The key to boosting hotel bookings is a comprehensive online booking engine. This not only streamlines the booking process for your guests but also simplifies the behind-the-scenes administrative side for you. Having an efficient booking process can lead to increased occupancy in your hotel and, ultimately, higher revenue, so it’s important to find the right booking engine for your property. Such technology can allow for the fast and easy creation of automated content tailored to your guest’s preferences.
Automated Price Adjustments
Automatically adjusting your hotel room pricing in accordance with supply and demand can be an extremely effective way of boosting both bookings and revenue. Looking at the collective data and increasing the room rate when demand is high, and vice versa, will allow you to maximise profits all year round. This can be achieved through the use of technology which creates a uniform and consistent pricing strategy by automatically applying the adjusted rates and inventory across multiple channels. This eliminates the risk of overbooking, or your guest finding the same room cheaper elsewhere, while also removing any need for hotel staff to apply the rates manually.
Have an Immediate Call to Action on your website
More often than not, guests visit your hotel website to browse before they book. If your opening page has an immediate call to action, they’re more likely to start the booking process to investigate the costs, which can ultimately lead to them confirming their booking. An example of this would be offering to check availability or inviting them to ‘book now’ in bold lettering on the front page to get them into the booking funnel as soon as possible. Having this as a portal page to the rest of the website immediately starts them on their journey. This becomes increasingly effective when you optimise the website browsing experience across all devices, with triggers designed to ensure they eventually convert the booking.
Reach Out to Customers Who Haven’t Yet Booked
Another effective approach is to establish a line of contact with people who visit your website to encourage them to come back and complete their booking journey. Many guests will go through the motions of booking to work out the costs of staying with you, but then exit before the final confirmation of their booking to shop around. This is referred to and measured as your booking abandonment rate. To lower this figure, you can apply personalisation, retargeting, and reassurance strategies to try and entice them back. It’s here that an efficient booking engine for hotels can help by capturing an email address early on.
If it can register the email of the customer in the first stages of booking, it’s then possible to email them at a later point to remind them to complete their booking should they leave the hotel website. As more and more guests are looking for a personalised experience, these emails can be tailored to each individual guest’s browsing behaviour – providing the perfect point to upsell deals and packages that can help take their booking over the line.
A sense of urgency can also help as a persuasive tool. If your rooms are booking up fast, let them know – as this can instil a fear of missing out, which can help convince them to book. During peak times, this may not be necessary as your rooms will be more likely to sell out regardless, but for lower peak times, such as a winter weekday, this could also be a great way to encourage more bookings. Guest communications can also help you target old customers. For example, once you’ve created a relationship with your guest, you can help them to feel valued by emailing a bespoke promotional code specifically for them – and this may be enough to persuade them to book again in the future.
Offer Alternative Booking Dates
If your guest starts the process of booking a stay but the dates they ideally want to book are sold out, they’re likely to look elsewhere. However, if your booking engine immediately offers an alternative date, they may be more inclined to stay on their booking journey. It may be that the prospective guest is more than willing to change the date in order to be able to stay with you; so offering an alternative booking date is always a good idea. Again, this is something that’s automatically built into our booking engine, but on many hotel websites, this option simply isn’t available – yet we’ve found it to be a very effective way of booking conversions.
Samantha Williams is director of Business Development at Profitroom, a provider of SaaS technology and hotel marketing services.