Step 4 is the most crucial step in the guest booking process yet. This is what Expedia and Booking.com have spent millions on. They’ve perfected this step over the years. It’s time for you to perfect it, too.
Step 4: BOOKING
It’s time to get the customer to book!
By this time, you’ve done all the hard work: you have got the booker’s attention, you’ve shown them your property photos, the amenities have appealed to them, and you’ve presented your Unique Selling Point. The guest wants to book, so they hit the “book now” button. What happens after that is the deciding factor in whether you get that booking or not.
This is how the next few minutes should go:
- Guest inputs date of choice
- Guest inputs number of people for the room
- Guest chooses room
- Guest inputs contact information
- Guest inputs card information
- Guest confirms the booking
- This should take between 1 and 2 minutes, max.
The OTAs have an advantage here because they already have a lot of the customer’s data stored in their system. That’s why they make customers log in before they can complete a booking. In fact, even if you’re not logged in when you make a booking, they constantly remind you how EASY it is to make a booking if you are logged in!
That is the key here: making your booking process as easy as possible.
HOW EASY IS YOUR BOOKING PROCESS?
OTAs spend millions making sure that their booking process is as easy as possible. You haven’t got millions, so what do you do? You use a booking manager system. Booking managers include Free To Book, Evivo, Little Hotelier, and High-Level Software. The appearance of the booking software should be a crucial part of your decision-making process when you choose who you go with.
The 3 key elements you need to look for to make sure that booking is EASY are:
- Make sure booking is set up for mobile devices. I myself have made this mistake in the past and it has cost me many direct bookings.
- Make sure that customers can enter their payment information without trouble. Ideally, the guest should have the option to pay with PayPal as well.
- The guest shouldn’t have to enter loads of unimportant data. You can collect things like their home address and arrival time at a later date. Right now, it’s all about getting a phone number, email address, name, and card information.
What’s also important is that your phone number is visible at all stages of the booking process. 38% of guests say that they would call a property if they were to have a question about a future booking. The reason that they don’t is that they can’t find the property’s phone number easily when they have a question.
If your booking manager is not doing the above, then you need to have a chat with them. It could be time to switch if they can’t make that change.
Crack this part of the process and CONGRATULATIONS! You have the booking!
But we’re only just getting into the hard part. Step 5 is BUYER’S REMORSE. I’m going to show you some great ways to avoid the dreaded cancellation in the next post.