Many hotels have mad their sites more aesthetically pleasing with virtual property tours and brand videos, but basic customer service features still lag. While nearly half of Index brand sites featured virtual property tours, only 24% supported live chat – a mere 2% increase. Brand sites also added features to make the reservation process easier, with 76% of sites allowing customers to change dates mid-booking, an increase of 9% from the previous year. However, only 12% of brand sites displayed real-time room availability. A fifth of Index brand sites only offered basic reservation boxes where customers could enter their desired location and dates, leaving no space for flexible dates, promotion codes or special rates. The reservation process also got faster. In 2015, more than half of Index brands let customers book a room in less than five clicks, a significant jump from 29% in 2014. It took an average of 4.7 clicks to confirm a booking, and five brands got the process down to three clicks. Since long, complex checkout procedures account for 13% of abandoned bookings, further simplifying the process would likely mean more completed reservations. Get the full story at L2