Have you noticed how seamless the customer experience is on an online travel agency (OTA) website? You can’t really tell where the browsing ends and the booking begins. So how do OTAs create a seamless experience?
For a hotel, guests decide on rooms and amenities through the website. But, to view prices and make payments, they are taken to the booking engine, which in most cases, is on a separate domain and looks different from the brand website. The customer experience here is disjointed. This is one of the main factors which OTAs have mastered — providing an effortless customer journey.
At Simplotel, we believe the website and booking engine are one and the same. We display real-time room prices from the booking engine on your hotel website as well.
OTA sites track guest actions and personalize the website journey for them. For instance, if a visitor searches for a hotel in New York on an OTA, and abandons the process at a certain step, the next time he logs in, he is shown New York, as well as available booking dates. OTAs reduce the hassle of re-starting the booking process, save time and increase booking conversions by showing the guest what is relevant.
At Simplotel, we drive personalization by tracking guests’ behaviour.
Also, when a customer abandons a booking on an OTA, he starts receiving emails and messages with special offers through email and SMS marketing. This is all configured, automated and very effective. Why? OTAs know an average customer browses through 37 websites before booking a hotel. Therefore, it is important to get them to revisit the site.
Simplotel’s technology nudges repeat website visitors to resume their booking journey right where they left off.
OTAs have also figured out that ‘Pay at Hotel’ results in more conversions. Sites like Expedia offer travellers the choice to ‘Pay Now’ or ‘Pay at Hotel’ which drives more bookings.
We understand that the ‘Pay at Hotel’ policy also results in more no shows. Simplotel helps you offer ‘Pay Now’ and even ‘Pay at Hotel’ only on lean days only — where you can take the risk in exchange for higher bookings.
With respect to conversion messaging, OTAs nudge customers at various points with messages such as “You are almost done1”, “Reserve risk free!”, etc. Inventory scarcity is displayed smartly (for instance, 2 rooms left, book within the next 15 minutes to avail a discount). This process is again automated.
Like OTA technology, Simplotel’s solution also provides conversion-driving messaging such as room scarcity and flexible cancelations to boost direct bookings.
Similarly, there are a ton of other things we provide such as member-only deals to logged-in guests, bookable value add-ons in confirmation & pre-arrival emails and comprehensive analytics.
So why is there a Chinese wall between your hotel website and your booking engine? Stay tuned for our next blog. (Read how Hotel Polo Towers hit 1110% growth in direct bookings)