This blog was written by Neil Emerick after returning from Thailand on a quest to experience online travel-, accommodation- and outing-bookings. Neil & Theresa are co-founders of NightsBridge.
Recently, my wife and I took a trip to Thailand, which was quite splendid. However, with our Nightsbridge caps on we made it a rather different experience. The difference was we made absolutely no bookings in advance other than our flights (which we did one week before we left) and our first hotel. Everything else was organized from Thailand.
Now, we concede this is not the way most people book their holidays. My brother would be horrified, planning his holiday eighteen months in advance and laminating itinerary cards for his family. We had dinner with one English couple who booked the same hotel, for fourteen nights, full-board. Moving around much was not on their agenda.
However, we intended to explore a bit and ended up staying in seven different hotels in our sixteen night stay. In this article, and the one following, I want to give you an indication of our online booking process and what things you might consider in catering to travellers who book like us. Read more
Even if you’re on lots of online travel agent sites and specialised accommodation sites, your own web site is the most important marketing tool you have. Obviously, a direct booking from your own site — where you don’t pay any commission to a third party — is first prize for your marketing efforts.
With the help of some experienced colleagues in the industry, here are some tips on what visitors look for on your B&B, guest house or hotel website.
1. Lots of good, big photos
People are doing a lot of research online before they book. They will generally compare at least 4 to 5 web sites and photos create the first impression for them. Since research is about learning facts, bear in mind that up to 60% of people are visual learners. They need pictures to tell the story.