How to Create an Online Booking System (a Website like Booking.com)
According to Statista, if people are given the choice between traditional hotel reservations by telephone and online reservations, then in 88% of cases they will choose the latter option, as it is simpler, cheaper, and no need to talk to anyone. When booking a car, a table in a restaurant, places on excursions or diving, the situation is similar. For resourceful entrepreneurs, this is a real gold mine, since you can reserve almost any service, therefore, you can make good money on it.
From our article you will learn how to create an online booking system, what it will take and how much it costs to implement such a project.
Service or object of reservation. This may be the usual reservation of a car, accommodation, a table in a restaurant or an airline ticket, or it may be booking a conference room, parking space, participating in a medical procedure or a place for a tourist space flight. Known Examples:
The choice in this case is quite simple:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
Plugin installation. If your site runs on WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, then you can connect a special plug-in that adds to your site an existing online booking system or functionality for creating and configuring it. This is a good (possibly optimal) solution for small businesses, as it is fast, cheap, and reliable enough.
Possible disadvantages of booking plugins:
API Connection. Many booking providers whose sites are managed by CMS allow you to connect to their systems through an API or application programming interface. This is the best and smoothest integration method, in addition to self-development, as it is quite easy to implement and at the same time allows you to maintain control over the user interface and monitor user behavior, which is very important for feedback.
The main disadvantages of integration through the API:
Developing your own system. The best option for large projects that want to stand out among competitors, avoid conflicts or code bloat, control the user interface and monitor all processes. Of course, the implementation of such a system is very expensive, requires a professional team and takes a lot of time.