If you only knew the psychology behind the bright button for booking that hotel room.

A booking engine is essentially a sales funnel. Ultimately, you’re working and building towards a single outcome: your users clicking a button that confirms their room reservation, trip or flight. Along the way, there are many potential fall-off points that can keep you from that goal. And the experience has to inspire a level of trust and convey a strong brand value. Your audience is not just buying a simple product to be shipped to their door, they’re buying into what they hope is a rewarding personal experience.

BOALT has an exhaustive background and experience in booking engines, especially with regards to hotels and resorts. We’ve worked with some large internationally recognized brands that include Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Melia Hotels, Hard Rock Hotel, SuperClubs and Stay Aspen Snowmass, to name a few.

Key points to focus on when you’re building dream vacations.

Through our experience we’ve gained a wealth of knowledgeable insight on some of the factors that can lead to shopping cart abandonment, which drives up your cost-per-booking. It’s important to have a good strategy with your online sales process so that the experience is tight and seamless — from your paid ad traffic to your landing pages and on through your booking engine screens. Once again, you have to be able to get into your customers’ heads. Drive them through the psychological process of planning their trip and booking their dates by conveying a polished, consistent brand, carefully merchandising location features and highlighting amenities.

A/B and Multivariate Testing key UI elements and individual steps in the process is a great way to refine your sales funnel. You can never underestimate the importance of the usability and intuitiveness of simple interface elements like calendar widgets, date selection controls or interactive galleries to show off room amenities. Careful testing needs to be performed along the way to insure that there’s no break or disconnect in the experience. Too much functionality and bells & whistles can also hurt you if there are browser compatibility issues, so it’s important that your development plan be mindful of accessibility.

Integrating your booking engine with your retargeted banner strategy is another great way to maximize bookings, especially for larger enterprise organizations managing multiple locations or chains. You could, for instance, target based on price or discounts to win traffic back, or advertise available rooms at other locations if customers fell off due to unavailability on the dates they selected.

Building interactive experiences can help close the deal.

Interaction is a great way to empower your customers by making them feel like they’re in full control over their trip or travel arrangements. Creating simple interactive trip-building options is a great way to expose your audience to all of your offerings, while upselling more products and services at your property. BOALT helped concept an interactive community-based “Vacation Builder” for a Starwood Vacation Ownership property at the Westin Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in Hawaii. The experience centered around a fully customized vacation builder that showcased all of the main attractions and features of the property. Users were able to view information and assemble a shopping cart of activities and trip features which led to an interactive booking engine and quoting process.

BOALT’s experience with international properties and brands gives us some unique perspective on strategy, design and implementation of any type of date booking process. We can help analyze your current booking process and give you some insightful ideas on how to lower your CPA and increase conversion.

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