Benchmark your booking engine performance
While every hotel is different (classification, location, number of bedrooms all play a part), and there is rarely a best booking engine for hotels, benchmarking your conversion rates is fundamental to uncovering gaps and finding opportunities to improve.
Am I getting the right performance from my hotel booking engine? What does a good booking engine conversion rate look like?
Do they sound like the sort of questions you have asked yourself or your digital marketing agency?
Your hotel’s booking engine or online reservation system is fundamentally the shopping cart equivalent for a hotel website. It’s primary role to increase and convert bookings that are made directly via your hotel website. If you have a PMS or have invested in revenue management software, ideally your booking engine should also seamlessly integrate providing instantaneous availability and rates to customers via your booking engine. While every hotel is different (classification, location, number of bedrooms all play a part), and there is rarely a best booking engine for hotels (for precisely the reasons we just mentioned), benchmarking your conversion rates is fundamental to uncovering gaps and finding opportunities to improve.
While your conversion rate measures the performance of both your hotel website and booking engine, your booking engine conversion rate is essential in purely measuring the performance of your booking engine’s success or failure. It’s probably no surprise to learn that the likelihood of customers arriving in your booking engine and completing a transaction is much higher than your overall website conversion rate.
This graph compares the website Conversion Rate (CR) with the Booking Engine Conversion Rate (BECR) for 200+ European 4- and 5- star hotels between January and October, 2022.
Conversion Rate is calculated by dividing the total number of bookings made on a hotel website by the total number of website visitors. Booking Engine Conversion Rates are from the booking engine only, which means a potential guest that has completed their search, has looked through your rooms and rates and then made a booking.
Of course, your location, classification (star rating), number of rooms should all be taken into account when benchmarking your hotel data against the graph above. However, if it has identified an opportunity for improvement when it comes to your booking engine and making it work harder to generate better conversion rates there are some quick, simple changes you can make that may have a significant impact.
IDENTIFYING SPECIFIC BOOKING TRENDS
How far in advance are your guests booking their stay? How long is a typical stay? Identifying which audiences and which offers are showing a higher conversion rate can help in discovering what should be retargeted. Arrival month and stay type sections can also be powerful for uncovering more retargeting opportunities for your hotel website. There may be a particular day of the week that has a higher number of searches but a low conversion rate, presenting an ideal opportunity to retarget these customers with an incentive, offer of promotion to drive conversion.
EXPAND SECTIONS OF YOUR WEBSITE TO FURTHER IMPROVE CONVERSION RATES
Do you know what type of booker is looking to stay at your hotel? Is it couples, families, groups or individuals? Understanding what type of user is considering a stay at your hotel can help illuminate potential missing content on your site. If its families searching – do you have a tailored offer? Do you have a page describing the activities that are available for families either at your hotel or in the surrounding area? Or a page describing how your hotel is family friendly?
Really good booking engine insights can help provide a range of recommendations on the above along with proactive strategies for offers and promotion planning to creating online campaigns that target specific personas and customer objectives illuminated in your booking engine data.
If you’re looking for an expert analysis of your website and/or booking engine our team can help. We monitor the performance of over 800 hotels daily and can help your team with everything from customised reports to setting up booking engine insight reports. Just reach out to one of our team via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal chat.
Katrina has been working in the hospitality industry since 1993, more recently at Hotel Benchmark, uncovering insight from a wealth of data.