Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Booking a motel in your underpants

Accommodation providers know how important it is to present bookable online inventory. Online commerce is not an exact science, however there are many commonly accepted rules. 

The booking process should appear to be integrated into the accommodation provider's website. While browsing the accommodation provider's main website, customers do not like being whisked away to an unexpected 3rd party booking provider and this necessary transition should be as seamless as possible.  As the customer moves through a buying decision, clicks should be kept to a minimum and the process should be simple and intuitive. 

The room options presented should be room types (not an exhaustive list of all rooms by unit number), descriptions should be succinct and photos must be of the highest quality.

Before they share personal information including credit card details, the customer need to be reassured that they are dealing with a business that they can trust, has credibility and will protect their privacy. The accommodation provider's main website should have several points that build this trust and the booking process should allow the customer to easily access clearly defined terms and conditions. 

The booking widget (along with the accommodation provider's main website) must now be mobile enabled. Mobile channel bookings have increased four-fold between 2008 and 2010 and  Google have predicted that mobile will overtake PCs as the most common web-access device by 2013. While apps have their place, the must-have accessory for online commerce is a mobile website that uses a mobile enabled booking widget. 

So how do we make it easier for the consumer to connect? Maybe we can learn something from Red Tomato Pizza in Dubi that have stripped down the online buying process by enabling their customers to order pizza with a single tap of their digit.
"Called the VIP Fridge Magnet, the pizza box-shaped magnet is connected to Red Tomato Pizza in Dubai. The magnet is preset to order a pizza online and is connected to the Internet via the Bluetooth connection on a smartphone. Red Tomato Pizza then sends a confirmation text and delivers the pizza soon after. You can also update your pizza selection online at any time."
Very cool:

So how does this work?

Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!