Booking Engine: Walk through

The ThinkReservations "Booking Engine" is the webpage that your prospective guests use to check availability and make online reservations. It is a mobile responsive page that is customized to match the look and feel of your website. In short, this is the page your guests are directed to after they click your "Book Now" button on your website.

We recommend that you make a reservation at least once using your website so that you can become familiar with and understand the process.

Booking Flow:

Each of these pages can also be tracked in your Google Analytics as a separate URL so you can see the drop-off rate.


Search Page

The first page in the booking flow is the Search Page. The main components of the first page are the Business Image and the availability form where your guests choose their check in and check out dates, the number in their party, and Special Rate information such as a coupon code. The Business Image is outlined in the gray box below.

If a customer qualifies for a special rate, they can expand the "Special Rates" section by clicking anywhere on the plus sign or the text Special Rates. Alternatively, you can set up your booking engine to have this section expanded by default. If you have one or more customer groups, it will show as a selectable option. In the example below, "Military" indicates a customer group qualifier on a rate type.  If you have a coupon or promo code, the guest can choose "Promotional Code" and enter it into the box. Promotional codes are not case-sensitive.

Special Rates box expanded

Once your guests complete the form, they click the blue Search button. This takes them to the results or availability page.

Results Page

The results page is where the guest selects the room and rate. It's at this stage where the guest needs to make a decision to add one of the results to their "shopping cart", which we call "Your Reservations", or choose a different room or travel date. The name of the room, description, photos, rate type name, rate type description, and optionally promotion name and description are all used together to educate the guest and help them select the room that is right for them.

The Booking Engine will only show the qualifying rate type(s) and the rooms that are available for their selected search parameters. This way guests don't have to filter through rooms that they cannot book due to unavailability. If a room is available, but there is a restriction in place, it will move that room to the bottom of the list and explain the restriction. If the guest's travel dates are flexible, they can adjust them at the top of the page.

Guests can browse the available rooms, click through and enlarge the images, and optionally view the availability calendar at the bottom. The availability calendar lets the guests know what dates to change their search to if they are flexible.

If you are full, they can add themselves to the Wait List if you have this feature enabled.

Prospective guests can update their travel dates, guest count, and Special Rates if they need to. Note the fields in the image below to the left of the blue Update button.
When they have decided which room they would like, they'll need to click the big green  Add to reservation  button. This will move them to the next step; either the upsell page, or the registration page. They are only moved to the Upsell page if the property has one or more items or packages that are available for guest to add to their reservation, otherwise, they will move to the registration page.

Upsell Page

If you have any upsell add-ons or packages your guests will be taken to a page where they can add packages or enhancements to their reservation on their own. At this point, they can click Continue, or Add another room, if you've set up your account to allow multi-room bookings online. On the right of this page, is a "shopping cart" showing an outline of the room, dates, charges, and the deposit required.

Registration Page

When they click Continue, they are taken to the registration page where the guests enter their name and billing information. They are required to enter the following fields before the system confirms their reservation:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Cardholder Name
  • Credit Card Number / Expiration Date / CVV number
  • City / State / Zip
  • Arrival Time
  • Checked "I agree to the Terms & Conditions and Cancellation Policy" checkbox.
  • Any Custom Bill Attributes that you have chosen to set as required fields

If something is missing or not filled out correctly, the system will identify the problem and indicate to the guest that they need to fix something by outlining it in red and showing a message at the top of the page which says:
"Please correct the errors in the form to continue booking" as seen in the below image.

When they have filled out the form, they click the green Confirm Reservation button.


As soon as they click the Confirm reservation button, the following checks and validations are performed.

  1. The first check is to see if any required fields are missing. If missing, it's outlined in a red square with REQUIRED.
  2. Next, the system checks to see if the room is still available. The room isn't held at this point, so another guest or staff could book the room. There is no in-between phase of a reservation; it's either booked or not.
  3. The connected payment processor will attempt to validate the credit card information. If there is a deposit required, it will be charged to the guest at this time. If the payment processor won't accept the card, or if the payment doesn't go through then the page will scroll back to the top for them to display an error.

Confirmation Page

If all goes well, and no errors are found, the booking is finally created. Only then is the customer directed to the last step where a purchase confirmation page provides an outline (and in very large font) of their Confirmation ID and a summary of the charges with special attention to the deposit that was charged, if any. This page makes it clear that a booking was successful.

Also, at this time, ThinkReservations will automatically send them your confirmation email to the email address the guest provided. A notification is sent to the property, the reservation is put on the calendar and reports are updated to show the new booking.


 

S
Sean is the author of this solution article.

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