Learn how to optimize your hotel booking engine for more direct bookings
A well-structured booking engine (IBE), which creates a harmonious overall picture, not only makes a good impression, but also encourages booking.
First and foremost, the design of the IBE should match that of the hotel website. Therefore, use a consistent color scheme and the same fonts to convey a unified brand image.
In addition, an optimized header should always be visible, which contains the hotel logo and the advantages of direct bookings. This way, guests know during the entire booking process in which hotel they are booking and can establish a relationship with the hotel, which is essential for brand awareness. An optimized header is also useful for guests who enter your booking engine directly via trivago or Google Hotel Ads. This way they know directly in which hotel they are located.
However, you can also offer your guests the option of returning to the hotel website at any time in the case they wish to find out more information about your hotel.
Furthermore, hotel pictures build certain expectations and create the conditions for a positive guest experience. Therefore you should also work with pictures in your IBE. An appealing background image in the right size as well as photos of available rooms will arouse the desire of your guests to travel and make it easier for them to choose the preferred room.
Tip#2: Room and rate structure
The price is one of the most important factors in the booking process. Guests want to see your advantages at a glance and always want to book at the lowest price.
A good room and rate structure is therefore essential to provide your guests with a clear offer of your services.
Quantity and quality
First of all, you should make sure to offer a reasonable number of rooms and rates, which should also be clearly and attractively named. On the one hand, you should provide several rates to cover the different needs of your guests, but on the other hand, you should not provide too many rates to choose from, as this can be unstructured and overwhelming for visitors.
In addition, many guests choose the booking channel directly via the hotel website in order to take advantage of the guaranteed best price and book at the lowest rate. Therefore, you should always place the cheapest rate and room category at the top of the list and sort by price in ascending order to provide potential guests with an uncomplicated booking experience.
An important key to success in convincing users is your price. With the right rate structure, you can provide the customer with an attractive offer on your website, giving them a good reason to book directly with you.
Our Rate Inspector gives you a clear overview of the rates of your website compared to your room rates of other competitors like booking.com, Expedia & Co. This allows you to monitor your prices on all meta platforms and react quickly to price differences in order to always offer the best price on the hotel website and increase your direct bookings.
In addition to the available rates, special offers should also be added, which provide additional services in the form of a complete package.
Attention: Check if your offer really matches an arrangement! A breakfast for an overnight stay is not an arrangement, but rather a standard rate. In the form of an arrangement, for example, overnight stays, breakfast, a welcome or farewell gift, a 3-course menu and the free use of the sports facilities could be offered in a complete package. It is important that the arrangement always offers a meaningful added value for the guest and that this is also recognizable in the price.
The services and contents of the arrangements should be presented clearly and shortly in your booking engine, ideally in key points.
There are no limits to the range of arrangements. In addition to wellness, holiday or gourmet arrangements, you can also add tickets for attractions to your offers in cooperation with leisure providers in your area.
If you decide to offer arrangements, you should always make sure to include enough references and links to available and current offers both on your website and in your booking engine.
In addition, these should be kept up-to-date at all times so that you do not present outdated offers to your guests.
A theme based sorting of the arrangements into for example, seasonal offers (winter special or summer special) or top sellers attracts the eye, ensures a clearer presentation and helps with orientation in the booking process.
Attention: According to the Package Travel Directive of 2018, your offers cannot be called "arrangement" or "package" anymore. You have to call them "offer" on the website and booking engine. This is related to a changed liability on the part of the hoteliers. If you are not insured against this, the wording "Arrangement/Package" can cause problems!
Tip#4: Booking process
Ensure a fast and uncomplicated direct booking experience.
To lead potential guests to a booking, you should first and foremost use a fast and intuitive booking engine. The guest should always know how many booking steps lie ahead. If the booking process takes too long, many potential customers will stop it and move on to your competitors.
Few mandatory fields
Make sure that you only ask for meaningful mandatory fields in the data query, i.e: as much as necessary but as little as possible. In addition, you can make the single steps of the booking process visible in the form of a bar or numbering so that the user knows at any time at which step he is currently and how many steps still lie ahead.
In addition, the cancellation policy for each rate being offered should be clear and understandable, so that the traveler is aware of the conditions. This will save you calls to the reception desk, which in turn blocks your staff and employees.
Multiple payment options
With several payment alternatives, you can also enable your guests to choose any payment option they like - another advantage to get guests to book your hotel.
Last but not least, just as with your website, mobile optimization of your booking engine is very important. Many business and private travellers book a hotel room while on the way on mobile devices. Therefore you should also adapt your IBE for mobile use.
Important: Always be open for feedback from your guests! Whether on the phone or at your hotel - in the end, your guests are the test whether your booking engine is well set up or not. Some booking engines have an integrated feedback function (Hotelnetsolutions). Activate this function and check it regularly.
With these 4 tips you will not only increase your brand awareness, but also increase the number of commission-free direct bookings. We would be happy to advise you on further optimization possibilities for your IBE within our service full management. Feel free to contact us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.