What Your Customers Expect When Booking Online
Your current and potential lodgers expect a seamless experience when they engage with your property online.
Oftentimes, the first interactions your customers have with your hotel are on your website. This is why, in today’s digital world, it’s so important that the first time they meet you, even if it’s online, is a great experience.
In fact, one study shows that, “Meeting customer expectations in the new decade means shifting from being “customer-focused” to “customer-committed.”
Let’s look at what your customers expect when booking online so you can leverage the ever-increasing demands on your service, beginning with your reservation process.
First, it’s important to look at why customers book online to understand what they expect.
Online Booking is Researchable
You can bet your lodgers are searching for you online before they decide where stay.
Using the internet, they have the ultimate tool for comparison shopping. Plus, they can do a vast amount of research in a short amount of time.
Your customers know what they’re looking for, and they have all the tools they need to find it. This includes researching reviews on your property before they even start putting in their lodging dates.
Much of their research is done right on your website. Because of this, you want to make sure your text is enticing and up-to-date, your photos are processional and attractive, and that you offer reviews right on your booking pages.
In addition, your website needs to be quick and easy to navigate.
If your customers run into a snag on your website while researching your property, they’ll be more likely to leave and look for another place to stay.
Why? If your site isn’t working properly, they might subconsciously think they’ll find the same glitches in their own lodging room.
Make sure your site is easy to understand, provides ample information and isn’t complicated. Making a reservation, whether on a computer or a smartphone, should be just a click away. (tweet this)
Online Booking is Convenient
While some of your customers may appreciate the personal touch, the clear majority will prefer to book their stay online. Why?
It’s simply because it’s convenient. They don’t have to wait on hold, and they don’t have to deal with a person on the other end.
Plus, if you don’t have staff working your reservations line when someone wants to book, you may lose the reservation. Or, if your staff is busy, or your phone lines clogged, you again might lose out.
So, online bookings are a win-win for everyone. Your customers can book from anywhere at any time. They expect this perk and are often disappointed if it doesn’t work well on a lodging website, so be sure it does on yours.
Online Booking is Shareable
In our ultra-digital world, people share everything from what they ate for breakfast to their upcoming vacation.
Social networks and instant messaging have changed the way we communicate and, they literally invited the world into our private business.
Peruse your Facebook page, and you’ll find vacation shots from your friends and family. You might also find a link to their next vacation rental.
As a business that relies on online booking, this is also good for you. If your online reservation process is superior and functions well, you might get a social media share when someone makes a reservation with you.
Plus, your customers expect you to offer a shareable reservation. This is fun for them, and it potentially drives more customers to your door.
You can also go the extra mile and offer built-in booking right on your customers’ social media platforms. This is just another way to grow your business while meeting your customers where they are with added convenience.
Online Booking Puts Them in Control
The digital age has given consumers more control with their purchasing dollars than ever before.
Not only can they do their research, but they can comparison shop and make their decision all without ever having to talk with a person.
This puts them in the driver’s seat and allows them ultimate control in their buying process.
Your customers want a hassle-free experience that lets them make their own decisions on their own terms. They don’t want to feel pressure by having to speak with someone.
Rest assured that by offering online booking, you are providing your customers with a low pressure booking environment where they feel in control and therefore are much more likely to make a purchase.
Online Booking Works for Everyone
Let’s say your property is in California, and someone in Egypt wants to visit the United States and stay with you.
If your online booking system is up-to-par, the can make a reservation with you at any time. This is because most modern browsers automatically translate text into foreign languages, so your potential guest has no problem booking with you.
This might be difficult if they were to call you, and no one on staff spoke their language.
So, again, online booking is convenient and easy, and your customers no matter where they are, expect it.
When it comes to online booking, here’s what your customers expect:
- Easy navigation
- Superb site speed
- Intuitive booking process
- Professional, in-depth photos
- Enticing text that fully describes your property
- Trustworthy reviews and ratings
- Information about the area
- In-depth info on amenities
- Full cost info
- Available specials
- Fast booking confirmation
Whether your customers are business travelers or people looking for a relaxing getaway, your online booking process is integral to how they feel about your hotel. (tweet this)
As they look back on their trip, they will remember how your property made them feel. This isn’t just a feeling they get solely from your physical property.
They way the feel about your hotel begins with your website and your online booking process.
If they made a reservation, we congratulate you. This means you are at a minimum meeting their needs on your website. Now, it’s time to go back and look at your booking system with a fresh eye.
You want to exceed their expectations when they are making a reservation to stay with you. So, as you review your online booking, make sure it’s easy and intuitive.
Keep your online booking clean, intuitive and professional, and you’re well on your way to making a positive first impression with your guests.
By delivering on your customers’ expectations from the start, you lay the groundwork for an excellent stay and ultimately good reviews for you.
At Hotel Propeller, we build functional, beautiful websites that utilize your star ratings to help you stand out in the crowd. You’ll find everything you need to attract guests to your website and compel visitors to make a reservation. Take a look at our showcase and contact us today.
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