Tips to reduce the online booking abandonment
In the hospitality industry, many bookings are abandoned during the online booking process. Many people begin this process to have an idea of the price of their stay and to compare it with other competitors’ prices. Some abandon their online booking because they have to discuss it with the people they are travelling with and others abandon it due to a lengthy and complicated booking process. Here are a few tips to reduce this abandonment rate.
Justify your rates
Some potential clients abandon their online booking because your rates do not correspond to their budget. However, a potential client could have a large enough budget to afford to stay at your hotel, but they might not find added value by picking your hotel. With your marketing strategies, it is crucial to work on your hotel’s image in order to showcase what makes your hotel unique. Do not hesitate to share your story and show off the one-of-a-kind aspects of your hotel on your website. By doing so, potential clients will immediately notice this added value and will be willing to pay the price in order to stay with you. Thus, they will not abandon their booking at the last minute.
Improve user experience on your website
In order to avoid potential client abandoning their booking due to a long and complicated booking process, make sure your online user experience is clear and concise. In the hospitality industry, we always strive to provide the best customer experience and this should be reflected on your website. You should test your online booking experience to ensure it is simple, short and efficient. Online reservations through smartphones and tablets are on the rise, so make sure your booking process runs smoothly on these devices as well. First, ensure your “Book now” button is clearly visible and stands out. Then, your booking engine should only ask the potential client the necessary information in order to process the booking. Keep in mind that the more fields to fill and information to provide, the more likely this client is to abandon their booking. It is therefore important to keep the mandatory fields to a minimum and remove all the unnecessary fields. Every field removed will boost the number of bookings, and you can still ask your client some further information once their booking is complete. You can obviously test your online booking process yourself, but you might want to ask your friends and family to test it as well, to see if they find anything confusing or complicated. This will give you a better idea of the elements you need to improve on in order to provide a simple and smooth experience which will maximize your bookings. You can also add a live chat feature on your website. With this tool, you will be able to answer any of your clients question in real time, and they will be able to complete their booking without having to contact you by e-mail and then wait for your reply.
Use your booking engine’s features
Your booking engine certainly contains some features which you can exploit in order to turn website visitors into clients. For example, creating last minute deals could encourage a potential client with a small budget to stay with you at a low rate at an early date. The presale feature could encourage clients wishing to stay with you at a later date to finalize their booking by taking advantage of a discounted rate. Promotional codes may also trigger an impulse buy for a potential client. Booking engines also offer the option of displaying the number of rooms left available for their chosen date. This stress marketing technique can trigger potential clients to take a quick decision and finalize their booking.
Play with your cancellation policies
Some potential clients abandon their online booking as they have to discuss it with the people travelling with them first and see whether or not your hotel corresponds to their criteria. By offering a flexible cancellation policy, you could see your conversion rate improve. This will allow potential clients to guarantee their booking while they discuss it with their peers. It is likely that even if they find a cheaper accommodation, having to cancel their booking at your hotel will discourage them from booking another accommodation. Keep in mind that a more flexible cancellation policy does not necessarily mean that more clients will cancel their booking. It can simply give a peace of mind to indecisive clients and thus entice them to book. This technique will allow you to generate more bookings while maintaining a policy on the rooms you have left.
Many reasons can cause potential clients to abandon their booking. Make sure to avoid those on which you can act, especially by justifying your rates and optimizing your online user experience. You could be surprised of how simple actions like these could boost your direct bookings.