A poor hotel web form design can stand between your hotel and its conversion rate.
Hotel web form design matters. In the now legendary tale of the ‘$300 Million Dollar Button’ by changing mandatory registration to buy products on an ecommerce site to optional registration, sales went up 45%. For the first year, the site saw an additional $300 million dollars. Abandoning a form in the middle of completion is a major concern for hoteliers – find out more about the basic principles of forms design for hotels.
Don’t force registration in your hotel web booking form design – some people may be in a hurry or will find it intrusive. You can offer guest registration to allow them to proceed with their booking. Once they have finished filling out the form, you can offer optional registration. Explain the benefits to visitors to your website such as speeding up the form process on their next visit or offer an incentive such as special deals and offers to registrants.
Don’t ask for unnecessary information
Get more opt-ins by eliminating unnecessary information from your hotel web form design. Every additional question you ask is giving the customer a chance to rethink their action. There is information that you do need from a customer but remember the form is the prelude to a dialogue you may have with a traveller – you don’t need to know their life story. The more information you request, the more cumbersome your form is.
If people register on your website and login to your website to fill out a form, reward them by populating it with information you already have stored on your database such as their address and phone number from their initial registration. In relation to secure information such as their credit card details, people may not feel comfortable with a website storing this information and this information should not be retained. Visitors won’t be worried about filling in these details again.
Web form useability
Better useability in hotel web form design leads to more conversions – make forms as simple and intuitive as possible. Take out all unnecessary fields (see above), pre-populate fields if possible and make it easy for people to tab from one field to the next. Include drop down boxes with pre-defined data such as state for addresses and use DatePickers for dates – make it easy as possible for customers to fill out forms on your website.
Provide inline validation
One way to help travellers fill out a form properly is to provide inline validation. What this means is that the form is checked for errors throughout the completion of a form rather at the end when the form is submitted and then presenting the user with a list of errors such as an invalid email address or postcode – validation on completion forces the person to go back and fill out the form correctly which can be frustrating and they may just abandon the form altogether.
Good use of white space
Similar to a hotel website, the use of whitespace in the layout of a form is important in the design. Whitespace is simply the empty space between and around the elements of the form design or layout. Text that is cramped with minimal line spacing can be very difficult to read. The separation of different fields on the form can make the content easier to scan and digest and help the user navigate through it a lot quicker.
Make forms secure
Often with hotel web form design, the user may be inputting sensitive information from email addresses to credit card details. Website security is paramount to a visitor. Savvy web visitors look for the “https” before entering personal information over the web. If you are going to be requesting such information, get a security certificate for your website to increase the trustworthiness of your site and make the experience safe for users.
Make forms flexible
Build in some flexibility into your forms so that telephone numbers or dates for example can be typed in any format rather than pre-configured to a particular standard. Some web developers insist that telephone numbers must have the area code in brackets for example and others may not use brackets at all. One way to work around this is to have an example provided to users so they are aware of what format needs to be used which makes the process less confusing.
Specify the currency
You cannot assume that all your customers will be from the same location that you are in. If they found your site through a Search Engine, they may be unaware of what currency your hotel accommodation is being quoted in. Some savvy hotel websites also allow travellers to change the currency so they can see what the cost of the rooms at the current exchange rate rather than having to go offsite and use a currency convertor.
Test hotel web forms
Testing forms is an important part of the design process. If possible, ask people to check it who are independent of your design team. The person testing the form will be evaluating the look and feel of the form and details such as whether they can tab easily to each field, whether clear error messages appear if the form is filled out incorrectly and whether a confirmation message appears/email is sent when the form is filled out correctly.
Web form design is just as important as other elements on your website especially as it may be the only barrier between you and the customer contacting you/closing a sale. The web designers at Hotel Website Designers are experts at creating hotel websites that are a balance of aesthetics and usability. Contact us about more tips on hotel web design forms that help and does not hinder your lead generation and conversion rates.