Hello everyone, I see lots of hostels making many direct booking mistakes, and it is right to assume, that if you give a potential customer any doubt, they will go and book elsewhere, either through an OTA or even worse a customer. To turn every web visitor into a booking, have the answers to these questions available for them within one click away (you can either have a link on the booking page
What am I booking?
Your website must, and I repeat, must clarify the room types with many images. This doesn't necessarily have to be on the booking page, but the easier it is accessible the better the chances of getting the bookings. This is mainly seen with those who use myallocator as a channel manager, and choose the easy booking widget. It works great, but just make sure the room types, descriptions, and pictures are available on the website too.
Hostelworld's booking widget shows the rooms below as users proceed through the process. TheBookingButton (siteminder) EasyBookingsOnline, and MaxBooking allS to see if they work correctly.
Is this booking confirmed?
Do you still use forms as a reservation request? Please upgrade. Guests want to know you have a space for them immediately. Even if you are using a booking widget, it is important to state the the bookings will be confirmed immediately, and if you do, ahem, use forms, then clarify a time frame you will reply within.
What will the customer need?
It is the industry standard that a valid credit card will be needed to place a booking. The credit card must not expire prior to arrival as well. Will their card be charged? They would like to know.
If you are asking for credit card details, it is not a great idea to ask them to email them or send over a form. You should ask them to call in the numbers or give them to you via a secure link like OneShares.
What if they want to cancel?
Will they be charged? How long in advance will they have to cancel in order not to be charged.
Are the terms the same for groups?
Sometimes, groups can be more of a hassle than a blessing. They put a higher strain on resources and if they cancel late or not show, they can leave you with nothing. To minimize the risks, you need to let them know of your group booking policy. How many people does it take to be considered a group? Must they pay all in advance? Are there any penalty rates for changes? How long in advance can the cancel.
Can just anyone check-in?
A lot of hostels have a No Locals! rule, pretty much a rule to filter out problem guests. What is yours?
Is this price the total?
Some countries add the tax later. Are there and temporary membership fees? Let the guest know.
You do not need to write 5 pages below the booking widget, however you should make many pages on your site, and have links to them, as they are only relevant to those interested. There is a reason the OTAs are raking in the bookings, they require you to answer all these questions in order to be listed. If you can add the same convenience they offer, you are bound to rake in some more bookings. Don't forget to include the info in your confirmation emails as well.