A hotel website is a crucial touchpoint in the customer journey and is usually the first interaction potential guests have with your business. Therefore, optimizing it to provide a positive user experience and increase conversions is crucial.
Hotels need to encourage guests to book directly through their website. This isn't just to save on commission costs from Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) but also because direct bookings increase brand awareness. When guests book directly, it's a touchpoint with the hotel, not via a third-party platform. There are several ways to encourage direct bookings, and many factors are essential, particularly when it comes to the last hurdle - the hotel website.
These factors include technical, price, and graphical aspects. The following article presents some of these factors and highlights the significance of having a high-quality website. It also shows which specific aspects are necessary to create one.
The relevance of a good hotel website
A hotel's website is crucial to its online marketing activities as it attracts and retains guests. It acts as a digital business card and often determines the first impression of potential guests. The website details rooms, services, prices, availability, and location. Direct bookings via the website help in saving commission costs on OTAs, which can be as high as 30% of the room price. A high number of direct bookings can significantly impact sales. A good website can also help in this regard.
The secrets of the success of a good hotel website:
Simplifying the booking process
Making direct bookings can help hotels save costs, and the first secret to success is incentivizing visitors to book through the hotel's website. To achieve this, it is essential to streamline the booking process and make it easy to understand. The number of steps involved in booking should be minimized, and a prominent call-to-action button should be displayed on the website.
Selling the best product at the best price
Having the best price guarantee on your website can motivate visitors to book directly through your website. It is highly recommended to make it immediately visible and placed "above the fold" (before the user starts scrolling). This way, hotels can gain a competitive edge and differentiate themselves. Who wouldn't prefer to get the best deal possible?
Optimizing your website for mobile use
Having a mobile-optimized website is crucial to ensure that a website is easy to use. Nowadays, people use their smartphones or tablets to search and book hotels. Therefore, hotels must ensure that their website provides an excellent user experience on mobile gudgets. If a hotel website is not optimized for mobile devices, visitors may find it challenging to make a booking, which can result in a loss of potential customers. On the other hand, a mobile-optimized website can help to prevent this by displaying website content optimally on different screen sizes and making it easy for visitors to make a booking, regardless of which device they use.
Communicating with guests on the hotel's website
Good online communication with guests can significantly improve customer service and user experience. Visitors to a website can receive all the information they need for their stay through an integrated chat option or contact forms. By providing better service, customer satisfaction increases, and the chances of direct bookings are also higher.
Relying on data
Hotels can benefit significantly from implementing website tracking. Tracking specific data allows hoteliers to gain valuable insights into how potential guests use their website. This data can help optimize website design and content to enhance user experience. Additionally, tracking can help monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, enabling hoteliers to focus their efforts and budget on the most effective channels. By identifying the campaigns that attract the most visitors and bookings, hoteliers can adjust their strategies to increase profits.
Integrating social media into the hotel website
Integrating social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook can enhance visitor engagement and increase hotel awareness. Social media platforms are particularly significant during the inspiration phase due to the abundance of visual and informative content that can be shared. By integrating social media, hotel websites can witness increased traffic as social media visitors can be directed to the hotel's website via backlinks. Additionally, integrating social media can help gain new followers who become aware of the hotel's social media channels through the website and seek additional information about the hotel through these channels.
Creating and optimizing a high-quality website is of utmost importance for hotels to attract and retain guests, promote direct bookings, and represent the hotel digitally to the outside world. To achieve the best possible success, it is crucial to consider all the secrets of success equally. Moreover, a hotel website should not exist solely for aesthetics. There should be a greater emphasis on a converting and functionally sound website.