Booking engines are everything, and they don’t all perform the same...
They can make or break your hotel, it’s that basic (and scary). In the 21st Century buying online is the norm for most people. It’s the way they want and expect to be able to buy from you.
OTA or Direct – Customers Don’t Care
You care though…
The truth – customers don’t care if they use an Online Travel Agent to book with you. Why should they? The result is the same. Sometimes they’re not aware of the difference.
However, you’re aware of the commission you pay to 3rd party booking sites. Clearly, if customers book directly it’s more money to you.
Direct Custom is the Best Custom
Where’s your brand on Booking.com? Nowhere. For a customer sent from an OTA your hotel is…just a hotel. They were indiscriminately searching for deals. And, because it’s 3rd party, you don’t have their data. They’re “drift-on-by-guests”.
If they book directly, they’re already more engaged. You’re delivering your brand to them,
and with their email you can keep doing so – the potential for repeat sales in the future.
It’s about added value too – on your site you can include extras like breakfast, late checkouts or a teddy on arrival. OTAs don’t offer teddies.
Make it Super Easy for Customers
Customers don’t allow time for your online booking engine to be clunky, slow or worse – not working. The moment this happens, they go elsewhere or to an OTA.
So, you need to make their lives easier –
Brilliant Booking Engines
The world is digitalised, and online systems (of all types) have come a long way since the days of dial up. Simply having an online booking engine isn’t modern, but one that’s quick, smart and a breeze to use is modern. Not only this, but –
Substantial Sales Increases
At Clockwork we’ve seen the impact of replacing a poor booking engine with a brilliant one. In some cases, there’s a double-digit uplift in sales.
Why wouldn’t you want that?
Booking Engine Performance with Google Analytics
The most powerful way to understand how your booking engine is doing is to connect it to Google Analytics. This gives you an in-depth picture of your customer’s booking journey.
If you connect Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see far more than the % of customers booking online.
Here’s what it could tell you (tip of the iceberg):
• Which marketing drove the initial interest
• Which emails generate the most revenue
• Which device customers are using to book
• Where the booking journey was abandoned
This is all essential data. Without it you cannot possibly know how your website and booking engine compare to the best.
Vital Revenue Measures for Your Booking Engine
The Revenue Trinity…
• Revenue (no surprises)
• Number of transactions
• Average order value
These are ideal measures (or KPIs to get technical), because they’re simple to understand and Google Analytics shows them clearly.
E.g. A hotel takes £25,000 from 71 transactions, with an average order value of £350. This is easy to compare to previous stats.
Whereas, odd little percentages like a 1.26% conversion rate increase (hooray!?) can be almost meaningless to your business. What’s 1.26% in money?
Poor Engine to Brilliant – Huge Revenue Increase
The proof is in the pudding.
Recently, we helped a client move booking engines and created them a new site – fully optimised to drive customer bookings.
Resulting in an increase in online revenue of £151,000 – almost tripling the previous year.
It’s no understatement to say our client was delighted, but also shocked by this – in the best possible way.
Which Booking Engine is Best?
As marketing leaders in hospitality, we understand hotel booking engines. Something generic agencies struggle with.
Plus, we have the luxury of being able to compile booking engine data from hundreds of hotels. There’s a huge variation in performance, and some reliably poor booking engines.
This knowledge is gold dust to our clients.
Hallmarks of a brilliant Booking Engine.
The nuts and bolts…
• Helps improve direct bookings
• Gives a far better user experience
• Provides simple booking steps
• Gives strong, consistent branding
• Seamlessly merged with your site
• Secure and confident transactions
• Marketing ready features (special offers etc.)
• Post-sale extra features
• Full Google Analytics tracking
These features could help your business with three core benefits:
1. More engaged, happier customers
2. A deeper understanding of your business
3. Increases in online revenue
To deliver your new booking engine you need an independent expert that understands hospitality, technology and marketing.
That’s us, and we’re ready to step in.