Keep It Simple
13 August 2018
Keep it simple.
Imagine if you will the experience of a potential guest to your holiday park;
They may be looking for a place to get away to in the UK, so they complete search after search online – maybe via Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Google – looking for the best break for them.
They look at social media to try and get an idea what others may think of some of the parks they are considering.
They visit park websites to have a look at the park, the facilities, the accommodation, the offers.
They then go back to TripAdvisor to get ‘independent and honest’ reviews.
Then they check prices on park sites and Booking.com and TripAdvisor.
Then they decide!
So, your park is the one! You also offer the best price. The guest comes to your website to make a booking online and then are confronted with a booking process that can best be described as confusing and disjointed.
Browser windows open here and there, the guest is taken off from your website to a third party site, what should be a simple process – select date/select accommodation/book – is poisoned with more and more marketing content and material..
Good grief – more confusion.
The guest exhausted by their journey and experience so far – drops off your site and either (if you are lucky) books to stay with you through TripAdvisor etc. or selects another park for their stay that has a straightforward and simple booking process.
Even if you think your booking process is simple – is it? Are you simply allowing the guest to complete the three stages to the process – Date – Accommodation – Book or are you inadvertently looking to extend the process by taking then to another website and maybe adding additional marketing information to what should be a simple process?
It’s tempting though isn’t it? Its more cost-effective to have a third party booking system running your bookings and including the odd piece of additional marketing content won’t hurt – right? And you may never have a better opportunity to push more marketing information to guests.
But, we do recommend that looking at the wider experience of the guest – their travails and bombardment of their senses before they come to your site – may enable you to deliver a better booking process for the guest with the benefit of increased conversions and bookings on your site. Get it right and you can even include subtle upsell opportunities.
Here we can take learnings from the hotel sector.
Principal Hotels are a group of hotels looking to compete with Hotel du Vin – a mid/upper range portfolio of hotels that are looking to focus on customers looking for experiences as well as a room.
They have spent a considerable amount of time (although not a huge amount of revenue) redeveloping their booking process into simple steps – moving from third party booking systems to in-house bookings. As an aside this saved them over £12,000 per month in booking fees.
Let’s look at their new process;
On their website home page a simple location, date and guest selector. Subtly allows the guest to provide a huge amount of booking information in one simple interaction. Nothing new here though you may say!
Accommodation Selector – selling (in this case) the room, before the individual rate. Across the top of the page we see a simple identifier of the steps in the process and the stage we are at.
Select your rate – and get a discount on those offers (sign-up to receive 10% off) – subtle, sensible and respectful to the guest – the discount has been included as a pleasant surprise to the guest – encouraging and enticing the guest to progress.
Would you like to have an add-on now? No – well here’s a simple button to progress – or if you do here are some popular ones. As an aside – Principal Hotels send upsell choices to guests after they have booked and ahead of their stay, providing the ability to upgrade their booking in their own time – they key being – once they have already booked, paid and confirmed.
Now the guest can pay, simply, without any fuss and have a clear indication of costs, booking summary and the stage in the process.
Of course, moving from a third party booking engine needs careful consideration (and on Park Speak we will be discussing that point soon) and linking through to third party sites (such as Airbnb and Booking.com) offers some increased exposure and revenue opportunities.
But having an in-house booking capability for your customers and as a result appreciating their overall experience in staying with you can deliver real, sustainable growth. And, when considered with the numerous opportunities to engage and upsell with booked guests ahead of their stay – the whole experience you provide to guests can be just as good online as it is when they stay with you.