As a luxury hotelier looking to drive direct bookings via your website, you should be asking yourself these questions:
- How long has it been since your hotel website was updated?
- What do you want your website to do? E.g. Generate sales leads? Convert leads to guests?
- How is your website performing according to your goals?
- How was your website designed?
As the luxury hotel market has become more competitive in vying for direct bookings, it is crucial that your website is updated to reflect any changes in your growing business, advances in web design, Google updates and your customer demographic.
Traditionally hotel websites are rebuilt from scratch every few years, often accompanied by a change of agency. This process can take up to 6 months and is often not based on data insights or customer feedback. These sites tend to remain largely unchanged in between re-designs although they will usually be subject to conversion rate optimisation (CRO).
There is an alternative to this model called growth-driven design (GDD) which prioritises quick launches with continuous iterative changes based on data-driven decisions, leading to month on month improvement.
What is growth driven design?
Growth Driven Design has developed in response to periodic website re-designs which are often late and over-budget without satisfying all the elements of the design brief. It is based on the Agile methodology and uses SCRUM as a framework.
Agile is a way of implementing iterative and incremental software development which values flexible planning, customer satisfaction, early delivery and people-oriented cooperation.
It is an ideal model for hotels as their marketing is based on moving targets, whether it be economic conditions or customer demographics. It is designed to take account of changing in-house priorities as the build progresses.
The GDD process has three stages - strategy, launchpad, and continuous improvement.
Strategy starts with an understanding of:
- Who your guests are?
- What are their pain points?
- What are their needs and demands?
- How they behave online?
The launchpad is a website built quickly based on the strategy insights. It is not the finished product but the foundation onto which you add iterative development.
This is the third part of GDD – modifying the site as you collect data and identify high-impact actions which will drive revenue. It depends on what you learn about your customers’ behavior as they start to interact with the new site and as market conditions change.
It is a faster and less expensive process for luxury hotel web design. As it based on client and market-based insights you can be sure you will achieve your principle marketing objectives.
What is conversion rate optimization?
The definition of conversion rate (CRO) is the percentage of users who visit your website and perform your desired action whether that be booking a room, reading a blog post or submitting contact information. CRO is the process of enhancing your website and content to boost conversions.
The higher the conversion rate, the more effective your website is at engaging your target audience. CRO is attractive because it means you will obtain higher revenue with lower costs from the current customer cohort.
To improve the conversion rate, there are three key factors that you should keep in mind to ensure you meet your guests’ requirements when they visit your hotel website.
You can measure your website conversion rate and the effects of any optimisation in Google Analytics. This will tell you the number of sessions that lead to a conversion.
2. Factors at your disposal
Improving website optimisation depends on numerous internal factors such as revenue strategy, availability, special offers, traffic and content. For hotels, the homepage, rooms pages, special offers and gallery are particularly important along with landing pages for PPC and other campaigns.
3. Factors beyond your control
There are also numerous external forces that affect your website conversion optimisation such as seasonal fluctuations in conversion rate, pandemics, adverse weather and customer reviews. The answer here is to plan how to respond accordingly e.g. always reply to negative reviews but take the conversation offline by offering to call or email directly.
What is the difference between growth driven design and conversion rate optimization?
Conversion Rate Optimisation is essential on a traditional website otherwise conversions and revenue will drop, as what is effectively a static.
resource will underperform as conditions change. With a Growth driven design site, optimisation is built in as part of the design.
Understanding the definition of GDD and CRO helps you to identify the difference between them. Here are four key ones:
- Conversion rate optimisation is a subdivision of a larger concept called growth driven design.
- While the main focus of CRO is based on assessing the effectiveness of what you build, the focal point of GDD is to create in a different way, data-driven way.
- CRO is to turn thoughts step by step into actions, GDD is a particular way of thinking which prioritises flexibility, early delivery and customer satisfaction.
- CRO is about optimising pages on your existing website so your priority should be to create new landing pages on your site.
For any questions about web design or optimisation, we’d be delighted to hear from you.