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Getting them to book online

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toddburme

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For some reason the vast majority of our clients still call to book. They find us on the web and see the site and for some reason, they go through all of that and call to book. I use superinn so finally I got around to changing the links so it goes right to the calendar and this should cut out 3 clicks. And I added "Calendar is accurate" under the button they need to click to get to Superinn.
I am just wondering if our language is too soft in that our button reads - "Check Availabilty". I am thinking "Reserve Now" might be more descriptive and informative.
 

egoodell

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I'm thinking that I am going to put both up even though they go to the same address. I get some who just want to see the availability and they are not clicking on my "reservations" link. And I think there are probably those who don't think to click on the "check availability" because they just want to book,,,,!
RIki
 

JBloggs

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Thanks for the link. From an outsider looking in I will post what I saw:
I clicked over and it seems like a lot of fields to get to before I can actually get to the booking area. Let me see, this is what I did (and being familiar with how to book online, as not all would be):
  1. Website
  2. Rooms page
  3. open a room or two to have a peak
  4. reservations button brings up rez page with tons of policies and small print and is a pop up... then asks me to check avail
  5. click on check avail and back to the website again with avail calendar
  6. I click on a date and it brings up check avail small box with number of nights and people where i have to click check avail again
  7. then the window populates and i have to "click here to reserve"
  8. then the reservation is there with white on dark background (not easy for the eyes, esp older people) w a ton of policies again (way too many to take in, hurts my eyes to read them actually) and all the fields to fill in.
  9. So I pick up the phone and call and give you the dates and my details.
 

Scott

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toddburme said:
I am just wondering if our language is too soft in that our button reads - "Check Availabilty". I am thinking "Reserve Now" might be more descriptive and informative.
Why not try Google's free Website Optimizer? Basically, you create both versions of the page and tell Website Optimizer about it, then they see to it that some visitors visit each one. You can see from the stats which is working better for you.
 

toddburme

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toddburme said:
I am just wondering if our language is too soft in that our button reads - "Check Availabilty". I am thinking "Reserve Now" might be more descriptive and informative.
Why not try Google's free Website Optimizer? Basically, you create both versions of the page and tell Website Optimizer about it, then they see to it that some visitors visit each one. You can see from the stats which is working better for you..
Scott said:
toddburme said:
I am just wondering if our language is too soft in that our button reads - "Check Availabilty". I am thinking "Reserve Now" might be more descriptive and informative.
Why not try Google's free Website Optimizer? Basically, you create both versions of the page and tell Website Optimizer about it, then they see to it that some visitors visit each one. You can see from the stats which is working better for you.
Wow! I did not know they could do that.
 

toddburme

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Joey number 5 took you to SuperInn. Not sure what to do about that as it was even worse before. I just took out three steps.
 

JBloggs

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Joey number 5 took you to SuperInn. Not sure what to do about that as it was even worse before. I just took out three steps..
toddburme said:
Joey number 5 took you to SuperInn. Not sure what to do about that as it was even worse before. I just took out three steps.
Yes I realize, super inn seems to add so many more steps, I know another innkeeper in Maine had issues with that and also gets more calls than online bookings, also has the white on dark background.
I just wanted to walk through as a second set of eyes for you to see what I see. I always find that helpful myself. My first experience on the forum I was told to get rid of a splash page, which I actually thought was cool, then realized the havoc it was reeking in seo and all that.
I believe more people are online, but not necessarily able to do everything online, example my mother. Sorry, won't go there...but she is online and anything requiring reading or filling in forms, she will just call. Where the rest of us spend much of our days online in work or leisure time.
Have you found a "majority" demographic staying with you yet? I know it is early to figure that out, and of course it changes and varies. Well, it is another winter project for you...another one, aye. :)
 

Copperhead

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My online bookings significantly increased once we placed both choices: "check availability" or "Book NOW" links on each of our pages. Yes, it takes them to the same link but who cares if it works!!! What has added to the numbers more is the insentive to book on line. I have now added a $10 savings to book online (thanks to JB for the idea and to continue to drive it home).
I too looked at your site and agree with JB, it takes a big effort to book online on your site. I wonder if you could skip the availability calendar screen and go straight to the next screen when you place in your arrival date & # of nights... Contact SuperInns to see if that option is available, at best you can suggest it as a furture option.
Policies: They are hard reading on the eyes. Two things to possibly help - be less wordy in getting your point through, you have them in detail in another area of your site (yeah, this coming from Miss Chatty Cathy) and maybe seperating the paragraphs with a space - thus giving the white letters some toning down.
 

toddburme

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I was thinking of changing the "reservation" link to bypass our policies and just put a policies link somewhere. As they get hit with them on that booking page and maybe that is enough. And maybe SuperInn is part of the issue as it seems very clumsy to me.
The demographic is the same as when my partner had it before. People from the big city getting away for the weekend or a night. It is funny as you can see it in the email addresses. Fortune 500 companies located in that big city hahaha. He was surprised at how strong our November was. It turned out to be the best November he had experienced there. Dec is horrible but that is to be expected and last minute bookings are saving us. We still see almost zero people booking out 3 weeks. Very discouraging.
Thanks everyone, as normal you guys are great. :)
 

Tom

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Yeah, we ourselves have an easy online rez (resnexus) but about half of guests call. Guests with the web site already up on their screen, still call. Why?
1. Your B&B isn't a known commodity like a chain hotel; there is reassurance in getting a sense of the innkeeper personality over the phone. (I wish dw was as sweet to me as she is to guests :))
2. They can enquire about particular services, room features, integrate your location in their travel plans (important for us since we are outside of town).
3. They are hoping for a deal. Don't ignore the fact that an online rez is fixed price as quoted, but people think they can possibly finagle a little better deal in person.
I would much prefer to see the bookings roll in on their own, but it doesn't work that way. Indeed, if I am on the phone with a guest online, I'll usually try to close the deal. I'd guess close to 10% of guests who have said yes I will book online actually don't get around to booking, but if I took the info over the phone right then, they would book.
 

bbinnsitters

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Yeah, we ourselves have an easy online rez (resnexus) but about half of guests call. Guests with the web site already up on their screen, still call. Why?
1. Your B&B isn't a known commodity like a chain hotel; there is reassurance in getting a sense of the innkeeper personality over the phone. (I wish dw was as sweet to me as she is to guests :))
2. They can enquire about particular services, room features, integrate your location in their travel plans (important for us since we are outside of town).
3. They are hoping for a deal. Don't ignore the fact that an online rez is fixed price as quoted, but people think they can possibly finagle a little better deal in person.
I would much prefer to see the bookings roll in on their own, but it doesn't work that way. Indeed, if I am on the phone with a guest online, I'll usually try to close the deal. I'd guess close to 10% of guests who have said yes I will book online actually don't get around to booking, but if I took the info over the phone right then, they would book..
All very good/true points!
 

Copperhead

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Yeah, we ourselves have an easy online rez (resnexus) but about half of guests call. Guests with the web site already up on their screen, still call. Why?
1. Your B&B isn't a known commodity like a chain hotel; there is reassurance in getting a sense of the innkeeper personality over the phone. (I wish dw was as sweet to me as she is to guests :))
2. They can enquire about particular services, room features, integrate your location in their travel plans (important for us since we are outside of town).
3. They are hoping for a deal. Don't ignore the fact that an online rez is fixed price as quoted, but people think they can possibly finagle a little better deal in person.
I would much prefer to see the bookings roll in on their own, but it doesn't work that way. Indeed, if I am on the phone with a guest online, I'll usually try to close the deal. I'd guess close to 10% of guests who have said yes I will book online actually don't get around to booking, but if I took the info over the phone right then, they would book..
Tom said:
Yeah, we ourselves have an easy online rez (resnexus) but about half of guests call. Guests with the web site already up on their screen, still call. Why?
1. Your B&B isn't a known commodity like a chain hotel; there is reassurance in getting a sense of the innkeeper personality over the phone. (I wish dw was as sweet to me as she is to guests
)
2. They can enquire about particular services, room features, integrate your location in their travel plans (important for us since we are outside of town).
3. They are hoping for a deal. Don't ignore the fact that an online rez is fixed price as quoted, but people think they can possibly finagle a little better deal in person.
I would much prefer to see the bookings roll in on their own, but it doesn't work that way. Indeed, if I am on the phone with a guest online, I'll usually try to close the deal. I'd guess close to 10% of guests who have said yes I will book online actually don't get around to booking, but if I took the info over the phone right then, they would book.
1) there is little you can do to change this way of thinking, some just need that extra reassurance by hearing someone's voice.
2) This is something that should be on everyones website (yeah, there are those that will not read) If you get lots of these questions in your calls, think about how you can provide this info on your site - maybe as an additional 'sub' page entitled MORE info about - You can't stop all the calls we all know that!!!
3) Why I have my discount on my online booking.... I do not discount on the phone. (recently changed to this and it is working) Again, will not stop all the calls like callers who think they will get a deeper discount for one thing or another, or for multiples .... nope.
You are right, if you have them on the phone, you should try to seal the deal right then and there. I have heard/read in marketing materials of the high % (higher than your 10%) of lost sales by not clenching the deal when you have them on the phone.
 

Don Draper

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Yeah, we ourselves have an easy online rez (resnexus) but about half of guests call. Guests with the web site already up on their screen, still call. Why?
1. Your B&B isn't a known commodity like a chain hotel; there is reassurance in getting a sense of the innkeeper personality over the phone. (I wish dw was as sweet to me as she is to guests :))
2. They can enquire about particular services, room features, integrate your location in their travel plans (important for us since we are outside of town).
3. They are hoping for a deal. Don't ignore the fact that an online rez is fixed price as quoted, but people think they can possibly finagle a little better deal in person.
I would much prefer to see the bookings roll in on their own, but it doesn't work that way. Indeed, if I am on the phone with a guest online, I'll usually try to close the deal. I'd guess close to 10% of guests who have said yes I will book online actually don't get around to booking, but if I took the info over the phone right then, they would book..
Tom said:
Yeah, we ourselves have an easy online rez (resnexus) but about half of guests call. Guests with the web site already up on their screen, still call. Why?
1. Your B&B isn't a known commodity like a chain hotel; there is reassurance in getting a sense of the innkeeper personality over the phone. (I wish dw was as sweet to me as she is to guests :))
2. They can enquire about particular services, room features, integrate your location in their travel plans (important for us since we are outside of town).
3. They are hoping for a deal. Don't ignore the fact that an online rez is fixed price as quoted, but people think they can possibly finagle a little better deal in person.
I would much prefer to see the bookings roll in on their own, but it doesn't work that way. Indeed, if I am on the phone with a guest online, I'll usually try to close the deal. I'd guess close to 10% of guests who have said yes I will book online actually don't get around to booking, but if I took the info over the phone right then, they would book.
Our website is pretty exhaustive in terms of information. While people still don't like to read, I can say that we are now 1.5 years into offering a $10/night discount to book online and we have found that the people who insist on speaking to someone on the phone to book are either older (don't use the internet at all) or PITA's (looking for a discount/trying to squeeze 5 people into one room/wanting to be an exception to some other policy).
It has simplified our lives SO much not to have to vet all those phone calls. Folks who are serious about booking will leave their phone number and the exact dates they want to stay. Those looking to be an exception to one of the policies are always so vague, it is actually very funny to listen to them dance around the subject.
 

JBloggs

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Just think of everything else being sold online "WEB ONLY" specials, ie consider the airlines, call and speak to them and they will tell you "We cannot offer you the same deal you saw online, that is an INTERNET ONLY special rate"
 

Alibi Ike

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Yeah, we ourselves have an easy online rez (resnexus) but about half of guests call. Guests with the web site already up on their screen, still call. Why?
1. Your B&B isn't a known commodity like a chain hotel; there is reassurance in getting a sense of the innkeeper personality over the phone. (I wish dw was as sweet to me as she is to guests :))
2. They can enquire about particular services, room features, integrate your location in their travel plans (important for us since we are outside of town).
3. They are hoping for a deal. Don't ignore the fact that an online rez is fixed price as quoted, but people think they can possibly finagle a little better deal in person.
I would much prefer to see the bookings roll in on their own, but it doesn't work that way. Indeed, if I am on the phone with a guest online, I'll usually try to close the deal. I'd guess close to 10% of guests who have said yes I will book online actually don't get around to booking, but if I took the info over the phone right then, they would book..
Generally, if someone is calling who is not a repeat (they all know it is faster to call me than fill out the form), I try to find out why they chose to call rather than just make the reservation. Today's example is someone who did read (some of our weekends are 2-night mins but it isn't always clear which ones - 'festivals, events, graduation') and needed to know if she could book one night instead of 2 on a random weekend. The usual reason is they found the phone number 'somewhere' and never even looked at the website.
She ended up calling back and booking 2 nights anyway.
Sometimes guests are just tired of sorting things out on their own. Too many choices. Too much info. Too many different website formats. I get info overload looking at some websites. I just want a stinkin' room! Make this easy on me! Show me the room photo, give me the description, show me the price. Make sure I know breakfast is included.
 
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