When customers book accommodation through SuperControl, the on-screen booking summary includes a survey banner inviting them to comment on their experience of the booking process.
We’re delighted that the vast majority find our online booking easy. However, we always look to do better and take on board all that is said to help inform our development team. Often, the comments relate to individual websites. So, what are customers looking for? We thought you might like to see some of the common themes – do any apply to your property’s website?
Here’s are five ways to make it easier for customers:
If there’s a mandatory booking fee or cancellation cover, add a note to the booking pages so that people don’t get an unwelcome surprise when they see the full price. Generally, customers understand and accept the need for extra fees – but they like to know about them first. Lots of people who are disappointed when they find an extra fee added that they hadn’t been informed about earlier. Also, more and more business customers are using self-catering accommodation – does your price state whether VAT is included?
ALL the details
Is there a Google map of the location? Do you provide floor plans? Do you list your check-in and out times on your website? Are towels and all bed linen provided? Is heating and electricity included?
These are just a few of the questions we constantly see. Not giving all the basic information customers look for can place a barrier to those wanting to book. At least, it might delay the booking while they email to ask questions. In the interim, they may just find somewhere else.
We also see a constant stream of people who haven’t found it easy to find terms and conditions, make sure customers can find them easily before they book – there are people who will scrutinise every word first!
Questions, questions, questions!
Do you ask lots of questions on your booking form? Do you really need to ask them all before the booking? One complaint from customers is being asked for their age and gender. Generally, people are happy to give information as long as they know the reason. If you are asking this type of question, add a note explaining why you are asking – do you offer a discount for senior citizens, for example? Or is it to arrange insurance? Also, think about when you need information. If you’re asking for guests names for sixteen guests to complete a fire register could this be done when they arrive rather than making your booking form ungainly? Try to keep the form as short as possible. The less boxes there are to fill in, the more chance they will book there and then!
Pictures, pictures, more pictures!
One subject that draws a huge number of comments is pictures. People want to see the accommodation from as many angles as possible. Do you show every room? It’s not just about marketing your property – sometimes customers need to see pictures (for example, of the bathroom) to gauge whether it will fit their access requirements. Nowadays, it’s easy to put pictures online. If you can’t add them to your own website, consider putting up a gallery on Flickr or another photo-hosting site.
In the era of instant payments, instant bookings and information at our fingertips, this is a very important issue, especially where getting to your property requires booking a ferry or travelling on other public transport. It might be useful to tell people how soon you are likely to confirm the booking, for example “We aim to confirm all bookings within 24 hours – if you haven’t heard from us in this time, please call us on [your number]”
POINTS TO TAKE AWAY:
- There ARE people who want to know EVERYTHING – avoid barriers to booking by answering as many questions as possible before they ask them (that doesn’t mean you need to have complicated text everywhere. Just make T&Cs etc available somewhere on the site.) A ‘Q&A’ is also helpful.
- Plenty of pictures will help – make sure they are of good quality, if possible use a professional.
- Ask friends and family (especially those at distance who haven’t seen the property) to try booking through your website and give you feedback on any areas of confusion or information they feel is missing.