Designing an online hotel booking system for the mobile generation

Welcome Anywhere Property Managment System > Blog > Hotel booking software > Designing an online hotel booking system for the mobile generation

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Online booking for hotels is booming. According to reports, 65% of same-day reservations are now made on smartphones. And, if you think OTAs always grab the lion's share, the fact that hotel brand websites account for over 64% of all bookings will give some hope to hoteliers drowning in commission bills.

OK, so you may not be the Marriott or Hilton, but one fact remains - guests expect an easy, convenient booking experience they can conduct anywhere and on any device. If you offer that on your own website, the likelihood is they'll book direct.

And we all want that, don't we?

With this in mind, we set about completely redesigning the online booking system for Welcome Anywhere Plus. Existing users of our hotel booking system will soon receive a free upgrade, but we wanted to take this opportunity to provide an insight into the changes we've made and the decision process that goes into creating an online booking system that will work for the new generation of hotel guests.

A new look

Design is subjective. But user interfaces? Not so much. In fact, they should always, without question, be simple and utterly intuitive from the moment you lay your eyes on them. It is for that reason our new online booking system is built solely with the guest in mind. Technical jargon was denied entry and we've ensured there are no rabbit holes down which one may fall.

The look and feel of the new booking process can be customised just enough to make it slot seamlessly into your existing website, but not so much that it can be left a shadow of its former self (we've seen this happen far too often with other online booking systems that have been tinkered with). The result is clean, addictive and entirely in keeping with your brand.

The example below features our logos, but the background, header and footer can be fully customised with your own imagery:

Online booking date selection

 

Tailored bookings

Every booking starts with an arrival date. But what if the guest wants to really fine-tune their stay? A ground floor room, perhaps? Or maybe a dog-friendly double with a shower? With the new fully-customisable preferences system, they can do just that:

Room preferences

As you can see above, after choosing the arrival date, the guest will be asked to enter their length of stay and the number of people coming, followed by any room preferences they may have. Simple!

One step at a time

We've retained the step-by-step booking process in order to avoid throwing everything at your guests in one, big, confusing screen of text, drop-down options and buttons. We've stuck by this method since 2003, because we know it works. The new system has just four steps, and the guest's current task is clearly highlighted:

Step-by-step online booking process

That'll get them booking direct!

Easy group bookings

We'll avoid calling it a shopping basket, but your guests will be able to easily create group bookings and keep track of the total cost of their reservation with the new 'Your booking' section:

Your booking section

Transparent rates

When adding a room to a booking, the new system will ensure there is no confusion over the chosen rate:

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Beautiful room pictures and descriptions

A picture says a thousand words, and will likely gain you thousands of direct guests. In our new online booking system, room pictures show off the best your property has to offer, and you can add detailed room descriptions, highlights and amenities. Tell your prospective guests what makes your establishment special!

online booking accommodation screen

As you'll note above, we've also included the ability to clearly display when a room type and rate combination is of the premium variety.

Clear calls-to-action

You simply won't sell a room without a clear call-to-action, and we've made sure every button is obvious and eminently clickable:

Call to action buttons

Options, options, options

If there's one thing you want to shower your potential guests with, it's optional extras. Boost your bottom line by offering more than just a bed for the night:

Online booking optional extras

Get to know your guests

Where did they hear about you? What's the reason for their stay? What else do they want? Defining and getting to know your guests has never been easier, nor more valuable:

Guest details

Simple, convenient sign-in

The trick to avoiding repeat agency commissions is to enable past guests to re-book quickly the next time they want to stay. Our new online booking system lets them do just that by signing in to retrieve their details and expedite the booking confirmation process:

Online booking sign-in

When is it available?

Soon! Hold tight, as we'll be sending more information your way once a release date is confirmed. Next week, we'll be taking a look at the ease with which hoteliers can keep their online booking system up-to-date and fresh, directly within the Welcome Anywhere hotel booking system.

 

n.b. The screenshots shown and features mentioned in this blog post are representative of a system that is still in development and are therefore subject to change at launch.

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3 thoughts on “Designing an online hotel booking system for the mobile generation

  • Samantha Roffe

    Thank you for this. The current design is the one weak spot for mobile users.
    We currently have two sites using the Welcome booking system.
    Please can you confirm when the upgrade will happen?
    Will we need to implement any changes on our website and exactly what will we need to do to make the new system look like our brand (or will you base the new design on the existing branding/colours?)
    Is the process for inputting photographs going to be very simple and how soon will we be able to add images and additional detail? Will it be possible to complete this work before the upgrade goes live for our two sites.

    Thank you
    Sam Roffe
    Malvern Inns
    07854 056354

    Reply
  • Mark Ellis

    Hi Sam

    Thanks for getting in touch. We are currently in the testing phase for the new online booking system, and further details on the release date will follow soon, along with details on the switchover process. Very little will change from your website’s point of view – we want to make this transition as smooth as possible for our users.

    Adding room images and detail will be very easy indeed thanks to a brand new online booking configuration tool that will be present within Welcome Anywhere. Look out for a blog post on that next week!

    Thank you

    Mark

    Reply
  • Adam Dobson

    Hi Mark,

    Fantastic work, Love it… We are ready when you are!

    Reply

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