An online booking system needs one main thing: a website. You will want to create one that accurately describes who you are and what service you provide, whether you run a vacation rental property, a small hotel or are involved in any other business that might require a reservation. It should also make a reservation extremely easy for a customer.
It is important to ensure that the booking website is easy to navigate because that can result in more reservations. Lodgings providers need to focus on making their websites clean, simple and easy to understand. The booking software should also be navigable, but that decision comes while choosing the booking engine software to use within your website. For now, the focus is ensuring that the website itself is user-friendly and attractive so that the booking engine can be prominently displayed.
Features of a Booking Website
Every booking website should reflect the accommodation it is representing. In order to direct the guest to the content, the site has to be simple and user-friendly. Once it is easy to navigate, the content will stand out to every potential guest. Share photos of rooms in tasteful sliders and photo galleries. Write short, informative content to interest users and help them engage with your website.
A potential guest should open the website and immediately get a feel for the sort of rental or B&B they are looking at. There should be a simple booking engine in the middle of the page to attract the viewer’s eye. If they are interested, they should be able to reserve with a few simple clicks.
Booking Website Design: Clean and Informative
A booking website should always be easy on the eyes. When promoting hotels, vacation rentals, or any other lodging business, the webpage should be clean, neat and accessible. Offers should always be displayed tastefully and be very easy to see, at a glance.
Information should be very clear and readily available. Keep in mind that a potential guest might see a cluttered user experience that is difficult to navigate and simply leave. A booking website should be so straightforward that the traveler knows exactly what to do next: reserve their vacation.
Hotels and vacation rental businesses survive on reservations, so that feature should be displayed on the front page. If the website setup becomes frustrating, templates are a good option for hotel owners and property managers. Templates created for booking websites, in particular, are very classy and make the process simple for everyone.
Use Quality Content to Get More Bookings
Once a website is easy to read and use, the content is the most important key. Most guests like to do research about what vacation rental or hotel they will stay in, and good content will ensure that they know what to expect. There should be plenty of details about amenities, how and when to book, and the reasons that this particular offering is better than others.
In order for a guest to book, they will want to see photos of where they will be staying. Showcasing various rooms and features through banners, sliders, and photo galleries help to provide a visual expectation that words cannot manage to do with the same emphasis. The best thing hotels and rentals can promote on their websites are photos of their actual rooms.
Enjoy Quick and Easy Reservations
Having a stunning accommodation website with informative and helpful content is the first step in helping a guest complete their reservation. Building the website around the actual booking software will help to ensure that your entire reservation process is quick and easy, no matter where someone is in the world. When an international guest can reserve the hotel in their own language and currency, for example, everything is simplified for everyone — including hotel staff.
Unfortunately, a cluttered website drives potential guests away. They don’t want to waste their time figuring out how to find out about the lodging if the website gives it a low perceived value. However, they will be far more likely to stay when the website is built to surround the booking engine and emphasize the content reflective of the rental itself. Under these circumstances, the booking engine software can shine and it will be easy for guests to make quick reservations right on the website.
UNDERSTANDING BOOKING SYSTEM SOFTWARE
There are many important aspects to consider when including an online booking system as part of your site. You will want to anticipate the needs of your possible guests and ensure that the software is designed around these necessities. This is ultimately good management because any guest will be more likely to make reservations if they receive quick answers to their questions and the entire process is very accessible for them.
A booking system is usually a computerized reservation system designed to store and share information for travel plans that require reservations or events that require tickets. It also provides a place to make transactions for those travels or events online, often allowing guests to reserve directly through built-in software. There are many examples of booking plugins and solutions that can be used as widgets or add-ons.
FEATURES OF ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEMS
People are less likely to use travel agencies now since direct booking is a cheaper option and they can do the research themselves, so you want to cater to the things your guests will hope to see.
Some of the functionalities you want to have within your software include a real-time booking software that allows guests to book directly without any wait and an accessible calendar that they can easily read. For international guests, offering the software in multiple languages and payments in a variety of currencies will be very helpful.
REAL-TIME BOOKING SOFTWARE
Real-time booking allows you as the owner to choose specific dates that you know your property or rental will be available to receive guests. This way, when a guest chooses those dates, they have the option of booking immediately. They will not even have to wait for a confirmation from you.
Most guests are happy about this since it allows them to have an immediate response. They don’t have to spend several hours, or even days, wondering whether or not they should be looking for a different rental. Knowing that the booking processes instantly is very comforting for a vacation planner, because their plans are all confirmed right away.
This is also convenient for the vacation rental owner because everything is immediate. It can be very time-consuming to take the extra steps to receive a booking request, respond to all the questions before finally confirming the request and sending the confirmation email on to the guest. Of course, this is still an option if you have certain dates when you would like to consider only specific guests for booking your property.
VISUALLY ATTRACTIVE AND EASY-TO-USE
You will want your online booking system to host functionalities that are both pleasing to the eye and easy enough for anyone to use. The most important feature should be the calendar. This calendar should be simplistic – one that quickly shows information. If a potential guest checks the rates and availability for a specific day, they should easily (and immediately) be able to see whether their date is available or already booked. Ensuring that the calendar is simple, clean, and easy-to-use means that customers won’t need to call you to complete a booking. Instead, they can complete everything immediately online. However, if the software is too confusing, you will drive guests away.
Another great option is to display an attractive photo gallery of your property or rooms, with a booking link directly above or beside it. It is much more likely that your bookings will increase if your guests can easily see photos of the place they will be staying. Additionally, you can link social media accounts so that guests can share photos of their stay and it can show up directly on your page.
MULTIPLE LANGUAGES AND CURRENCIES FOR INTERNATIONAL GUESTS
Another very important feature to include in your online booking system is a language option for international guests. It will ease the entire process of creating reservations if a person is able to do so in their own language. In fact, it is far more likely that such a person will book their vacation if they are completely self-assured about all of the details in their own language, rather than having to carefully choose dates and make payments in a second or third one.
It will also save a lot of staff management time if each guest can complete a booking transaction using their own currency through the website. A great booking software will automatically take all bookings made in different currencies and transfer them to the local currency. This helps the entire process run smoothly.
ADDING A BOOKING SYSTEM TO YOUR WEBSITE
The most important part is adding the booking software to your website. The system should be very visible to guests and, ideally, have presence on the front page with a clean color palette, with easy-to-use buttons and characteristics. The integrated reservation calendar should be clear and synchronized. The buttons should be simplistic so that anyone can use and understand it. Any potential guest should be able to glance at the calendar and have a clear understanding of the information such as which day is available and which is not.
Once you have chosen a rental booking software, you can integrate it onto your website in order to take bookings. Some packages can come as combinations which will also create a web design for you. Most are also available as widgets or booking engines which can be integrated into your already existing site to enhance your rental business.
Before adding this to your site, it is helpful to run a demo to ensure you know how it works and check there are no glitches before launching it live on your site. Set up a few people outside of your company to do a trial run: consider the sort of people who will be making these bookings in real life. Ask a few friends of various ages to see if the system works well for them. Then launch your new site to the public!
FREE OPEN SOURCE BOOKING SOFTWARE
Within the computing world, open-source refers to a software that is available for anyone’s use and modification. The code is made available with licensing to the public and it can be distributed freely. Sometimes open source software is developed in a public way, with different coders collaborating to create a new software together.
An open source booking software is simply a booking engine that you can install and update for free on your own site as a way to streamline reservations for your vacation rental. Having a tool like this is very important for reservations, but many business owners do not want to pay for it. That is why this is a wonderful solution for anyone with a technological mind and a little understanding of PHP code.