Website Design Anatomy: Designing a Booking Page
Aug 11, 2020
Informational pages such as the Home Page, About Page, Services Page and the Contact Page are important for businesses offering services that people can schedule. Some of these businesses include photography studios, event-related businesses, restaurants, hotels, etc. However, the Booking Page helps them provide a consistent website design experience for their potential clients.
Let's paint you a picture. You are looking for a restaurant for a special family occasion, and you want to make a reservation. Now, you found this unfamiliar but promising place on the internet. You click on their website to be welcomed by their amazing Home Page. The other informational pages confirm that this restaurant is perfect for your plans. You are already enticed and excited to book a table, but wait-- you need to manually switch to your email or to go from their website to a third-party booking page. Poof! Just like that-- the magic is gone.
Now, you don't want that for your business. Why? Well, a lot can happen while they are switching to another platform. They can change their mind as they wait for the third-party booking page to load or while they wait for your confirmation to the reservation request they sent you via email.
What is the Booking Page?
As the name suggests, the Booking Page allows your potential clients to book, reserve and even pay for your services through your business website. Having a Booking Page is great for certain businesses since it helps automate the booking process. Choosing a date, picking a time and paying for the booking or reservation will all be done on your website. It lightens the load for your staff, avoids double bookings and minimises errors.
Do You Need a Booking Page in Your Web Design?
As mentioned previously, event-related services, restaurants, hotels, resorts, and travel agencies can greatly benefit from their Booking Page. So if you are running one of these, it's for the best that you have a booking page.
Of course, if you offer services that don't need bookings and reservations-- you can skip this whole thing and invest in pages that you do need. For instance, MJWebs offers web hosting and website design services, so we have individual pages for them instead of a Booking Page.
However, take note that there is no one way to design a website. It all depends on the nature of your work. For instance, you might think that a digital artist does not need a Booking Page, but imagine having clients book a time or date for projects like people do with photographers. So instead of declining incoming clients due to overwhelming workload, the clients can book the artist for another time. This kind of system will help the digital artist manage their time, and the client will have ample time to discuss the details of the task.
Do all digital artists need a Booking Page? No, it can be a practical choice for some, but be just an expense for others. The same concept applies to other businesses or industries. If in doubt, ask professionals, especially if a Booking Page is not a common practice in your field.
What is the Purpose of a Booking Page in Your Website Design?
Here are some of the purpose and reason to add a Booking Page in your website design:
It helps in maintaining consistent branding and user experience.
As mentioned previously, involving third-party websites or platforms will ruin the experience for your visitors. If the third-party platform messes up anything, your client will pin the blame on you, and if the booking or reservation goes well your client will not remember you for it.
Your own Booking Page will help you maintain both your branding and user experience. This also gives you full control of the situation. If there are any issues, your clients can directly contact you and you can fix the problem for them.
It provides an option for seamless payment solutions within the site.
This advantage is self-explanatory. This eliminates the stress of switching from one site or platform to another to make payments. People tend to be extra careful sharing sensitive information such as their credit card or bank account details. It will give your clients a sense of comfort if they are sure that YOU are handling payment. Phishing sites are a thing-- so switching to a different site or platform can make the whole process look suspicious.
It offers accuracy and efficiency.
A booking page will help you prevent double-booking due to human error. Mistakes like this can happen when you do things manually. A Booking Page will help take the pressure off your staff since the booking system on your website will pretty much do the checking and saving of details. Your Booking Page can block out dates or time that are already booked which will prevent double bookings.
It helps close the deal.
As mentioned previously, a lot can happen while waiting for the third-party website to load or while your potential client is composing their email to your business. It's highly possible that they'd end up abandoning the process if they find it too much of a hassle. Making the booking process entirely available within your website provides seamless user experience and it helps you close the deal then and there.
It retains valuable client data for you.
If you use an external website or platform for your booking, you don't get to keep important details from your clients. On top of that, your third-party provider gets to keep the information YOUR clients provided. Why do you need those details? Well, for one-- you need them to check and confirm the details of their booking, then those data can also help you stay connected and build rapport with your past clients.
Key Parts of an Effective Booking Page Website Design
Much like any other website pages, you can be as creative or as innovative as you want with your Booking Page but make sure to maintain the key elements to ensure that it's functional and effective. Here are some key elements that you should add to your Booking Page:
Think of a line that will catch your site visitor's attention. You can use your company tagline or something that highlights your unique selling points. Does your restaurant offer the best steak in your area? Does your resort have the best view? Use that for your headline!
The booking system is actually the star of this page. It searches the available dates, rooms (for hotels and resorts), tables (for restaurants), flights and seats (for travel agencies and airlines), etc. It also collects the necessary data and handles the payment for your business. It automates the booking process.
The booking system is not the same for different businesses and industries, but most of them have these elements in common:
- Time slots - This allows users to pick a time and date. This section can be in the form of a dropdown menu or a calendar.
- Availability - This helps users see if the service or accommodation they need is available. Sometimes this comes up as a notification once the users search for a certain date on your booking system. Sometimes works with the time slot selector (in calendar form) by blocking out unavailable dates.
- Location/Room/Table - This allows users to select a location (for travel agencies and airlines), room (for hotels and resorts), or table (restaurants). This option might not make sense for event-related services (photographers, motivational speakers, etc.)
The booking form helps you gather more information about your clients' reservations. This collects data like their name, contact number, e-mail address, etc. You can have this on the Booking Page itself or on the "next page" from your booking system.
As the name suggests, this is where you add your featured services. If you own a hotel, then you can add the types of rooms you have; for travel agencies, you can showcase your best-selling destinations here.
Aside from earning your site visitor's trust, you are also helping them decide on which one of your services to avail.
You want to give users different options to contact you on the Booking Page so that if they have any inquiries, they can simply reach out to you instead of leaving the page to find your contact details.
Best Practices for a Booking Page Website Design
Here are some best practices when working on your Booking Page website design:
Make your prices or rates visible.
Be transparent with your prices. You have to consider that your target market has a budget in mind and that it will help them make a decision if they know your prices. Not making the information about your rates and prices available on your Booking Page OR your Pricing Page will discourage your potential clients.
Make the whole page user-friendly.
Make everything from the booking calendar and system to the booking form user-friendly. Do not complicate things as it will frustrate your site users. They will end up abandoning your page.
Add a progress bar.
Adding a progress bar that breaks down your booking process in smaller steps gives users the feeling that they are in control of the whole thing. Plus it helps them visualise how many steps are left and how much time they still need until the booking is complete.
Avoid Information Overload
The booking system is quite a bulky feature as it is, so try not to overload this page with information. Just add the necessary sections that will help your potential clients make a decision and no more than that.
For more tips, you can check out our tips for an effective Booking Page.
Effective website design is all about making it easier for your users while helping your business perform better. The Booking Page is one of those things that can help you with both of those goals.
If you need some assistance with creating an effective website design, MJWebs will gladly help you out.
Web Design Anatomy
In-depth articles about common website components and how to leverage them.