What’s in a Name? Make a reservation? Book a room?

This question pops up periodically with some of the innkeepers I work with. What’s the best way to “label” basically click here to make a room reservation?

I decided to do a bit of looking online at some bigger properties figuring that they, at least, would have run some psychological studies on what best to title this important key point.

Apparently there is no set formula for this in that category either.

I browsed 24 major hotels chains and then about 70 smaller inns, B&Bs and a couple of motels for variety.

These were the results of what the titles were for: click here to make a room reservation.

  • Availability
  • Book
  • Book a room
  • Book my trip
  • Book Now
  • Book online
  • Book reservations
  • Check Availability
  • Check rates
  • Check rates and availability
  • Find a reservation
  • Find a room
  • Make a reservation
  • My booking
  • Online reservations
  • Request reservations
  • Reservations
  • Reserve
  • Reserve a room
  • See rates
  • Select rate
  • Select rate and book
  • Select room and book

Here lies the ultimate question, is “check availability” too wishy washy? This is not a clear call to action.

Is “Book my trip”, “Book now” too much of an in your face directive?

I would love some feedback from lodging about what they think and what they feel has worked best for them.

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10 Responses to What’s in a Name? Make a reservation? Book a room?

  1. Tammy Doriot says:

    This is one hot topic. We are in the process of having our new site built and I was also wondering the same; what to call that button. I know that “rooms/rates” just didn’t cut it for a name. I like the “reserve your room now” also, I wonder if something like “check room to reserve now” might also work or “check rate to reserve now” which points out where to find price and reserve. Sometimes we need to step back and think like a tourist to know how to find something on our sites.

    • Chef Forfeng says:

      Hi Tammy, several of the inns I work with have been testing various wording, Book Now seems to be doing well as does Make a reservation and Reserve Your Room so far if that helps. It’s always tough because what motivates someone to click may not always attract someone else to click 🙂

  2. Sarah says:

    Hello chef!
    I feel that “Book it” or anything else that used the word “book” is fine if your potential clientele are only English as a first language folks. To many whom English is a second language the word “book” is more likely to mean reading material, and the word “reserve” would be the more recognizable term to use. There should also be a call to action…”reserve your room now!” It may have more weight than “book it now”.

    Of course…not scientific, just my questioning foreigners! LOL

  3. Shellie Anne says:

    Whatever it takes to book the room online is the answer! Book your room online and save $10 – has been my method. 🙂

    If it says check availability or book now and the guest goes to an online form – contact form or request only, then they are duping the guest, the guest needs to be able to BOOK NOW and get their confirmation right then and there. After all they are planning a trip, you may not be the only fish in the sea, they have planned a weeks worth of lodging, plus airfares and coordinating the entire trip. Innkeepers need not be so arrogant as to think they are the only reservation on the guest’s list. Don’t frustrate the guest who is trying to complete their plans.

    Whatever you do, make the steps as simple as possible, let them see the rooms, book the rooms and let it be a done deal.

    Playing hide and seek on 15 different websites is not anyones idea of fun! K.I.S.S. need apply.

  4. Innkeeper says:

    We have changed that so many times based on feedback, that we have no idea the proper way to display it. We had a call to action button “Book Room” and guest would call to find if room was available. They feared that clicking that button would force them to commit – where as “Check Availability” seemed safer. So to wrap this up, we still have no idea what is the best wording to use..

    • chefforfeng says:

      This is why I think its such an interesting topic, I would have thought hotels especially the large established brands/chains would have settled on “the perfect one” but there is as much variety there as on the smaller sites. Hmm, consumer study survey.

  5. Lynn says:

    We prominently feature the “book a room” call to action softened by an image of a registration book and feather pen. BUT, we often get questions where the potential guest just wants to “check availability” which is done from the same place, but since they aren’t ready to commit, clicking Book a Room isn’t what they want to do. There is no reason not to have both types of messages on the page.

    • chefforfeng says:

      Thank you for the feedback, have also been emailed so far with thoughts about how people don’t want to seem to force people to make an decision, and or it should just be straight forward and say “book it” and then several responses along the same lines as yours with multiple options/messages.

      Also comments about this from the innspiring forums (reprinted with permission)

      “In general, “booking a room” is internal speak … we use the term that way all the time here on the forum. But many of our guests rarely think of it that way. They are more accustomed to “making a reservation” (could be regional, but I don’t think so)”
      http://www.inngenious.com/ and http://www.winecountrycabins.com/

      “I’ve tried 4 different calls on my website: “Book Now!,” “Availability,” “View Calendar and Book This Room” and ‘Check Availability.”
      I have tracked the hits on each one and there is no clear cut call that is better than another. So, what I would say is that the links should be easy to find whenever the guest might be ready to hit that button. Clear cut instructions as to what the link does is also important.
      After reading Swirt’s response I may change one of them to ‘Make a reservation.'”

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