Friday, 27 July 2018

5 Reasons Your Hotel Isn't Getting More Online Bookings

Your hotel has a prominent position on Google’s search engine page. You are running effective hotel digital marketing campaigns that are sending visitors to your site. Your booking engine is attracting an increasing number of customers every month. 

Yet, revenue produced through your own website is stubbornly stuck at the same level. You are left wondering just how to get more direct bookings for your hotel.

As an agency providing digital marketing services for the hotel industry, we are here to offer you some helpful pointers as to why your website may not be driving revenue. Some of our suggestions would require a complete redesign of your website, some issues can easily be fixed with minor design tweaks or simple content updates. Even the smallest of changes can create a shift in the purchasing journey, resulting in a noticeable difference in your conversion rate.  

Let’s see how we can get you more direct bookings. 

1. Your Website Suffers From An Identity Crisis

You know your customers best. When talking to guests at the front office, you tailor information to their individual needs. You would never offer the kids club services to a solo business traveller. Apply the same principle to your website. 

  • Decide on what is your most important message. As an airport hotel, tell your visitors about your proximity to the departures hall. If your bread and butter is families, feature all leisure activities prominently on the homepage.  

  • Make an memorable first impression. Travellers shop around and often visit dozens of sites before completing a booking. Catch their attention with a stunning video or a fantastic special offer. 

  • Tell your story. Show clearly what sets you apart from your competitors. Is it your location? Price? Prestige? Make it easy for customers to choose you. 

  • Avoid bombarding guests with irrelevant details. You might be excited about your state-of-the-art treadmills, but is this important to the majority of your guests? 

  • Your team fields hundreds of guest questions daily. Put this intelligence to good use by making your website more intuitive. For example, if you have numerous room types and this often confuses customers, be sure to have a ‘compare rooms’ feature. 

2. The Homepage Is Too Busy

‘Don’t use a lot where a little will do.’ Make this your motto when you map out content for your homepage. It is a balancing act. There is so much information that needs to be conveyed here: introduction, special offers, booking widget, menu, images and so on. Resist the temptation of trying to tell your story in one breath. 

  • Welcome your visitors with a straightforward layout allowing for plenty of white space. Don’t make navigation complicated for the sake of being different. 

  • Keep content current - nothing erodes trust as much as out of date information. 

  • Make it visual. Invest in high-quality photography and killer video content. 

  • Stay away from long paragraphs of text. This day and age customers are used to consuming information in bite size chunks and with the help of interactive features. 

3. The Booking Process Is Overcomplicated

If you are in charge of a major complex with several restaurants, a wedding venue, a golf course, spa and fitness facilities, your website needs to fulfill a lot of different functions. It is all too easy to lose sight of its main purpose: to drive online bookings. While each department thinks it deserve more prominence, resist the temptation to treat them equally. 

  • Implement an easy-to-use booking widget. No matter what page is visited, the ‘Book Now’ button should be accessible at all times. Make sure that it stands out visually. 

  • Distinguish clearly between different room types. Avoid lengthy descriptions and list room features with bullet points. Display several images for each room category - if possible, add a floor plan and videos. 

  • Anticipate questions. Your guests always want to know about a room’s maximum occupancy, size, view, layout and bathroom amenities. Be ready with detailed answers. 

  • Innovative packages can be a great addition to your standard BB offering. Not only they increase your hotel business, but can also generate a lot of social media  buzz. But manage your packages carefully. Limit their number to a maximum of 3-5 options. 

  • Review your booking form. Make it easy for your guests to complete their reservation. 

4. There Is A Lack Of Call To Action

Looking for ideas how to increase your hotel sales? Be sure to convert all your queries into business. That not only applies to phone calls and walk-in guests, but to all your website visitors. Guide your customers through the purchasing journey with plenty of well-placed sign posts. 

  • Highlight the benefits of direct reservations around the booking widget. Free drink on arrival? Check. Easy cancellation? Check. Best rate? Check, check, check. 

  • Make sure that your gallery and room section serves the ultimate purpose of ushering users to the booking engine. Clear navigation and prominent buttons are fundamental. 

  • Take advantage of user generated content. Display Instagram photos of your visitors in a dedicated gallery. Genuine smiles and authentic experiences are the best currency in the digital world. 

  • Give your guests a good reason to book. Highlight local recommendations from your concierge or restaurant manager. A personal invitation to visit your destination can make a powerful impact. 

5. The Technology Is Not Up To Par

Regrettably, there is no easy fix to this issue. Just as your hotel needs solid foundations, your website too ought to be built to the highest of standards. Look at it as a long-term investment that will pay dividends over the years. 

  • Functionality is everything. A beautiful design would be in vain if visitors can not access information with ease. Click through your own site from time to time to make sure everything operates smoothly. 

  • As the attention span of web users is decreasing, speed is getting more prominence. Page load times must be fast and visitors need to be able to complete actions swiftly. 

  • Get the basics right. Ensure that your server is safe and you have purchased a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Cert. Without this, Chrome users will see a ‘Not Secure’ message in the address bar.

  • Mobile usage has been steadily on the rise and there is no stopping it. With the introduction of Google’s mobile first index - meaning that the mobile version of your site will define your search ranking - it is crucial to be mobile-ready.

  • On a similar note, your website needs to offer a seamless experience regardless of the device used. Implement a responsive design that adapts the layout whether your customers access your site via desktop, tablet or mobile device. 

As a leading hotel digital marketing agency offering a range of online marketing services, we are here to help you find ways to increase your hotel’s revenue. 

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