Imagine 50 guests walk in to your hotel but only 10 end up making booking and the rest walk out. Doesn’t it seem like a disaster situation? Bet you’ll call for an emergency meeting to re-think strategies.
Few hoteliers tend to look at low online conversion as a critical problem to be dealt with, with similar concern and deftness. A hotel’s website is the most critical marketing and sales tool. The website strategy of the hotel therefore has to be well planned, strategized and executed. The goal for the website strategist is twofold – one is to increase “lookers” on the website and second is to convert maximum possible “lookers” into “bookers”.
What’s the hotel online performance today?
To begin strategizing your website, first take a measure of the conversion rate that the website is achieving right now. The industry average conversion rate is 3%. If the hotel’s conversion rate is below 3% then this is a cause of worry and opportunity to increase revenue exponentially. Good hotels backed up by well planned websites are able to achieve up to 10% conversion.
Is your website mobile, smartphone and tablet compliant?
Market numbers today show an increase in the number of customers who are booking online using their smartphones. If the hotel website is not designed for mobile and smartphones then this is the first strategy that needs to be implemented to improve conversion rate among smartphone users. Hotel websites need to be designed to accommodate touch screen and swiping facilities, and an interface aimed at seamless mobile user experience. (Also read: 5 things hotels should not ignore about mobile bookings)
Does your website have Reservation Recovery Applications?
Research has shown that more than 90% of website visitors abandon the reservation process. This again opens up an opportunity space to increase conversion rate. Various tools are available in the market to target such visitors. Retargeting emails can be sent to get the visitors back on the website. Pop-ups with special offers can be shown to visitors to encourage them to complete the reservations.
How easy is it for the guest to get a confirmed reservation?
Many online lookers to your website include potential guests that are simultaneously surfing multiple OTAs. To encourage the guest to make a booking on your online booking engine we need to
– Make a first good impression
– Booking engine should give real time availability and allow confirmed bookings
– Online payment option should be provided
– The guest form should load quickly, designed comprehensively and should not take the guest much time to fill.
Hotel Images and Videos
We had published a blog few months back on the benefits of having visual content on the hotel website. Investing in a good photographer and editor to enable the online visitor to have a virtual tour of the hotel is a great opportunity to increase conversion. The videos and photographs should be such that it leaves an impression on the guest. Videos create a visual impact, lead to longer visits and are a proven marketing tool to increase online conversions.
Overall Hotel Design and Content
The hotel website should deliver content that is relevant and appealing, packaged in a design that flows easy and converts. Every page of your website should deliver a marketing message that is compelling and may not always be a special rate or discount. Every hotel website should implement must have features like Google maps, Email Signup, Customer testimonials, TripAdvisor widgets, social sharing buttons and incorporate the latest SEO strategies. All of the above equipped with a responsive web design will create a remarkable customer experience ensuring that more and more lookers to the hotel website are converting to bookers.
This blog was originally published on Hospitality.net