Availability Calendar on Airbnb.com
Usually, for convenience, dates already booked are painted with some color, while the free ones are left white or transparent. This is a common decision for everyone, therefore it does not require additional instructions (legends). Some services add to the calendar the ability to track the status of the reservation for a certain date or period, so that users can find out about the released date, if they are interested. So do restaurants and establishments in which, for example, they hold holiday parties, weddings or conferences.
Full verified data. Regardless of whether you create an aggregator site in which data from different services will be collected, or a website for a particular company, you need to provide users with accurate and detailed information about each reservation object.
Airbnb.com provides complete information about each accommodation
If your site deals, for example, with hotel reservations, you should also describe all the amenities that the hotel provides. For example, the presence of an indoor pool, the possibility of checking in with animals, private parking, a bar, a nightclub, a gym, the distance to public transport or attractions, as well as a view from the window.
Product Image. Visualization has a greater impact than words and numbers, so when creating an online booking system, do not forget about the functionality that will allow people to upload high-quality photos and videos with the image of the booked object or service. Here's how Airbnb.com does it:
Housing Photo Gallery on Airbnb.com
When implementing this feature, it is important that people use real and relevant images. To achieve this, you can either do the photography yourself, or hire the appropriate specialists, or ask users to leave feedback on the compliance of the photos on the site with the real situation.
Cancellation of service and clear terms of return. Almost all well-known online booking services allow their users to cancel a reservation with a full or partial refund. A full refund is usually made if the cancellation is made a few weeks before the reservation date, partial - a day or two before the reservation date. So that this procedure does not cause disputes:
Adaptive and cross-browser compatibility
- Write down the refund policy on your website / application and make sure that the user has read it before making a reservation, and before he begins the procedure for canceling a reservation.
- Clearly indicate the terms and penalties for canceling reservations, if there’s any. For example, if you intend to charge a cancellation fee of 3%, you must clearly indicate how much this percentage is taken away (amount of reservation, advance payment) and when it happens.
. You can never be sure which device the visitor will use to access your system, so you need to make sure that it works equally well on computers, tablets, smartphones and as a separate application. You also need to check the site for compatibility with different browsers.
The presence of a separate mobile application is important, since more than 80% of mobile users prefer to use the application, rather than access the site using a mobile browser. It is simpler, faster and more convenient, and in addition, the application can use push notifications to inform or remind of important events: the approximation of the reservation date, the need to make a payment, a new chat message, cancellation of a reservation, etc.
Ease of use, ease of payment. Almost all of your future users will be ordinary people, not technical experts, so your web service should be so convenient, simple and understandable that a person who has never booked anything on the Internet can go to the site and easily place an order. To do this, when developing an online booking platform, you must adhere to the following rules:
- ease of search and navigation on the site / application;
- interactive hints and clarifications where needed;
- relevant titles, titles, and images
- availability of technical support and help desk contacts;
- simple form of payment and cancellation.
Verification Ability. Some users of your platform will want to check whether you can really book a product or service or you are just a scammer. To satisfy this request, your site should have reference information: contacts and links to service providers (for example, hotels), with which you can check your partnership with them.
Best of all, if you have real phone numbers of suppliers on which you can call and talk with a real person. This is stronger than other methods to convince people of the honesty of your site. A little less convincing communication via email and links to your service on the listing owner’s website.
# 3. Approaches to creating reservation systems
Link to an external site. Linking from your platform to another site is the easiest way to create an online booking system, although this is not something that can be called development or integration. But it’s quick, simple, does not require any programming and web design skills, and is also absolutely free. These are very big advantages that would be important if such an approach would allow us to create something more than a template information listing.
The disadvantages of such an information listing:
- you will redirect users to another resource;
- an external website may be slow, buggy, or inaccessible
- limited opportunities for monetization and branding;
- anyone can create such a site.
Earn such resources on advertising and referral programs.
Insert Iframe. Integration of a part of an external site into your system, similar to how sites rebroadcast YouTube videos on their site. It’s usually easy to implement this, as many vendors provide everyone with their Iframe code and the ability to connect to their system for free.
Drawbacks of integration through Iframe:
- the inability to control the contents of the Iframe field;
- the inserted field is not indexed by search engines;
- not all suppliers allow such a connection to their system;
- security problems (there are precedents for hacking such a connection);
- iframe field may not display correctly on your platform, especially on mobile devices and applications.