Call To Action
Getting traffic to the hotel’s website is only one facet of improving the site conversion rate. The presence of online users doesn’t guarantee they will stay long enough to be converted into paying hotel guests. Online visitors must be directed where to go to accomplish the reason they are there in the first place, either booking a hotel or enquiring about one. There needs to be a ‘book now’ or ‘make a reservation’ button on each and every page on the website. These buttons should be prominently displayed above the page fold, and in the upper right hand corner is optimal. The call to action should steer users to the conversion objectives of the site and then simply tell them what you want them to do.
Internet Booking Engine
Any hotel website without an internet booking engine (IBE) leaves their hard-earned website traffic no choice but to go elsewhere to make a reservation. If such a hotel is lucky, they will call the hotel on the phone to book their stay. The more likely scenario is that the customer will go through an online travel agency or other third party, with resultant revenue loss for the hotel. That is why it is a requirement for successful hotel websites to offer an internet booking engine to their site visitors. The IBE must be simple, straightforward and extremely user-friendly. Steps in the booking process should be kept to a minimum to keep the potential customer from having a change of heart or mind.
The process of selecting a hotel and booking a stay more than likely for most people involves their emotions and feelings. Images and copywriting must tap into those feelings and invoke a positive emotional response and engage the website user. The emotions may be different between a business traveler and people traveling for pleasure, so knowing your customer base and gearing content to their emotions is key. All hotel guests like to see pictures of the accommodations, hotel amenities, restaurant, and business facilities. Special focus should be paid to the hotel’s location, including the surrounding area and local attractions.
With the multitude of online travel channels available to the public, it should always be assumed that website users are fully aware of the hotel’s rates elsewhere. The rates offered on the hotel website must never be higher than those presented by third parties. If you choose to offer higher rates than seen on other websites, your guests will most assuredly book their stay with you on a different platform.
In this era of instant gratification and extremely short attention spans, it is absolutely vital for the hotel webpages to load fast. Slow loading pages are death to any site, especially with mobile device users. There is a direct correlation between web page speed and hotel conversion rates. Slow speed is simply not tolerated by potential guests trying to make their travel arrangements.
As a final thought, it is a good practice to occasionally conduct a self audit of the hotel’s website. Check loading speeds and follow the booking process to experience what guests go through to book directly with your hotel. Be sure to contrast and compare various devices and possible web browsers. A superior hotel website will undoubtedly lead to significantly higher conversion rates resulting in higher hotel revenues.
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