Tuesday 8 January 2013

Maximise the Visual Impact of Your Booking Engine

There are so many things that can turn off your site visitor from booking. Hide away the availability checker, have too many levels, not showing best available rates or in this case not making it easy to find the room options available.

It is extremely important that you spend some time optimising your room descriptions, images and even order to ensure that your guest can book the room that they wish.

Bookassist have made this even easier to do now and we thought it worth while looking at what you could or should be doing.

Now, at the outset is that there is quite probably no right and wrong in how rooms should be set up but if you follow your own "customer journey" through your own booking pages you'll be able to identify where the hurdles are and then you can remove them.

However on most occasions we are recommending to accommodation providers that they promote two routes to their bookings - by Room Type and by Promotional Package.

By Room Type 

Bookassist can sort your rooms and packages into Variation Groups. In ordinary English that means that you can create a variation group that describes the generic room type and then you can sell the various package options underneath it.

Variation Groups are viewed once the site visitor has clicked on the availability checker. The order of rooms and packages can impact on the conversion of lookers to bookers and it is important that thought is given to how providers list their product.

A variation group can be seen as a type of folder holding each of the packages relating to that room underneath it.

We recommend sorting your packages in this way as it means that the guest can systematically see the options by room type and the accommodation provider can make it easy to upsell packages form a basic room.

The booking engine allows the accommodation provider to move the order of the packages and indeed the variation groups themselves using an easy drag and drop facility to make sure that the most important packages can even temporarily be moved to the top of the page.

From the customer perspective they can see the room description at the top and then read only the detail of the specific packages below. A/B testing has overwhelming shown that the new layout converts at a higher level than the old route.

By Promotional Package

In addition to the sort by room type in the availability pages we always recommend that accommodation providers create a dedicated Promotions or Special Offers page on the website. Your customer is looking for the deals so you may as well sell them direct rather than through expensive third party channels.
Bookassist booking engine uses Price Groups to make the booking of your packages very easy. The creation of a regularly updated offers page highlighting January Sale, Spring Breaks, Golf Packages  Three nights for Two, Sunday Night Free (the list is clearly only limited by imagination!)

Price Groups work by allocating unique codes to packages or groups of packages to allow the visitor to click directly on the specific promotion without having to go through layers of date and room type information. It is proven to increase conversion rates in promotional packages.

In addition Price Groups can be used to promote email campaigns and in house "flash sales" (See Mar Hall Case Study) often with extraordinary results. Simply add a price group to the package being promoted and use the direct link to the package in your mail, social media and website.

Design and Layout

Bookassist allows the accommodation provider not only to control the content and order easily but also to mange the look and feel of the booking engine itself. Web designers can easily change the CSS code to ensure that the booking pages are styled to suit the website design.

Downloads and Links

For more information on how Bookassist can improve your business contact us on 01292 521404 or email us

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