need for speed booking engines

NB: This is an article from TripTease

In this blog series, we’ll take a look at what makes a sterling price comparison widget – and what you can do to get the best out of yours. Today, we’ll start with the need for speed – hold on tight!

First, a little background

Google did a study on why consumers don’t book direct on hotel websites.

The results were astounding and indicated a huge opportunity for hotels: While two thirds of people say they would prefer to book direct given the choice, 76% of people thought it was cheaper to book on an OTA and so did so.

Direct bookings mean far more than a simple reduction in commission payments for hoteliers. Collecting user data on the website allows hotels to get a deeper understanding of guests and effectively initiate a relationship with guests before they even step foot in the hotel – and that’s not to mention whole new avenues of personalisation that are opened up on arrival.

Let’s change that misconception. Here’s how:

  1. Price transparency: Be quick to reassure your guests that direct is best and convert the looker to booker
  2. Best prices: A guarantee as powerful as it is accurate.

Using price as a weapon

Price dominates the decision process for travel bookings, according to eDigital Research. Yet OTAs have gained a reputation for the cheapest prices through some pretty phenomenal marketing budgets. best price

Here’s the good news: most guests will visit your website during that one-month ‘research-planning-booking’ odyssey we’ve all been on. It’s the hospitality industry’s answer to ‘try before you buy’.

And if there’s one place in the whole internet where you’re boss, make it your website. It’s time for a little nudge in the right direction:

“A-hem – we have the best price right here – look!”

By displaying a simple comparison between the price for a particular search on the hotel website and the price shown for the same search on OTAs – you will reassure the guest that booking direct is best. What’s more, the price comparison function on your website will save guests time as they will undoubtedly be developing (a misinformed!) comparison in their head.

direct booking

The need for speed

According to Kissmetrics, 47% website users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. Timing is everything.

This handy chart gives you a feel for how fast your website needs to be loading on the whole – and the impact this will has on conversions:

speed to conversion

Your price comparison widget should be no different.

Through constantly iterating and tweaking Price Check, we’re nailing the optimum time to display the widget on your website, resulting in the highest level of conversion.

We’ve learnt that for Price Check, conversion in fact peaks at 2.25 seconds. Any slower and you’ll annoy a guest, just as a slow website would. But any faster and – information overload – some of the conversion impact gets lost. Take a peep at this sample set we tested earlier in the year:

time load conversion rate

It’s clear that speed can have a huge impact on conversion, yet for every search the factor weighting is different. Our smart algorithm take into account a number of factors (the various OTA prices available, accuracy, country, currency and much much more…) and is fine tuned to weigh these against eachother and against the need for speed.

Read more articles from TripTease