No surprise – most people looking for the best price or the best value. What else can you do to improve your bookings?
Welcome to another addition of hospitality property school.
Today, I’m going to take a look at what are customers looking for when booking online.
So, what are customers looking for when booking online?
There have been many surveys done and depending on where or who the survey comes from, the answers could differ slightly. But looking at the big picture, the number of travel bookings made on the Internet each year is approximately 150 million. It is safe to say 2/3 of these bookings are for accommodations.
It is also safe to say that these numbers are going to continue to rise.
It should come as no surprise, but most people looking to book accommodations online are looking for the best price or the best value. So, how can you improve your bookings?
How do potential customers see value?
Commonly, they are based on three factors:
- Time saved
- Money saved
- Experience gained
It is not surprising that 85% of holiday travellers search online for deals.
As a hospitality property owner, how can you show a potential guest booking with you has value and will elevate their experience?
- An Excellent Website
Many online visitors will go through booking sites look for options. Before booking, lots of those people will go directly to hospitality properties website before making a decision.
Studies have shown that with eye tracking (eye tracking is capturing eye movements and transferring this info into analyzable data) many potential customers will consider specific things during the online booking process.
- Guests have high and low price levels.
- Pictures & video can change a potential guest’s mind.
- Guests rarely consider properties with less than 3 stars.
To instil potential guests with the trust to book your property, it’s important to have an impressive website that expresses to a potential guest a positive feeling for the property.
- Your website is optimised for mobile devices
The percent of same-day hotel reservations made from a smartphone is 65 % and is growing every day, especially for last-minute reservations. This also goes for your presence on social media platforms. An attractive page on the main social networks can go a long way to increasing your hospitality properties brand and a strong brand name can be important for repeat guests were looking for consistency and know the type of experience they’re going to get at your property.
- Images can change a potential guest’s mind
During the final phases of the online booking process, many potential guests become fixated on images and video.
Clean, elegant images or a smartly produced introductory video might give a potential guest the idea that your property is well maintained and of higher quality.
It is not uncommon for an online booker to be willing to pay a little extra for higher quality.
This can also work in the opposite direction if your images look old. Up-to-date images is associated with clean. Old images are quite associated with dirty.
- Online Bookers don’t look at hospitality properties with less than a 3-star rating
If your property has a low star or no star rating, you can forget having much success through online bookings.
Unless your property has little or no competition your odds are greatly diminished.
Potential guests will also look at reviews.
According to StatisticBrain.com:
The percent of travellers who find user reviews important 81 %
The percent of travellers who won’t book a hotel without reviews 49 %
The more positive reviews you have will go a long way in showing that you can be trusted.
- Amenity descriptions can make a difference
After images and video, the second most important thing that potential guests consider is the property description. Specifically, the amenities.
And the two most important amenities guests are looking for?
Wi-Fi & breakfast
It is important to highlight anything and everything that would add value to a guest’s visit.
Other things you could consider including:
Having a loyalty program in place is a great way to show your guests that you appreciate their business. Your program could include simple things like expedited check-in, complimentary upgrades and “insider” hotel information updates that include special offers.
Adding something that adds value to your guest’s experience gives them that extra incentive to choose you over your competition.
It can be as simple as free breakfast, parking, passes to local attractions or exclusive packages.
If you cater to business travellers, hosting a hotel happy hour and inviting guests for a complimentary drink and snack creates a real feeling of community for guests and allows them to break the monotony of a business trip.
Online bookings are not going to go away and if you are not taking full advantage you could be throwing a major revenue stream out the window. By standing out from your competition, you could benefit even when times are slow.
Your only limitation your mind.
If you have any interesting stories about how to improve your bookings and what are customers looking for when booking online and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes.
You can find them at:
That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.
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Until next time, have a fun day.
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“Customer Service for Independent Hotels or Bed & Breakfasts” Studies
Hospitality Property School is a division of Keystone HDC