It’s budgeting season, which means your hotel is probably ready to start planning how, when, and where you’ll be investing in 2020. As part of the “20/20 Strategy” series, we’ll offer expert tips to help you budget for key areas that could define how successful you are next year— including your hotel website. This is part 5 of the series.
To build a powerful, conversion-focused website, you need to feature the content guests are really looking for and give them an intuitive browsing experience. In addition to our ebook, our website strategy checklist will help you optimize key pages on your website to drive guest engagement and bookings.
Here are some of the key website elements to include:
Important Content About Your Hotel
Clear and easily identifiable room descriptions
Your website should make it easy for users to choose between room options. One approach is to use bullet points to highlight each room’s main amenities. Splitting room details up across multiple pages also removes information overload, helping guests with their booking decision. See our top tips to drive direct bookings through rooms and special offers copy.
Quality photography and gallery images
To help connect with your customers and tell your brand story, quality images are essential. Check out our post on photo selection lessons to boost guest engagement to learn more on this topic.
Make sure your offers clearly highlight value, both in terms of the offer name and direct booking benefits. Your customers should know exactly what they stand to benefit.
In addition to displaying compelling offers content, use an array of offers to cater to a broader group of users. We’d recommend having offers that cover the following areas:
1. Future bookings (Advanced Purchase / Stay Longer, Save More)
2. Urgency or Exclusive bookings (Last Minute Getaway, Web Exclusive offer).
3. Demographic Offers (AAA/AARP, Florida (state) Resident’s package)
4. Value-add Offers (Free Breakfast, Late Checkout)
5. Experiential Offers (Romance package, Wine & Dine package).
Bear in mind that having too many offers may overwhelm your customers, so aim to limit your offers from 5-10 depending on your hotel and guest base.
Most hoteliers know how vital guest reviews are to drive bookings. Does your hotel website have a well-populated reviews page? Take a look at our article about encouraging guests to write hotel reviews to discover our top recommendations.
A FAQ page lets your customers get quick answers to common questions. To help identify what those questions are, check out the comments by your guests on your social channels, emails, and review sites. You could also reach out to guests prior to arrival to ask if they have any specific questions, needs, or concerns. Identify any commonalities and integrate them within your FAQ page.
Neighborhood guide and events
Hotel shoppers aren’t only interested in your rooms — they also care about your location. Are you near the beach, downtown, or major attractions? Let them know with a comprehensive neighborhood guide on your website, and include a calendar with upcoming events. By offering this kind of information, you’ll keep users on your website for longer and inspire them with all the experiences they can enjoy at your hotel.
In addition to the right content, it’s imperative that your hotel website is easy to navigate. To make life easy for users, consider the following:
Include a maximum of 8 top-level menu items: This will help to avoid overwhelming users with too many navigation options
Make sure your CTAs (call to actions) are clear and consistent: Clear CTA copy (e.g. Book Now, Learn More) lets users know exactly what they’re clicking on and encourages them to take action.
Promote valuable property assets: To hook the attention of users, your website should clearly showcase your property’s biggest highlights (e.g. your family-friendly pool, proximity to destination attractions, etc.)
Simplify listings pages: Your listings pages should have minimal information to avoid information overload. Important pages that your guests really care about (such as Rooms, Offers, and Amenities) also need to be prominently displayed so they can quickly find the information they need.
Conversion-focused Tools and Strategies
To complement your website content, consider integrating the following features and tools:
- Easy-to-use booking widget
- Prominent “BOOK NOW” button
- Rate calendars on Offers pages
- Rate Match widget & scarcity messaging.
- Top banner offer to push your top rate plan and promote your most popular offer
- Versatile pop-up — helping to push a secondary rate plan and/or other initiatives that persuasively nudge (not force) users to engage.
Bringing It All Together
It’s time for an example. Here’s how some of the features mentioned above have been integrated into the homepage of Wellington Hotel in New York City:
This homepage instantly engages users with the following elements:
- Clear and simple navigation bar that features the most important categories (Rooms, About, Gallery, Offers, Location, and Amenities).
- Prominent CTA (“Book Now”)
- Top banner offer pushes “Exclusive Savings — Available only on our website”
- Rewards widget encourages direct bookings with cash back and trip cash incentives
The homepage also has a “Why Book Direct?” button that, when clicked, brings up the major benefits of booking directly with the hotel:
Looking for more advice to optimize your website’s user experience? To get started, find out if you’re making these common UX mistakes.
Enhanced User Experience
A great user experience is also vital to driving engagement. The following suggestions can help enhance your website’s user experience:
- Provide translations (where appropriate) to attract international travelers
- Ensure your hotel website is ADA-compliant.
- Include RFP and contact forms for group business
Increase Your Online Visibility
This topic could take up an entire post in its own right, but here are two key areas worth focusing on:
- Referral Backlinks: Seek out strategic partnerships to increase your website rank and page authority. As an example, a referral backlink might involve a blog post from a popular travel site mentioning and linking to your hotel in the main body of the content. Rather than quantity, look for credible and high-profile links as these are the kind that Google like.
- Build NAP consistency across all channels: NAP consistency refers to your Name, Address and Phone number being consistently listed across the internet, including your own website.
The Art and Science of Converting Travelers on Your Hotel Website
The OTAs have mastered the art of conversion, creating websites that provide the ultimate user experience. To convince customers to book direct on your hotel website, you need to give them an optimal online experience. The website strategy checklist above provides a basis to do this.
Need help taking your hotel website to the next level?
Our ebook will show you many smart ways to capture travelers’ attention by using an array of tactics, including e-commerce principles, behavioral psychology, and the very latest website technology.
Sign up for our upcoming webinar: The Art and Science of Converting Travelers on Your Hotel Website. Experts from Travel Tripper & Pegasus and LaaSie will show you the techniques and technology to influence your guest’s decision-making, forge deeper relationships, and drive more direct bookings. Sign up now to reserve your spot!