How to score a booking on the first date

71% of people agreed that being shown prices on dates either side of the ones they’ve selected is useful to them

We’re a picky bunch, and never more so than when it comes to finding dates to actually go away on. People will constantly chop and change their booking times, depending on not only availability, but also the hotels. The last thing you should be making a potential customer do is have them go through the booking process all again because the date they wanted wasn’t available.

After surveying over 1,000 people, we found the eight things people want when booking a hotel all devised in our ‘Get a Room’ eBook. This blog analyses the third of those eight things – showing available dates.

Show Me Lots of Dates                                                                                  

Be open with them. This is where transparency is key in building your relationship with guests. An excellent way to demonstrate this is providing them with dates and information. That way, they can easily compare and gain the confidence that they have made the correct decision.

From evaluating our research, bookers particularly valued being shown availability results in a table format. Especially one that showed rates for a range of rooms with a few days either side of the date requested. In our survey, an influential 71% of people agreed that being shown prices on dates either side of the ones they’ve selected is useful to them. Prices will often be different depending on what day it is, and consumers will be able to see this clearly. Having the option to change and save money is extremely valuable.

This level of transparency will give the customer a genuine feeling of control and build the idea that you, as a hotel, are on their side with their best interest at heart. Hotels pride themselves on making their guests’ stay as relaxed and enjoyable as possible, so why not embrace this theory in the booking process? This feeling should never be overlooked.

It’s important that before the consumer sees the price that they know dates are available. Make this easy for them in the first place; otherwise you’ll just create another barrier. We found that bookers will sometimes tie themselves in knots, so make it simple. People want to click on dates in a calendar format, they don’t want to type in the date.

Keeping clicks down is crucial, and the more you can keep people off the keyboard, the better so calendars with click downs for months (as used by Regatta) or in a grid format (Simple Booking), were well received. Let’s not forget that getting the checkout date to autocomplete is just as important too. Get the whole timeframe done at once, they might like your clicky calendar, but that doesn’t mean they want to see it again further in the booking.

We spoke to Victor Matsas from WebHotelier about their market leading Flex Rate Calendar. Available on the Athens Gate site, it’s a useful tool to show the lowest available rate across a range of dates. As a guest changes the length of stay, difficult offers appear, for example 1 night extra free, or 20% off a longer stay. The flexibility makes it much more appealing for the guest to book.

Careful planning like this is crucial to escalate direct bookings. Keeping that click count down will mean consumers get much further into the booking process without wasting time, everything will be in place much quicker than they are used to. Before they know it, they will be at the ‘Book Now’ button and you may have yourself one happy customer.

To download our study and FREE ebook “Get a room”, click here.

About The Author

All of our blogs are written in-house by the team to give you a mixture of news hot off the press, advice columns for hoteliers, and Triptease business news.