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How do you create a lodging reservation website like Booking.com and how much does it cost?

The popularity of digital platforms connecting hoteliers and travelers has significantly increased over the past decade. Accommodation booking websites allow for searching hotels or apartments by numerous parameters, assessing customer feedback, and making payments.

Since the travel industry is expected to see rapid growth after the end of COVID-19, the development of an online lodging marketplace is an excellent investment opportunity.

However, before building a marketplace platform, a company should plan the budget and timeline necessary for implementation. It is also important to conduct competitor analysis and identify the most essential features.

This article describes how to create a website like Booking.com, from cost estimation to design and technology stack recommendations. Additionally, you will take valuable insights into the history and success formula of Booking.com.

Design of a lodging reservation website like Booking.com

The design of an online lodging marketplace has a direct impact on user retention and ROI. Experts say that more than 46% of customers access the credibility of web solutions based on their visual appeal, involving layout, font sizes, images, typography, and color schemes. Therefore, it is crucial to create a web design that will engage travelers and hoteliers.

When building an online marketplace, designers should:

Ensure a seamless user experience (UX). A software development team should provide smooth navigation, search across numerous filters, and convenient menu structure. It is also important to elaborate an information architecture in such a way that users can interact with the website without even thinking.

For example, designers need to implement a logical flow of pages while making the transition between them fast and simple. For the purpose of increasing customer engagement, you can enable uploading and viewing of 360° panoramic images.

Develop an intuitive user interface (UI). To create a self-explanatory UI, you should not overwhelm a digital marketplace platform with plenty of elements. It is also essential to minimize the number of fill-in-the-blank fields and other fragments on the page. Even if you aim to develop a comprehensive system with rich functionality, the interface has to be clear and user-friendly.

Achieve responsiveness. Since the number of smartphones is continuously growing, people access websites via mobile devices more often. In the first quarter of 2021, around 55% of website traffic was generated via mobile devices, excluding tablets.

Hence, ensuring a consistent user experience across all operating systems is of the highest priority.

Implement a unique branding style. If you strive to make a website like Booking.com and achieve success, you should create a custom design that will align with the audience’s preferences.

Using a template will help you reduce project costs but significantly increase chances to meet a clone of an online lodging marketplace. In addition, it will be more difficult to optimize the website for search engines and ensure responsiveness.

Considering the amount of time necessary for creating a UI/UX design, a software development team generally needs between 3–4 weeks for executing this project stage.

Time: 200 hours

The key functionality of a website like Booking.com

An accommodation booking website like Booking.com has to provide functionality that fulfills the needs of all parties, involving travelers, hoteliers, and marketplace owners. Therefore, your software solution will consist of three modules, each having its own features.

Marketplace features for customers

1. Registration and authorization

When making a lodging reservation website like Booking.com, it is crucial to provide multi-option registration, for instance, via social network accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), email, and Google. Additionally, you should not oblige users to sign up on the platform to access its functionality. To improve customer satisfaction, it is reasonable to ask them to register only before making a reservation.

With the view of enforcing data security, software engineers should implement two-factor authentication, requiring a user to provide an additional credential besides login and password.

Time: 40-80 hours

2. User profile

A personal profile generally contains information such as name, age, country, city, booking/payment history. It should also include a user dashboard allowing customers to view their wish lists, reviews, reservations, and notifications.

Time: 80 hours

3. Search

An accommodation booking website like Booking.com has to enable search across multiple filters, for example, user budget, property type, number of rooms/beds/travelers, distance from the center, room facilities, star rating, and review score.

To draw the attention of potential customers, it is important to place a search system right on a home page, which is usually the first thing visitors see when visiting a website. In addition, a home page can feature the most popular destinations, top-rated hotels and apartments, as well as special offers. Thanks to this, property owners will enhance user experience and increase revenues.

Time: 100-120 hours

4. Reviews and ratings

The review and rating section is an important feature of every marketplace, involving a website like Booking.com. Becoming familiarized with customer feedback, users can estimate the quality of services and choose the best options.

For the purpose of preventing fake testimonials, it is crucial to open commenting for a particular property only to travelers who had actually reserved and used the accommodation. This will boost the credibility of a digital marketplace platform. Hoteliers, in their turn, will be able to access the level of client satisfaction and identify issues that should be resolved.

Time: 120 hours

5. Map integration and geolocation

Geolocation is another feature that you should implement when creating an online accommodation booking platform. Recognizing an IP address, a marketplace website like Booking.com can identify user location and deliver personalized offers.

To improve customer engagement, a company can incorporate maps enabling travelers to check out the location of apartments in the city. For instance, software developers can integrate Google Places and Google Maps to let users view the number of cafes, restaurants, museums, squares, national parks, etc. near each hotel or house.

Time: 120 hours

6. Notifications

A hotel reservation website like Booking.com should notify customers about special deals and offers, changes in reservation details, as well as remind them about upcoming trips. When building an online marketplace, it is possible to enable email, browser, and smartphone notifications.

Time: 160-200 hours

7. Hotel & apartment page

This page contains a property description that generally involves prices, availability, reservation policy, room photos and facilities, customer reviews, hotel overview, the number of rating stars. In addition, you should provide the possibility to add an apartment or hotel to a wish list.

Time: 100 hours

8. Accommodation booking

Online accommodation reservation is a top-priority feature of a marketplace website like Booking.com. A customer should be able to choose a room type, select the number of guests and beds, view additional options, as well as check out a reservation policy, including terms of payment and cancellation.

Furthermore, travelers should have the possibility to indicate the arrival and departure times on a calendar. When booking a property, a guest has to fill out information such as name and contacts (email, phone number).

Time: 160 hours

9. Online payments

When creating an accommodation booking platform, it is essential to offer various payment options for satisfying the needs of the global audience. Representing an analog of a digital third-party terminal, a payment gateway allows for carrying out digital transactions using a range of methods.

For example, the integration of Braintree will enable travelers to pay for services via PayPal, Venmo, credit and debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Diner’s Club, etc.), e-wallets (Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Secure Remote Commerce), bank directs (e.g., iDeal, SOFORT, GiroPay, and Trustly), ACH Direct.

Being available in over 200 countries and regions, PayPal lets customers use payment cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, etc.), PayPal balance, PayPal Credit, collected user rewards, and bank account.

Furthermore, gateways help organizations ensure data security by providing features like 3D Secure, AVS (Address Verification System), and CVV (card verification code check).

Popular systems generally implement extra measures to protect sensitive information. For instance, PayPal employs artificial intelligence to instantly detect fraudulent activities and prevent potential risks.

As a gateway service is an off-the-shelf solution, software engineers don’t have to implement it from scratch. As a result, you cut expenditures and time to market.

Learn how to choose a payment gateway for a hotel reservation website like Booking.com that will meet the needs of each party.

Time: 120 hours

Marketplace features for hoteliers

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