Nowadays, travelers are drawing on online searches when looking for accommodation. Increased competition in the online bidding wars combined with the growing number of third-party booking options available to visitors makes it increasingly difficult for hotels to drive traffic to their brand websites.On top of that, recent research shows that hotel websites usually operate with a conversion rate of about 2,2%. This means that for every 100 visitors who you actually manage to attract to your site, 98 of them are likely to leave without making a reservation.
With the complexity of today’s online booking landscape, brands are being pushed to build a strong direct channel to drive acquisition costs down and regain their relationship with guests. Traffic is precious and so the need to convert these lookers into bookers is adding a new priority into every hotel marketer’s agenda: delivering a unique and engaging online experience. But, how can you enhance your hotel website to ensure this happens?
1. Create the right brand image
In hospitality the importance of brand image is paramount, especially when considering the impact this has on potential bookers. Your identity is the foundation of interest that builds the desire of a traveler to book and this desire is nurtured directly from your website.
Once potential guests enter your website, they need to be made to feel the personality of your brand through visually stimulating imagery and words that resonate personally.
2. Improve usability
One of the reasons many guests book on OTAs is because of the comparatively easy and smooth user experience, as booking a room is a simple three-step process. Having a fast and responsive website with a clear booking process will enhance the user experience and make it easy for users to find what they are looking for whilst avoiding any confusion during the booking journey. A must-do in modern times to keep them on your page.
3. Provide context throughout content
One of the main goals of any hotel marketer should be converting online visitors into guests. From the moment users land on your website, you must provide context to keep them on your website and avoid them leaving to browse for information on other sites.
Tilt the scales in your favor by highlighting your positive guest reviews and competitive book direct rates – visitors won’t need to check on Tripadvisor or Booking.com. It’s all about inspiring trust and reassuring potential guests that they are making the right choice by booking direct.
4. Personalize the user experience
Guest expectations have shifted to the point that they expect a personalized experience not only during their stay, but from the moment they enter your website. So, why not offer them that?
Personalize the online experience by displaying engaging and relevant messages at each step of the booking process for every single visitor. It’s about seducing users, guiding them to trust you, and then convincing them that your hotel is the right choice.
5. Analyze, test & optimize
Keeping track of the online activity is essential when looking to optimize your conversion rate. Analyzing the wealth of data available gives a clear understanding of what is happening on your hotel website and gain valuable insights enabling you to make smarter decisions.
Let the data speak for itself by testing different messages and offers across all pages of your website. By showcasing messages that truly resonate, you will be able to engage with visitors and nudge them towards a booking.
The common thread through these tips is that they all move toward having an optimized hotel website. Aware that this can be a tricky field, we have prepared a checklist – 50 ideas to boost your hotel website conversion. Complete the short quiz so you can get an idea of how your hotel is performing today in terms of website optimization. Don’t worry if there are new techniques that you are not currently using… you can use the ideas as active inspiration to start improving your direct booking strategy today!