Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hotel Booking Abandonment - Part 2

Losing potential hotel guests through booking abandonment is the worst possible outcome for any hotel’s website visitors. Especially because these visitors have eschewed other channels and have made their way into a hotel’s website booking funnel, only to be lost for any number of reasons, some of which can be prevented. Recently several surveys (including the SaleCycle survey reported on in part 1) have attempted to find answers to the question of why these website visitors take the time to enter the funnel, only to bail out of the process along the way. And more importantly, what can be done to mitigate this outcome.

Reducing Hotel Booking Abandonment

  • Pricing
The SaleCycle results clearly point toward price being a crucial driving force in motivating website visitors to abandon their hotel bookings mid-stream. When asked why, many claim that they were merely looking or just getting ideas and needed more research. Consumers are continually trying to ensure themselves that they are “getting a good deal” on their purchases, especially big-ticket items such as their summer vacation.
A rather simple solution, which reassures website visitors who have entered the booking funnel, is to include a best price guarantee somewhere on pages where prices are indicated. This is vital in order to prevent site visitors from leaving and going elsewhere to seek a better price. They may not even find a better price, but may eventually book with an online travel agency or other channel because it is now in front of them and once they are gone they may not be willing to go back to book on the hotel website.
It is also essential for all pricing to be as clear as possible, since consumers seek to always know what the “real” cost to them is going to be. Any additional fees or charges must be openly stated. If potential guests feel like they are being deceived in any way, they will go somewhere else to book.

  • Simplicity and Relevance
If hoteliers are to expect their customers to book their stays directly through the hotel website, then the entire user experience must be as seamless and intuitive as possible. Simple to use and straight forward, with clearly marked calls to action is what is necessary to keep booking abandonment at a minimum. “Book Now” or “Make A Reservation” buttons should always be present on every page. Search processes should be helpful to users, leading them to the relevant results they are seeking, without confusing or irrelevant results coming back.
In the last part of this series, we will look at a few more ways in which hoteliers can reduce the number of booking abandonments of their websites.

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