Top 5 Tips to Optimize Your Hotel Booking System
March 20, 2022
Article by Ayna Gonzales
Online hotel bookings are the number one way to make room reservations in today’s highly digital world. And although travelers and guests have different ways to book hotel rooms –Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), social media direct links, third-party booking channels –hotels often must pay a commission to these external platforms for every room sold.
So, it makes sense for hotels to encourage people to book directly on their own website, right?
Ideally, yes. It would be easier for all parties if booking were made on hotel websites. However, in-house booking engines on hotel websites are not always the most reliable or convenient way to make reservations.
The occasional glitches, processing errors, and slow website pages can easily drive people away from your hotel website. That’s lost revenue just from having an inefficient hotel reservation system.
To avoid further revenue loss, here are the top five tips on how to optimize your hotel booking system.
1. Make your hotel website user-friendly to make the room reservation process easier
Hotel websites need to be user-friendly and easy to navigate for even the most technologically challenged visitor. Always double check that your navigational buttons, headers, content, and promotional pages are simple to understand, and visitors can easily find the most important hotel pages.
Be mindful of how your colors, font, photos, and videos work together to convey your message. Make it look clean, professional, and trustworthy. Hotel website visitors can easily be put-off by jarring layouts and crowded texts and will be unwilling to book using your website.
2. Have clear Calls-to-Action to encourage hotel website visitors to book a room
The end goal for every hotel website visitor is to make an online booking. Make your calls-to-action (CTAs) clear, visible, and easy-to-follow on every webpage. Ensure that the hotel website copy eventually leads the reader to your hotel booking page.
If you have timely promotions or packages on offer, communicate the urgency and limited availability of rooms on your homepage and have a button that redirects to a booking page immediately. The key is to get visitors to the checkout page in as few steps as possible.
Similarly, if you’re having an event at your hotel or unveiling a new facility, you can encourage guests to maximize their time by booking rooms so that they may enjoy more time at your establishment.
3. Offer flexible payment options on your hotel booking system to cater guests with different checkout preferences
One of the most common reasons for abandoned room reservations are limited payment options. Hotel guests, especially international ones, may have specific preferences for paying for their room reservations.
Some may prefer to pay with credit cards, checks, wire transfers, or digital money. Others may want to pay at the hotel entirely or pay in installments. Having multiple options available will make it easier for guests to checkout and confirm a room reservation than having to think of an alternative payment plan.
4. Ensure your hotel website is optimized for mobile and tablets for faster room reservations
As far back as 2019, it was reported that over 70% of all travel and hotel bookings were already made on mobile devices. With more mobile dependent habits built over the pandemic, it’s safe to assume the more users have adopted this behavior. If your hotel website is only designed to work for desktops, guests looking to book rooms on their phones will have a harder time navigating an unresponsive page.
Regularly check to ensure website pages are loading on all devices, content is updated, and there are no bugs that will disrupt browsing or booking processes. Consult with a website developer on how you can clean up your hotel website to create a seamless experience for visitors.
5. Display real-time room rates and room availability so that guests can easily compare your hotel website’s prices with other hotel booking channels
A big problem hoteliers face when it comes to direct website bookings is that guests tend to compare prices and availability several times across external hotel booking platforms. Some hotels will require guests to input information first before displaying their room prices and availability at the end. This can be frustrating and will easily drive away traffic.
Instead, use a hotel property management system or a hotel reservations management software to display real-time room rates and prices at the beginning of the hotel booking process. When guests have full disclosure of what they’re booking, the likelihood of abandoning room reservations at checkout is significantly decreased.
Optimizing the hotel booking process and cleaning up your reservations management software should be a regular, high-priority task. Make it as easy as possible for guests and give them a seamless experience to encourage rebooking using the same hotel website. Apply these simple tips and watch your occupancy rate with happy and satisfied guests.
Frequently Asked Questions About Optimizing Your Hotel Booking System
Q: What is a hotel booking system?
A hotel booking system is a centralized platform hotels use to manage room reservations, inventory distribution, and rates in real time. Hotels often have an integrated booking engine on their website to encourage website visitors to book a room.
Q: How do you optimize a hotel’s booking system?
Optimizing a hotel’s booking system comes down to making the room reservation process as easy and convenient as possible. It’s a mix of having a user-friendly interface, clear CTAs, multi-device responsiveness, and having real-time information on display.
Q: Why should hoteliers optimize their booking system?
Hotel guests have many options of booking accommodations now. Hoteliers do have the option of listing their rooms at external hotel booking platforms for a fee. It’s better in the long-run to have a seamless in-house room reservation page on the hotel website to avoid paying fees to OTAs and other third-party websites.
If you’re interested in learning more about optimizing your hotel website, check ZEN Hospitality Solutions. We have hospitality industry experts on call to help hoteliers increase their hotel bookings, maximize revenue, and improve overall performance. Talk to an expert today.
Article by Ayna Gonzales