Is your hotel website hurting your business instead of helping?
Often times, hotels have the latest technology, bedding and furniture, but their website doesn't succeed in enticing consumers to book a stay. Whether it's because they fail to provide a customized digital experience, their services are poorly outlined, or their site and discounts are simply difficult to find, in many cases, hotel websites can actually hurt their business.
Here are the three biggest mistakes you'll want to avoid with your hotel website:
1. The one-size-fits-all approach to travelers
A business traveler has different needs than a couple seeking a romantic weekend. While the business traveler will be interested in your newspaper delivery, WiFi access and business center, the couple is more likely to wonder what local attractions and dining are in the area.
Ensure that you are showcasing the benefits you offer to each target market so that they can make an educated decision when booking their travel. Customize their booking experience based on previous travel behavior and demographics. This will help prevent cart abandonment, as well as assist you in presenting features they'd be interested in upon check-in.
The personal approach doesn't end there, though. After they've booked their stay, use marketing automation to send tailored e-marketing that appeals to their interests, and they'll be that much more likely to become loyal long-term customers.
2. Less than stellar visuals, video and photography
Visuals are key in tourism. They differentiate you from your competition and give website viewers a preview of the experience they'll have on your property. It's not enough to take your own photographs of the guest rooms; hiring a professional photographer and stylist is well worth the money.
Virtual reality, 360° video and live video streaming are some of the biggest travel marketing trends for 2017, because a video is easier for the information-overloaded viewer to process. Tourists are increasingly turning to videos when researching potential travel destinations to visit. Naturally, utilizing video marketing not only gives the traveler a more enjoyable online experience, it also is strategically beneficial for the destination.
Having lots of pretty pictures and videos isn't enough, however. You need to clearly communicate the key information that your travelers are looking for—again, utilizing demographics to present what will interest them. If you're looking to bring in business from event planners for small parties, weddings or corporate meetings, for example, make sure you thoroughly and clearly outline information they'll need, such as menus and room dimensions.
3. Overlooking technical difficulties, SEO & Mobile compatibility
Given the amount of online booking sites such as Travelzoo, Groupon and the like, travelers expect a good deal and they want it to be as easy as possible to reserve. It's important to create a user experience that is simple and direct, and test it frequently for errors. A misdirected link or technical glitch could cost you a customer.
Ensuring your website is visible, comes up in searches, and is easy to locate is essential. Don't underestimate the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)! SEO can help increase your organic (unpaid) search. A few steps you can take are utilizing metatags/key words, ensuring you have relevant page titles and content, and sending your sitemap to Google to make sure they index your pages.
In addition, it's critical that your site is either responsive or optimized for mobile and tablet devices. A survey conducted by Opera Mediaworks found that 85% of travelers use a mobile device to book travel activities. If your website isn't configured to optimize a mobile platform, that should be a top priority.
Your website is the virtual front door to your hotel and the best place to make a lasting impression. The benefits of creating a site that is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and customized to each client can greatly increase your business.
- Rebecca Loomis, Content Writer & Social Media Strategist, BBG&G Advertising, Rebecca@bbggadv.com
BBG&G Advertising & Public Relations is a full service advertising, marketing and public relations agency serving a wide range of local and regional clients within a broad range of industries.