Hotel Booking, an extension which powers eCommerce websites with a sturdy, secured booking rental mechanism now joins the bandwagon of ready-to-go accommodation rental scripts Airhotels and Anybooking.
This extension found an admirer in Aphidelsi Orono, an African business aspirer who wanted to come up with an accommodation rental website for holiday, leisure and business travelers. His choice of destinations was Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Inspired with the built in features of Hotel Booking extension, Aphidelsi approached Apptha for the website build. However, he had a list of customizations aimed towards bettering search and user experience. As per the client’s requirements Mkahawa.com underwent the following customizations.
Improvising the default home page search bar which has ‘Destination’, ‘Check-In’/Check-Out’ Date and drop down menu for selecting the number of guests, Mkahawa.com was given two additional options in the form of checkboxes namely,“I don’t have specific dates” and “Additional search options.”
While the first checkbox hides the date range selection, the second was programmed to reveal a separate set of search options based on:-
Displays properties classified under the categories created by the admin
Lists properties based on star rating from 1 to 5 in ascending order and the unrated
Properties listed based on price range
Displays properties based on review score which is a cumulative figure of multiple user ratings
Earning the trust – Positive and Negative Reviews
Daring to be different, Aphidelsi wanted to give users the liberty to jot down the positives and as well as the negative experiences of a stay and thus Apptha came up with a provision for the same. These reviews were made to be showcased in the appropriate property pages in the frontend.
In order to extract a genuine customer rating, we planned for a rating system which had customers rating the service of an accommodation based on aspects like ‘Cleanliness’, ‘Facilities’, ‘Comfort’ etc., This cumulative figure was then calculated to project the overall ‘Rating Score’ which helps other visitors decide the quality of the accommodation space.
To maximize the opportunities for monetizing apart from the listing fee earned from property owners, our client wanted to create advertisement spaces. As per the need, Apptha’s techies provided two ad spaces, static and dynamic which can be regulated via admin backend controls.
With a view to extend the options for customers to furnish information two additional provisions namely, ‘Special Request’ and ‘No of Children’ were provided. These options were bolted into a pop-up display form which appears while booking an accommodation.
While ‘Special Request’ was as plain text field in which customers could type their request and send it to the property owner via mail the second option as the name suggest was used to mention the no of children accompanying.
Focusing on Southeast African destinations, our client wanted to render his website in Swahili, the widely spoken regional language in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
So, we gave a language translation option right from home page to property detail page through which users can choose between English and Swahili. This feature earned instant popularity for Mkahawa.com among the local crowd.
Adding to the property listing, Mkahawa.com was given a recommended destination section in which the admin could handpick a few best hotels and showcase them. Property owners were given limited back-end access to add property-related data like ‘Time’, ‘Room Type’, description, images, facilities, etc. Moreover Country and City specific search listings were provided to simplify the search effort of users who are location specific.
And Voila!! Mkahawa.com was tailored to suit every single motive of our client. In quick time it turned out to be the local favorite. With the extensive user-friendly options and accommodation listings doubling the customer base and visits, Mkahawa.com is now considered as one of the reliable places to find quality stays in South East Africa.