The experience your guests enjoy will play a central role in the success (or lack thereof) that your hotel experiences. However, too many hotel owners and managers assume that the guest experience begins when that guest sets foot on hotel property. That’s not the truth. Today, we need to think beyond the physical world. Your guest experience begins the moment someone lands on your website.
If your website is not up to par, the booking experience will be negative. What happens when a guest has a negative experience? There’s a very real chance that they’ll decide to look elsewhere for their accommodations – you have no shortage of competitors. There’s also a chance that they’ll communicate that negative guest experience to others.
So, how do you enhance the guest experience? For hoteliers worried about how to improve hotel guest satisfaction, we have some simple, direct recommendations.
Make Sure Your Website Is Easy to Use
The single most important thing you can do is make sure that you have a modern, easy-to-use website. If it’s clunky, outdated, filled with flashing graphics and gaudy colors, you’re going to turn off potential guests, and they’ll opt-out. Today’s travelers are much more sophisticated and expect your website to be on par with others they interact with, including major chains.
What makes a website easy to use, though? Here are a few ways to improve yours:
- Navigation –Make sure that your guests can easily navigate to the pages they want to visit. In most cases, this will be exploring the rooms you offer. However, they’re also going to want to check out your amenities and services, things to do in the local area, how to reach you from the interstate or the airport, and more.
- Images –Use high-quality images that put most areas of your hotel in a good light. You want pictures of the pool, your lobby, hallways, guest rooms, restaurant, and more. Make sure that these are professionally done. Amateur photography will be a turn-off and can put even a gorgeous guest room in a bad light.
- Helpful Content –Provide helpful information that ensures your guests have the information they need. Consider using a tool like Buzzsumo to drill down and discover the topics that your guests most want to know about so you can create relevant content for your website.
A Note on Images
Let’s touch a little more on visual media. The images you use on your website should be lightweight to ensure good loading times but evocative of the hotel. You also need to break out of the mold – sure, those pictures of the lobby look nice, but there’s so much more you can do.
Consider lifestyle photos of travelers at your hotel engaged in activities. Highlight hotel architecture and design through photos. Consider adding virtual tours and 360-degree photos to help guests really feel like they’re in the space and can connect with your property even through the website.
Your Web Booking Engine
If there is one element that will break your hotel guest experience right away, it’s a poorly designed, unresponsive web booking engine. If your guests can’t book their stay via the website, they’re not going to go through the hassle of contacting you to do it manually. The entire point of a web booking engine is to offer convenience and streamline the process for your guests.
Your web booking engine should be responsive and modern. It should allow guests to easily select the type of room they want, indicate their preferences in terms of beds, views, and other things, and then confirm the duration of their stay.
Hotelogix offers an industry-leading web booking engine that is responsive, reliable, and easy to use. Guests simply choose their room type and preferences and then indicate the length of their stay. The intuitive design also means that you lose fewer guests during the online booking process.
A Secure Payment Gateway
Booking a reservation is all well and good, but you need to ensure there’s a way for your guests to pay for their stay ahead of time. Today, that means using an online payment gateway to prevent the need for taking credit card numbers manually, but there are some important considerations to be made here, particularly when it comes to security.
Your guests are entrusting you with their financial and personal information. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your payment gateway is fully secure and proof against digital threats.
At Hotelogix, we understand how critical it is to deliver not just a modern guest experience, but peace of mind when it comes to sensitive financial and personal information. We offer connections to over 50 payment gateways, all of which use robust digital encryption to protect your guest’s data, as well as your hotel’s information.
Mobile First Design
Once upon a time, your guests were far more likely to access your hotel’s website from a desktop computer or maybe a laptop. Today, that’s not the case at all. Instead, your website visitors are far more likely to be using a mobile device.
The challenge here is that if your website does not follow a mobile-first strategy, the chances are good that your visitors are not having the best possible guest experience. A website designed primarily for desktop browsers is not going to display properly on a mobile device, and most travelers do not have the time or patience to try to navigate it. So, they ultimately leave your site and go to a competitor with a more mobile-friendly website.
Your website must follow a mobile-first design strategy. If not, you’re losing market share to competitors for no good reason. It’s as simple as that.
In the End
Ultimately, creating a better hotel guest experience through your website requires intentionality and understanding the importance of modern website design. A mobile-first design strategy, a responsive web booking engine, and a secure payment gateway will help ensure that your guests have no reason to leave your site.
At Hotelogix, we offer powerful solutions designed to help you compete in today’s increasingly challenging market. From our flexible web booking engine to our ability to connect you with over 50 payment gateways, we strive to provide the tools and solutions that modern hotels need to thrive.