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Tips for Creating an Effective Booking Website Design
The digital age made websites a necessity for businesses across all industries including the hospitality industry, which makes having an effective booking website a game-changer.
May 22, 2020
Different businesses need websites that match their goals and offerings. For example, an online store will need more than just an informational website if they want to make additional sales from their online visitors-- they will need an e-commerce website. On the other hand, if you offer digital services like design or IT support, then you will need an informational website for your audience to understand your offers. But what if you own a hotel, a fancy restaurant or a travel agency? Chances are you will need an amazing booking website design.
Why Do You Need a Booking Website Specifically?
As mentioned previously, different business industries have different needs design-wise and functionality-wise. Businesses like hotels, restaurants or travel agencies will benefit from a good booking website or web page. A booking website should be a combination of some informational pages just so your visitors know what your packages include or what your facilities look like and a booking function for collecting leads and reeling in clients.
Booking Website Goals
Since businesses like hotels and travel agencies need to score bookings, the best way to do this is through their website. Sure, there are third-party booking websites that can advertise the business, but direct bookings could help you:
- Save on commissions - Since you don't have to pay for third-party services, you can increase your sales income.
- Build a lasting relationship with customers - Your business connects with customers on a more personal level when they directly interact with you versus being just someplace they booked on a third-party website.
- Improve your brand image - You can establish rapport more effectively when your clients and potential customers directly go to your website.
So apart from getting more leads and attracting more clients, the goal of a booking website also includes reducing expenses on third-party booking services and providing better booking experiences to customers. During the design process, make sure that your homepage and website is geared towards conversion.
Tips for Creating an Effective Booking Website Design
Here are some things that you should focus on if you want to create an effective booking website design:
Make sure that it serves its purpose as the main communication channel of your business.
The internet made information accessible to everyone-- since this is the case, people can take advantage of this when looking for ANYTHING. They can check the internet for decisions as big as the best hotel in a certain area to something as small as the best brand of cooking oil. That said, it is clear that your website is your first point of contact with your potential clients.
Your website should serve its purpose as the main communication channel for your business. A good website will communicate and reflect what your company is all about and make your visitors understand what makes you a great choice. Business is all about offering services that can make your clients' lives easier, so why not start with your website?
Your booking website should have the following:
- Information about your company and services
- Your packages
- Your contact information (phone number, email, etc.)
- Live chat - this is optional but is recommended.
- Contact forms
Make sure that your website is easy to navigate.
Aside from including an intuitive means to contact you and your establishment, your website navigation is important. Your navigation should be simple enough for your visitors to know their way around and it should allow you to direct your potential client through the page to a specific goal.
For example, if you want to optimise your booking process-- you should make it available wherever it is relevant.
Make sure that all your CTAs (Call to Action) are placed in effective places.
Since you want to encourage direct bookings, your CTAs or Calls to Action should be in the right places. You should place your "Book Now" buttons where people can see it and your reservation box should be prominent.
Many ways are available to make your CTA and reservation box standout and you can consult your booking website design expert to understand each option and be able to make an informed decision. One of the common ways to make sure that your calls to action are visible is to keep the rest of the page simple. By keeping the page simple, you are further drawing the user's attention to your CTA.
Contrary to what you may think-- creating a simple website is not simple at all. You've probably seen a minimalist website and thought that anyone can do it, but you're not entirely correct. Platforms like Wordpress make it possible for even beginners to create a website; however, it takes skills to build a simple website with minimal details AND make it look attractive.
Place your booking phone number or contact details in prominent positions on your website.
As mentioned previously, you can give a more personalised service when you give your clients an option to book you directly. A third-party booking website cannot answer questions regarding your rooms and other services. Also, they can't make decisions about special rates and discounts. Do you know who can answer their questions? You.
An effective booking website design gives the users several options to reach out to you and your company. Aside from having contact forms and a contact page, your contact number or email address should be placed somewhere your visitors can easily spot.
You should also place them on the booking screen itself! Why? What if they have questions before submitting their details and confirming their booking? Placing your number will prevent frustrating scenarios wherein they have to open a new tab to look for your number or worse-- accidentally click on a different page and lose the details that they have already provided on your booking form.
Hype up your USPs (Unique Selling Propositions).
As mentioned above, your website should be able to communicate who and what your company is and what your brand offers. Your website allows you to promote what makes you and your business special. You cannot achieve this with third-party booking websites.
An effective booking website design can help you draw attention to features or services that are unique to your establishment.
Use high-quality images.
It doesn't matter if you are a small cozy inn or a 5-star hotel, you need to use high-quality images for your website. High-quality images help your page look reliable and it allows your potential clients to see what you're trying to show. No one wants a blurry picture of your rooms and facilities.
Your potential clients want to make sure that they are getting their money's worth when they book you. Make sure that you include pictures of the exterior of the hotel, the public areas, the bedrooms, etc.
Make sure that you provide clear and crisp pictures to your web designer. However, when using high-resolution images, be mindful of the loading speed of your page. Slow loading speed can affect your SEO ranking negatively-- you want to avoid that.
Include some certifications, reviews and star ratings on your page.
Certifications, positive reviews and star ratings can help you convince first-time visitors and potential clients to choose you and your services. You can place this somewhere on your homepage and your booking page. These items will encourage them to confirm and follow through with their reservation.
Make the booking process simple and easy.
One of the purposes of your website is to make things easier for your potential clients. Since you want to offer convenience to users, you might as well make sure that the booking process is straightforward. It should be the most uncomplicated thing in the world.
Your booking page should:
- have a secure URL
- only ask for information that is essential to the reservation
- not force users to create an account before booking
Since the page is going to be asking for sensitive information from people, you need to ensure that the page is secured. You should also avoid asking for details that are not related to the reservation as it may appear suspicious. Lastly, forcing people to create an account before they can make a reservation can make you lose a potential client. Remember, you should make things easier for them.
Don't shy away from giving your potential client a few nudges to confirm their booking. Highlight things that you know they will like, for instance, if you don't have booking or credit card fee-- then let them know! People love freebies and discounts, and details like having no credit card fees or having special offers and discounts.
You can use phrases and lines that gently hint that they are going to miss out on an amazing offer unless they confirm their booking right here, right now. You want them to feel a sense of urgency-- don't be afraid of being persuasive. Of course, you should understand when you are overdoing it, and don't say that it is a limited offer if it isn't. At the end of the day, gaining people's trust is important.
If you are running a hotel, a travel agency, a fancy hotel or anything that benefits from bookings, then you need to invest in your booking website design. You should keep your navigation simple and easy to understand, your CTAs should be clear and you should make use of relevant trust signals all over your website. You should make sure that your page will give your visitors a pleasant experience. Ensuring that your booking website is designed to be effective means more sales for your business.