There is no better feeling than seeing new bookings consistently roll in, agreed? Sadly, most of your site visitors will inevitably abandon their booking – 81% of them, to be exact.
That’s no small number, but the answer to this issue might not be obvious at first, especially if you feel like you’re doing everything right. There are actually many factors that determine whether a guest chooses to book with you or not. But, the good news is, you can control most of them. Let’s take a deep dive into your Online Booking Engine and find out what could be going wrong.
Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Bookings
1. Your booking process is too complicated
Planning a holiday is supposed to be fun! If your Online Booking Engine makes it a chore, users will simply turn to Online Travel Agents (like Booking.com). That means you’ll end up paying commission fees, or worse… your guest could book somewhere else altogether! The first step in capturing those bookings is to streamline your booking process to make things easy and reduce the time between browsing and checkout.
Having an Online Booking Engine that integrates with your website means users don’t need to navigate to a separate URL. This allows them to complete the full process within your website. Not only is this easy, but it also creates buyer trust. Many customers may feel uncertain about providing payment information in a new window that has a different look and feel to your website. If your guests can easily navigate their way to checkout, they’ll be less likely to fall victim to frustration and leave their booking in the lurch.
2. You aren’t catering to all devices
A whopping 86% of travelers are disappointed by their experience with Online Travel Agents whilst using a mobile device. This poses a priceless opportunity to get ahead of the game, but can also be a major bummer if your Online Booking Engine isn’t mobile responsive. Having a Booking Engine that looks great and works like a dream is all well and good… just as long as this carries through to whatever gadget your guest may be using.
Ensuring your site is optimized for a mobile experience is essential. This is especially true as more tech-hungry Millennials take the tourism world by storm. If your booking process is buggy or tricky to navigate, users are more likely to give up on their booking altogether.
If you’re thinking about optimizing your Booking Engine for mobile use, it’s important to remember that not all Online Booking Engines are equal… or integrated. If your Online Booking Engine uses an iframe, it won’t be mobile responsive, not to mention further SEO performance implications. If you aren’t sure if your Booking Engine is integrated (or if you aren’t familiar with this tech-jargon), check with your website developer.
3. You aren’t offering alternatives
“No Dead Ends” is something we preach here at NewBook, and with good reason. If you aren’t providing alternatives, you’re more than likely turning bookings away. Everyone has a fear of missing out – if their preferred dates or accommodation options aren’t available, disappointment is imminent. Instead of letting sleeping dogs lie, tap into this by offering flexible options!
For Example, NewBook’s Booking Engine automatically offers your guests similar dates to the ones they had their hearts set on. Users can also place multi-category bookings online if their preferred accommodation option isn’t available for their whole stay. Instead of calling your property or making two separate bookings, NewBook will prompt your guest to choose from different room types for their visit. Easy!
4. The visuals are putting people off
You wouldn’t upload an old, blurry photo from 1987 to your dating profile (would you?), so treat your Online Booking Engine the same! Potential guests want to see everything your property has on offer, and I’ll hedge my bet that doesn’t include a photo you took on your flip-phone back in the early 2000’s.
Outdated, blurry images can give users the wrong idea and have them hunting for other options within minutes. Use professional, well-lit imagery, utilize interactive booking maps for them to see site or room locations, and make sure your descriptions are complete and well-written. If your property is a little dated and daytime photography isn’t doing it any favors, try to take the photos at night with the lights on. It’s best if the lighting is warm, rather than fluorescent, to give the room an inviting feel. If you look the part, they’ll have no choice but to fall in love!
5. You’re lacking payment options
Once all the above is said and done and your guest makes their way to the final step of checkout, the only thing that can go wrong is a payment problem. If you’re not incorporating enough payment options and their preferred method isn’t available, then this scenario might become a reality and might mean a missed sale (and one very irritated potential guest).
With NewBook, online payments are fast, easy and varied, allowing you to instantly take payments from online bookings using Credit Card, PayPal and even ACH/BPAY for guests not arriving straight away. Some more options you could offer include the flexibility to create payment plans or place a deposit and pay the balance at check-in, giving potential guests the confidence to book.
If you’re having trouble securing bookings, our advice is to take a little walk in your guests’ shoes and wander through your booking process from their perspective. Are you making any of these mistakes? If you are, now you know how to fix them!