You do want to generate more bookings from your hotel website, don’t you?
Direct website traffic is critical – and you have maximum control over your own website, presentation, information flow, images, rates and margins. And it is important that all hotels small or big, independent or part of a chain have the ability to drive direct bookings through their website.
Here are the top 10 areas to consider
Check on your website navigation. Can a prospect easily find the information they seek? Ask a third party to give you feedback. As the owner, manager or marketer of a business, one tends to have a far greater understanding of the product – this translates into your online presence too. However, this is not greatly helpful for a newcomer who has no information whatsoever on your hotel.
The article here has some simple, practical ways to test your hotel website navigation
Check if your website functions the way it is meant to do. This depends on the audience that you are trying to get to use your website and their behaviour. Try and understand the devices that your audience use to access your website. Which browser are they more likely to use? And what are the internet speeds in the target markets like? And is the audience technology friendly?
Click here for specific ways to test the functionality of your hotel website.
3. Booking Path
How easy is it for your website visitor to complete a booking and receive confirmation? Is it easy and done in a few steps or are there many loops that they have to go through?
Keeping the path to completing a booking simple, fast and effective is key to generating more direct bookings.
Click here for some ideas on how to analyse your hotel website booking path and whether you have it right.
Very often accessibility for websites is described as the steps taken to ensure visually and otherwise disable web users are able to use your website. But equally importantly, it includes other areas like use of Flash and Java scripts. Read more here
5. Social media interaction
Marketing through social media is a way of building relationships with the customers directly – however proper engagement is critical for it to be effective.
Ensure that the social media icons are easily visible and where possible, invite website visitors to follow you on Twitter or like your Facebook page. This invitation, however, works only if you have excellent content.
6. Content & Images
Using good quality and appealing pictures on your website is of the utmost importance to create a good first impression. To reinforce your message, the picture should show people experiencing and enjoying your accommodation/activity in its proper setting. Moreover, the people in these images should match your target group (for example, not ideal to use images of families if your target group is primarily business travellers)
7. Promotional opportunities
Ensure that the website is regularly updated with the latest promotions. Equally importantly have a mechanism to capture the contact information of interested parties.
8. Website structure for SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is important; however, it is an area that is not very well understood. And this is understandable as its effectiveness is hard to prove, and the approach to SEO techniques have to constantly adapt to changing requirements of large search engines like Google.
SEO’s real relevance lies in bringing quality traffic to your website. A key emphasis of SEO is creating keyword rich pages that are relevant to specific searches. This, in turn, allows web visitors to find the exact content they were searching for. And thus leading to relevant enquiries and improved conversion in terms of bookings at your hotel.
9. Mobile ready
Traditionally companies used to design websites with the desktop user in mind. Increasingly now, hotels and many online booking driven organisations are designing websites for mobile first.
Mobile represented 31.0% of digital travel sales in 2015 and the number will climb to 46.0% by 2019.
Another important reason is that mobile is increasingly becoming the last minute reservation channel. Having a mobile website and booking engine leads to mobile purchases.
Hotels are always faced with the challenge to reach out to a wider audience. To achieve global growth and reach international audiences, the hotel’s content marketing strategy needs to match the diversity of your online audiences.
Localisation and translation can be critical to an effective overall global marketing strategy for your hotel. Millions of words are published online, every minute, with the intention to build brands, sell products, evoke emotions and create reactions.
Do you want your hotel to be over-dependent on OTAs and other third party channels? Are you worried that with the internet being a very busy, crowded place with large operators spending large marketing budgets to attract customers, that an independent hotel cannot compete? We believe you can – if you do your homework.