As hotel booking engines offer more and more choices, being able to pick the best of those choices has become more challenging and yet, never more important. A full two-thirds of Millennials are now comfortable using a smartphone to research and book an entire trip, with a majority saying that they regularly book a hotel room on a mobile device after shopping on one. Considering this fact alone, making sure your booking engine is all it can be is a must-have in itself.
At a recent webinar, we discussed what the most recent industry reports have determined to be must-haves for your most effective internet booking engine (IBE). The discussion centered around not only the best features, but how to get the best return out of each one.
#1 Responsive Design It may seem like common knowledge now, but responsive design is still very relevant and will continue to be as mobile bookings continue to grow. You want to make sure that your conversions can happen on multiple devices. This means content that is relevant across all mediums.
#2 Reservation “Saved State” Saved state technology gives you the ability to save guest search results for a later time. With SHR, these are features such as Call to Continue™ and Save for Later. Using them not only saves data, but also allows that same data to be shared with another decision maker.
#3 Merchandising It’s all about control when it comes to merchandising. Ask yourself, does your hotel sell rates, or rooms, or an experience? Whatever you do, it all needs to be consistent, i.e. make sure that all your photographs are consistent to the actual room and view.
#4 Persuasive Messaging Features like strike-through, which show immediate savings and value on-screen for the guest, can help you compete in OTA-style. The goal, after all, is to get guests to convert in the moment, so showing true value in that moment is vital.
#5 Customized Branding Related to persuasive messaging, you want the user interface to be a seamless experience for your guest. Navigation should blend into your site, not break away from it. To do this, your IBE must share some visual aspects of the hotel website to not jar the guest as they explore.
#6 Promo Landing Page with Rate Detail It’s important to have a dedicated URL to send to a target list for marketing seasonal and specific rates. Make sure the landing page merchandises that specific rate only, i.e. for room conditions or special promotions.
#7 Guest Recognition-CRM Integration Use this feature to make sure the profiles of your guests are recognized via your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program, and that it generates specific rates for loyalty programs per guest, as well as email authentication so it happens right in the booking flow.
#8 Blended Rates By filling in the gaps in varying rates up to two rate codes, this feature saves guests from “non-available” messages, helping to curb booking abandonment, so the guest never has to see a negative message of non-availability.
#9 Add-Ons Don’t leave money on the table and miss guest-delighting opportunities! This feature gives guests a visual so they don’t miss out on adding something important to them, and can also be recognized separately in the portal as a source of added revenue.
#10 Upgrade Availability This feature lists the top upgrades for each booked room, allowing for gentle, incremental upselling, making costlier rooms more attractive to guests.
For more information, please visit www.shr.global.