The hospitality industry can be an extremely competitive market. If your accommodation is situated in a popular tourist destination, then chances are you will be competing with large, corporate hotels and resorts, so making your accomodation stand out can be tricky. But let’s say someone has stumbled upon your website but have decided not to book through you. Instead, they opted to go with another hotel. You will probably ask yourself why that is? In this blog, we look at ways to optimize your website to ensure that you convert site visitors into new customers.
The homepage will be the first thing people see when they arrive at your site. If it is not up to scratch, it will turn people off immediately. Make sure that it is attractive, colorful, and elegant. Be sure to have a menu bar at the top of the page, an image or montage of images of your accommodation and surrounding area (limit this to two or three photos), and a paragraph long description of the hotel or resort with a title such as “Welcome to…”. Testimonials by guests are always a benefit for the homepage too, as well as any awards or new services that you can share with website visitors. Above all else, be sure to keep this page well organized! For more ideas, look at your competition and see how they layout their homepage.
Easy To Navigate Website
Less is more! A common problem is that hotels and resorts create too many tabs and links that seem to have no order to them. The top menu bar should be clear and concise so that customers can navigate to the correct page, such as accommodation, services, location, contact, etc. Some of the menu tabs should contain sub-tabs so that customers can direct themselves to the correct page. Ensure that all the tabs are very clear and not to use too many unless necessary.
User Friendly Reservation System
You’ll be surprised how many reservation systems I have stumbled across on websites that are either broken or difficult to use. Often, they are little more than ‘check-the-dates’ systems that are designed to email the owner or reservation team that someone has made an inquiry. If the team emails back and says that the dates are already booked, then this can be infuriating for the potential customer and will most likely lose them business. Similarly, lacking any reservation system entirely (e.g. inquiry only) on the website will most likely turn people away too. As of which, having a fully functioning and user friendly online reservation system is paramount to your website’s success.
Mobile Friendly Website
This may not seem important, but you could potentially lose out on a big market here. Keep in mind that, in 2017, over 50% of web users are coming from mobile phones, and many travellers opt to use their smartphones and tablets when browsing the internet overseas. When a site is not mobile friendly, it can make the website look unattractive, difficult to navigate and sometimes unresponsive on mobile devices. Fixing this will give your website a much better experience for mobile users and should also boost your search engine rankings in mobile search results.
Have An Incentive
Its no secret that booking agencies, such as TripAdvisor and Booking.com, have made it more and more difficult for customers to book directly through your business. Keep in mind that many people will look up your website after finding you on a booking agency to see what you are all about. This is a perfect time to promote yourself and give potential customers an incentive to book directly through you. Next to the reservation tab, you can put something like: “Book directly through us and receive 10% off!”. Promo-codes can be helpful too, such as “Use this promo-code to receive 20% off our spa services”. Get creative with your incentives to ensure people are booking directly through your website.
If you need some assistance in updating or designing your hotel or resort website, then contact us today.