Making consumers more comfortable with booking accommodation online

Secure Online BookingIndustry statistics mentioned in the media indicate that online credit card use in New Zealand as a percentage is said to be a little more half that of Australia.
Whether that is accurate or not is another cause for debate, however the fact is New Zealanders do use credit cards far less than our Australian counterparts. The question is what can be done to put consumers minds at ease and be more comfortable with using the internet?

Here are some thoughts and recommendations for promoting online booking.

  • Online booking is not a new concept and is popular with the initiated due to instant confirmations, live updates on availability such as on last minute accommodation websites.
  • When consumers provide credit card details online, they need to be as vigilant as if they were handing some cash on the street, thus make sure that the payment pages are secured with HTTPS, as opposed to the regular HTTP address.
  • Customers should make sure the website has acceptable terms and conditions ( refund policies etc..), you don’t want to be left empty handed because of the small print.
  • Make sure the website offering the discount is providing confirmation of your payment and reservation. Some services offer to “register your interest” and only when you have paid, will they check availability with the hotel or Motel.
  • A good idea would to remind customers to take receipt of your online booking for check-in.
  • If a third party website was used customers may want to call prior to confirm your booking and maybe also advise of check-in times, special needs or requests etc.
  • Rates displayed on websites are generally for 2 people and further investigation may be needed to ascertain if additional people can be accommodated and if so what the charge will be, check for any inclusions or extras on offer too.
  • Inclusions can prove to be of excellent value and include such offerings as free breakfast, a bottle of champagne or drink voucher or perhaps a free shuttle service – all these should be included on the booking confirmation.

2 Comments

  1. Jenny March 5, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    All agreed about the above,I have had a web site since 1997 but the proliferation of channell managers et al who wish to take 6+% for bookings/software use and they have credit card details that we can’t use for damage in that we have to take the card numbers again say for a group booking.Or channell managers they pay only on invoice after a month where as some pay after the stay. This is another area that needs more info on.

    I always send a conirmation email with details of confirmation and cancellation-do you think I need to have this clearly on my web site? My policies are different especially for group bookings etc.and it would get complicated..thanks Jenny

    • admin March 6, 2010 at 9:22 am #

      It’s advisable for any tourism operator to clearly state their cancellation policy on the booking page on their website to avoid any confusion and misunderstandings. If you are using an automated online booking system in your website the system should also show the cancellation policy during the booking process – a good booking system will allow you to customise the cancellation policy to your own terms although they may have a minimum cancellation charge that goes to system provider should the booking be cancelled to cover their transactions costs.

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