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9.28.2009

Hotel Marketing News hospitality reservation

Hotels cannot afford to lose lucrative bookings due to online booking ignorance

It is astounding that, despite the current climate, hoteliers are still missing fundamental requirements in terms of the usability and functionality of their website and website booking engine. Even more frighteningly, many hoteliers are missing the vital ingredient that promises to increase their reservations – the capacity for instant online sales! The absence of a web booking engine on your website means that visitors experience a pre-historic process which leaves them unengaged, irresolute, on occasion confused and likely to abandon your website! With hoteliers fiercely competing for relevant website visitors and with the cost of acquiring them ever increasing, it is flummoxing that some hoteliers insist on dragging their heels, sticking with a relic booking model that will not convert traffic into the maximum number of bookings.

In a hospitality index report published recently, it was demonstrated that 40% of website visitors did not complete their booking due to navigation problems. Research also shows that the booking process can take up to 12 clicks. This does not bode well with the 21st century traveler – an effective booking process should rely on a few quick and simple steps. It has been established that the more experienced a customer is, the less likely he is to abandon a booking because he is more familiar with online booking processes. However, many of those booking online are first-time customers with no experience. To lose these customers due to a complex and lengthy process, will have a huge impact on conversion rates; therefore this type of shopper must be catered for.

Hotel websites that do have a web booking engine installed, are not exempt from high abandonment rates. I have seen web booking engines stuck behind vaguely entitled menu bars or behind two or three unnecessary pages, making it hard to find. Again, the customer is relied upon to click around the site to find the online reservations system. The web booking engine must be easily accessible. Ensuring there is an obvious link to the web booking engine, which is clearly titled on the home page, will eliminate any confusion. Moreover, having a "quick book box" on the first page will allow any potential guest to quickly and effortlessly check availability for their travel dates.

There is a plethora of web booking engines available on the market, but they are not all equal in their ability to convert "lookers" into "bookers". The Guest Connect Booking Engine is an example of a web booking engine that has proven to deliver a significantly higher level of reservations. Furthermore, in an independent usability study among consumers Guest Connect received a score of 95 percent, higher than any other similarly tested engines. Extensive market research, hotel customer feedback and technical innovation during the launch period have ensured the Guest Connect web booking engine meets traveler's usability needs. Key features that add value to the booking process for consumers range from multiple language capability to its consistency with the theme of the website. Installation of such a reputable web booking engine enables hoteliers to track all marketing efforts and gain a clear understanding of return on investment for specific advertising initiatives. These statistics are invaluable and easily acquired from the web booking engine data. With more and more room sales happening online, this type of quantifiable process may eventually replace traditional reservation processes, making it crucial that hoteliers come to grips with it.

How can GlobRes Help?

GlobRes is one of the market leaders in the electronic distribution channel Industry and our low-cost GDS distribution to travel agents, IDS distribution to major travel web sites and our state-of-the-art online marketing products will help increase your Hotels RevPar!

Through the GlobRes Central Reservations System and its integrated marketing services, our dedicated team of account managers can support your hotel with:

  • The Digital Marketing Team at GlobRes is offering a bespoke SEO & social media service including pages on facebook, twitter and myspace for hotels.

  • GDS connectivity to 650,000 Travel Agents Worldwide

  • Pegasus IDS connectivity (e.g Travelocity, Expedia, Hotel.de, etc) under the GlobRes Chain Code

  • 3-Step Ajax Booking Engine with integrated dynamic packaging

  • GlobRes Xpress Channel Manager with HRS, Booking.com and over 20 leading online travel agents

  • Absolute BAR rate planning tools

  • GDS Marketing Support

  • Website design and online marketing services

  • Channel Management Technology

So if you are interested in saving money -- and increasing your room occupancy rate  then  complete our online form and we'll send you more information.

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