Booking abandonment is common in the hospitality industry, since people’s plans change or they make alternative decisions about their travel arrangements. However, if you’ve noticed a particularly high number of people are clicking through to your online booking engine only to fail at the last hurdle and not complete their transaction, then it might be time to take a closer look at your booking form. Could there be something about it that is putting off would-be guests? In case you’re not sure, here are a few tips on how to optimise your booking form and hopefully see a corresponding rise in conversions.
1. Be available all the time Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, travellers expect to be able to make hotel bookings wherever they are and at whatever time, even if that’s the early hours of the morning. Your booking engine needs to accommodate them by being online and up-to-date all the time, as well as sending out instant confirmation of their booking.This means you need to invest in software that fully automates the booking process if you haven’t already, rather than having something that inaccurately broadcasts room availability or makes people wait until office hours to find out if their booking has gone through.
2. Offer multiple payment methods If someone has their debit card out and then finds they can’t reserve a room using it, they might abandon the transaction and go to a competitor. To reduce the chances of this happening, allow guests to pay using a variety of different methods, including PayPal.
3. Reassure them you’re legitimate Linked to the above is displaying logos for official payment methods to prove that you’re a legitimate company and not a scam out to take people’s money. Similarly, keep the same branding for your booking engine as you do for the rest of your website to reassure visitors that they haven’t been redirected after they click through to book.
4. Keep your form concise Asking for too much information during the booking process can be really off-putting and some would-be guests may simply ditch you if your form appears endless. To avoid this, only ask for the information that you really need right now. A popular field to eliminate is ‘phone number’, since many people are wary about inputting this for fear of being inundated with cold calls afterwards.
5. Follow up with a marketing opportunity If you achieve the holy grail and someone clicks through, fills in all their information and actually clicks that all-important ‘book now’ button, then you’ve got one more opportunity to optimise your booking form for future return on investment.You could add an automated facility that brings up a new screen thanking them for their reservation, but also asks for or adds other information. For example, you could populate this screen with a mock postcard featuring a picture of your hotel and resort and the text ‘we can’t wait to see you in [month of booking]’. Alternatively, you could invite them to subscribe to your newsletter, book shuttle buses or add on extras like late check-in.
Improving your booking form could be an easy way to reduce cart abandonment and make your hotel revenue management easier, so try overhauling yours today.