The secrets to hotel booking engines
Here at SHINE, we take pride in every website that we deliver. We ensure that customer usability and access is perfect whilst combining that with the clients’ values and ethos to create a website that is Industry leading.
For many of our hospitality clients, they want this standard to flow through to their booking engine so the customer has a smooth and informed journey from first impression to conversion.
What is a hotel booking engine?
It’s an intricate application added to a hotel’s website, allowing visitors to check the availability of rooms and eventually make a booking.
It is often considered to be the most valued and most important part of any hotel website as it is the location of all final decisions and conversions your customer makes on their journey.
The importance of a Booking engine
A booking engine is a gateway to efficiency through the medium of automation. Long gone are the days of manually maintaining real-time inventory, rate parity and overbookings. A website booking engine resolves these issues through live and accurate integration with your booking software taking time off your teams’ hands by reducing the amount of email and phone enquiries by displaying real-time availability to your customer and allowing them to book directly.
Furthermore, standing independent from OTA’S and Third-party booking sites is hugely beneficial to brand value as it allows your brand to appear more credible and transparent with your offering.
Overall, they provide a much better booking experience for potential guests.
Although it’s good to get bookings from third-party distribution channels, walk-ins and other sources, it’s not always worth the effort.
Choosing a Booking Engine
In 2021, a good booking experience is expected by most consumers. This expectation is derived from the improvements in technology that has made everything we do online faster, which has ultimately reduced the attention span of the average consumer paired with the fact that as consumers, we need information up to date and live or else, we lose interest.
So, it is essential that a booking engine be tailored to the consumer for maximum acquisition combined with an aim for guest retention.
So, what needs to be considered?
Fit for millennial mobiles
According to a TripAdvisor study, 42% of travellers around the world use their smartphones to make a booking. If your booking isn’t designed for mobile-responsiveness, almost half of potential guests might be turning away. With a clumsy booking engine, the drop-off rate can be much higher than expected.
While 67% of smartphone users say they’re more likely to book from a mobile-friendly website, 61% of these people say they’d probably leave a website that’s not mobile-friendly.
Therefore, even if your website is extremely mobile user friendly, if the booking engine doesn’t match that, you could be losing a serious amount of potential customers.
It shouldn’t take more than a couple of clicks to reach the booking page from the first initial lead.
The booking engine you choose must be able to be integrated seamlessly into your site not only to allow for a smooth customer journey but also so the developers of your site can manage it.
These days modern hotel booking engines provide a variety of methods on
what’s the best practice on how to integrate their code into your website.
These methods are: –
- Using an HTML iFrame
These methods provide the cleanest way to integrate your booking engine into
your new website. Both methods provide a neat way to: –
- Display a custom booking form to your users
- Allow them to enter their details
- Be responsive
At SHINE, the websites we build are built with WordPress, which has moved on from being ‘just’ a blogging platform to a fully-fledged CMS, agile enough to handle any 3rd party
Integration and is one of the most secure systems available.
This means that the websites we build are strong and powerful, capable of handling most booking engines, so it is the booking engine that must be compatible.
Does it fit your needs?
An important to factor in when deciding on a booking engine is that does it suit the size and offering of your property.
The Booking engine should be able to adapt to suit offers and promotions if required or the addition of optional extras such as Champagne in the room or table bookings.
Your booking engine should support this but also be able to grow and develop in-line with your property.
There are many booking engines out there to choose from, and at SHINE – design & digital, we are well-versed in the integration and recommendation of Booking Engines to our clients.
If you are looking to develop and progress your website, get in touch below. We are always seeking to collaborate and work with new properties to expand their positioning and performance.