Influencing consumer behavior is tricky. You have to consider how to guide users through a range of perspectives and avoid possible paths to confusion. It's all about user interface and your reservation flow. The good news is that when faced with a clean and organized system, most users will behave in predictable ways.

When it comes to understanding customer behavior, convenience is king. In fact, Google’s Search Insights reveal that most consumers will use whichever device is closest to them when making reservations or similar traveling arrangements. Here are some of the best ways you can make the reservation process as painless as possible for your customer, and increase the overall usage and acceptance of automated reservation softwares.

1. Reduce The Number Of Steps Required To Make Reservations

KISSMetrics, a leader in the quantitative evaluation of consumer behaviour, notes that minimalistic checkout designs are the most effective for driving consumer conversions. The ask flow is probably the most tedious part of the entire reservation process, and the simplification of the ask flow from an audio-based to visually-based format is partly the reason for why online reservation systems have become so popular in the first place.

2. Reduce The Use of Forms

Again, the answer to getting customers to use something is convenience, and reducing the number of things they have to click on and fill out saves time for the customer and lowers the chance that they will just outright leave. Making form fields optional or getting rid of redundancies can lead to massive gains for conversions. A report by Formstack notes that a simple choice to cut down 4 form fields to 3 leads to a 120% increase in conversions.

3. Minimize Load Times

The Nielsen Norman Group reports that many sites fail to capture the attention of their visitors and that most visitors will ditch a site within 10 to 20 seconds of opening it. If you’ve captured the attention of a visitor through the use of an effective and engaging landing page, the last thing you want to happen is for the user to lose interest as they are in the middle of a payment. Minimizing the amount of time it takes to process information is essential to getting customers in the habit of using an online reservation software.

4. Have An Intuitive User Interface (UI)

This goes hand-in-hand with all of the other time-saving and convenience oriented initiatives above, you want your reservation software to be clearly accessible by your visitors and for it to have buttons and formatting that smoothly guides the user towards a full reservation. Defining what qualifies as intuitive to users is a bit more difficult, but ConversionXL suggests that field studies and over the shoulder usability tests will allow you to understand what counts as intuitive for your target market.

5. Reduce Barriers To Account Creation & Repeat Reservations

Econsultancy reports that attracting a new customer is five times as hard as keeping an existing one. If someone has already made a reservation through an online software, then it’s reasonable to say that they have an expectation that the site has saved their information for the next time they want to book. Reducing the barriers to account creation by asking for the bare minimum of an account, password, and email will drive customer retention and expedite repeat reservations.

6. Introduce Cross-Platform Reservation Software

From the Google Search Insights report, we know that most consumers will opt to book a reservation through the nearest device to them at the moment they want to make that reservation, be it a computer, tablet, or phone. Robust and easily integrable reservation software solutions like Adventure Bucket List’s AGENDA increase this cross-platform accessibility for consumers. Whether they’re on the phone or at a computer, a streamlined and consistent reservation software will allow your business to capture a greater market share.

7. Build & Maintain Rapport With Clients

In contrast to convenience, the trust that consumers have in your brand is also very important in whether they choose to use your reservation service. People are naturally suspicious of putting their payment information online, but they make exceptions for brands that they personally deem legitimate and big financial institutions like banks. An article published in the Harvard Business Review recommends a strategic approach to generating trust: “Build cadres of trustworthy advisers rather than simply developing recommenders who will push the brand. Then aggregate their advice and make it easy for consumers to discover and use it…”

8. Follow Up With Confirmation Emails

Surprisingly, email marketing actually has one of the highest ROIs in comparison to other strategies, with a 2016 June survey of US marketers by eMarketer revealing that email marketing produced median ROIs of 122%. After making a big payment through booking a reservation, it’s common for consumers to expect some sort of confirmation that their information has been processed and their payment has been received. Sending a confirmation email out after a reservation can improve customer confidence in the reliability of that reservation software and enhance your business presence.