Can you recall the last time you booked accommodation via a phone or a newspaper ad?
We bet it was a while ago. The same goes for most tourists.
Online sales in the travel sector are increasing year on year. In particular, from the start of the pandemic to post-pandemic, there has been a total of 10% growth in online sales via mobile in the travel industry.
The hotel booking websites experienced twice as much traffic compared to winter 2020, reaching 59% in 2021. Moreover, 73% of sales are expected to be online in the tourism sector by 2026.
Based on Sloboda Studio’s experience, online reservation systems show good performance delivering a great experience as well as providing travelers with convenience in searching, making reservations, and paying.
The idea to make a hotel booking website is worth pursuing for travel advisors or vacation startups seeking to develop scalable businesses faster and on a tight budget.
However, besides time to market and budget, what else to consider? There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how to create a hotel booking website. Let’s get to them below.
Hotel Booking Market
Therefore, with more people being able to travel to the most distant places in the world, the travel industry now accounts for 6.1% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an indicator reflecting the market value of all final goods and services.
The hospitality industry has chipped in a lot towards the travel industry. As of 2022, the number of hotels and motels only in the USA is counted at 142,369.
The worldwide market revenue for online reservations is evaluated to exceed $473 billion by 2026.
As for the market giants, there are 4 major players such as Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, and Trivago. When looking at them, Booking.com got the highest revenue worldwide in 2021, generating nearly $11 billion. The table below summarises the information about the best online reservation websites.
Note: If you have doubts about whether to develop a website or a mobile app first for your travel business, here are some statistics: mobile conversion for travel bookings is just 0.7% vs. 2.4% for desktop reservations.
How to Create a Hotel Booking Website: Step-by-Step Guide
Sloboda Studio will guide you through key steps to take to make sure your hotel booking website is a success.
Identifying the Winning Business Models
To start with, you should:
- conduct market research;
- determine how significant players earn money;
- come up with how your business can provide more value to customers than competitors do.
When thinking about functionality, you may use recent statistics on factors that influence reservation decisions.
For example, as we see on the graphs below, good photos and images of the rooms, pricing clarity, rating, and reviews are important for travelers when reserving an accommodation.
Source: Market Sampler
Thus, it’s good if the website includes video and image uploading, filters system, search personalization, feedback feature, etc.
Designing the Website
The website design is a visual component that influences whether a customer will stay on your platform.
When working with UI/UX designers, they will look at your idea from all angles. Then, they will ask detailed questions to make a website convenient and user-friendly like:
- Do you currently have any documentation?
- What’s your functionality wishlist for the new booking website?
- What is your number one priority task?
At the end of the research, they will build a mockup based on the received information.
Moving the Design into the Code
Let’s move on to the development of the website’s general architecture (the back-end), such as:
- compiling a list of the functions and fields necessary for booking, routes between pages, server validations, etc.;
- creating models and graphs to show how everything will work;
- starting the coding.
All in all, the back-end and front-end developers and designers work closely with each other to deliver the best product possible.
Testing and Improving a Hotel Booking Website
It is impossible to make a high-quality website without testing it. QA specialists test the code in the most used browsers to identify and fix all possible bugs on a website and problems with the product.
Launching Your Website
After a website development and launch, it’s a good practice to consider upgrades. To understand what needs some improvement and keep up with the trends, collect users’ feedback and fix all the issues.
Unfortunately, websites may go down due to heavy traffic. So you can consider scaling your site to avoid downtime and frustrated users.
Our Expertise in Building a Hotel Booking Website
Sloboda Studio is both business and technically skilled team with years of experience in building hotel booking websites for customers from the USA, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and others.
Here are a few examples of booking platforms Sloboda Studio worked on.
Greater Vacation Rentals
An Airbnb-like platform Greater Vacation Rentals allows users to book accommodations for vacations worldwide.
The founders wanted to make a secure platform for vacations fast. And we transformed their idea into an MVP in 3 months using the Sharetribe platform.
Before starting the development process, we conducted a discovery phase to determine design wireframes and the project’s technical and non-technical requirements.
Sloboda Studio team developed all the key functionality and integrated external APIs for payments, including:
- Accommodation listing
- Search and filtering
- Communication via notifications, emails, and messages
- PayPal and Stripe payment gateways
As a result, we built web and mobile apps.
Belgian rental startup Moovle wanted to expand to an online marketplace similar to Airbnb.
Our client had only a concept with design suggestions. The primary goal was to get financing by providing investors with a ready-made mobile solution.
To start with, we conducted a discovery phase to define product value on the market.
After all our research, we built an MVP with the core functionality for the mobile app, namely:
- Customer registration and sign-in
- Properties page and listings
- Filtering system
- Search personalization
- Request placement
- Admin panel
As a result, our client successfully presented the application to investors.
Want to make a hotel booking website?
Types of Online Hotel Booking Software
There are 2 main types of reservation websites: accommodation websites with an integrated booking feature and hotel booking marketplaces.
If you don’t know which one to choose for your type of business, here is what you should know.
Brand Hotel Booking Website for Independent or Chain Hotels
Today having a brand website is a must-have both for independent hoteliers and for chain hotels.
Advantages of Creating a Booking Website for Hotels
With a website, you transfer your offline business online. This kind of digital transformation has touched all industries.
The online penetration of the travel industry, including the hospitality market, is 50%. However, even the other 50% tend to search for accommodations online and then book accommodation via phone or email.
- Having an additional selling channel
Naturally, having a hotel website helps to sell more. Not only do websites attract a new audience, but also help to show off your hotel, rooms, best offering, values, and staff.
- No additional fees
To post accommodation on third-party marketplaces, it’s usually required to pay service fees. These fees vary from platform to platform.
Attracting clients through your own platform saves money, at least by not paying any commission fees to third parties.
- Reducing reservation misunderstandings
Using your own website eliminates the chance of double bookings. Everything is centralized and structured in one system.
Hotel Booking Marketplace like Booking.com
A hotel booking marketplace, or an aggregator, is a middleman between a hotel and a customer.
The primary role of such platforms is to gather information about multiple hotels, provide customers with many options, and compare for better deals.
The most popular revenue model for this online hotel reservation platform lies in charging a service fee for the payment transactions conducted on a marketplace.
Market Benefits of Hotel Booking Marketplaces
- Bigger customer pool
Marketplaces have a large database of customers, unlike standalone hotels. It makes it easier for small- or mid-sized hotels to attract guests through marketplaces than solely by their own websites.
- Promotion of a hotel’s brand website
Promotion in such systems is much easier and cheaper for accommodation owners than through Google search. An accommodation gets extra visibility by the means of a marketplace and doesn’t spend money on promoting its website with SEO.
N.B.: Nowadays, there isn’t really a need to choose between these types of hotel reservation software. Undoubtedly, a brand website is already a must-have for any hotel business.
There are different channels for promoting a brand website, such as:
- optimizing it for key queries;
- promotion on reviewing websites like Tripadvisor;
- listing accommodations on hotel marketplaces and online hotel reservation systems.
You might know that website promotion is not that easy, fast, or cheap. Thus, for small, new, unknown hotels with limited promotion budgets, reservation marketplaces become the core channel for attracting new guests.
Develop a hotel booking website with us
How to Create a Hotel Booking Website: Best Ways
There are two options to choose from:
- Use a ready-made solution or SaaS;
- Choose custom development.
Both options have pros and cons depending on the business model, budgets, needs, and preferences. Let’s take a look at them below.
The quickest way to build a website is by using a marketplace Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution.
Marketplace SaaS tools offer key marketplace functions so that you don’t have to worry about hosting, writing code, maintenance, or backups.
This approach helps startups validate their idea and find a product-market fit without spending lots of recources building their website.
When considering the most popular tools, we recommend Sharetribe, a ready-to-use marketplace platform.
At Sloboda Studio, we built Greater Vacation Rentals using Sharetribe Flex. This solution allows programmers to develop custom functions and add integrations on top of Flex’s APIs.
As our major goal was to make the online marketplace faster and at a lower price than a custom development from scratch, this platform provided us with the functionality we needed on the back-end side.
For such types of projects, the platform proved to be an efficient marketplace constructor with several benefits.
Pros of Ready-Made Platforms Like Sharetribe
- Ease of Use
Ready-made solutions are accessible, user-friendly, and easy to understand and navigate. Even users without a technical background can make a simple product. Plus, customers can use plenty of design patterns and templates to build their own websites.
It is also easy to find YouTube videos, online guides, and discussions where platform users share their experiences.
Ready-made tool providers usually offer good documentation, how-to videos, and tutorials as a part of the support.
- Budget Prices
SaaS companies offer their services at a relatively low price. They may charge a fixed rate per month, fees for the subscription, a lifetime price for template-based design and functionality, or a free entry-level subscription.
However, creating a marketplace with ready-made solutions doesn’t give users the same freedom as custom development. At some point, you will need to move on to a more custom-built solution to grow your business.
Cons of Ready-Made Platforms
- Limited Customization Beyond the Default Functionality
Ready-to-use tools may not include the necessary functions for your project or have the ones you don’t need.
SaaS companies may provide a few customization options. But still, editing permissions are limited to changing listings, colors, or room images.
- Lack of Scalability
When using marketplace builders, your platform will not be adapted to accommodate large requests. The functionality and performance are dependent on the limits of the subscription rules. Once your marketplace scales, you might need a back-end developer.