you plan to generate more direct bookings to stay profitable, you must look at the important features of a booking engine that you plan to integrate with your brand website. Once implemented, don’t forget to analyse how your online hotel booking engine is working for you. To start with, you can review a cloud-based Hotel PMS that comes with a smart hotel booking system.