How to Increase Conversion Rates on Your Hotel Website
Posted at Feb 26, 2018 8:00:00 AM by Michelle Sternbauer | Share
Great location: check. Comfortable, clean rooms: check. Terrific amenities: check. Killer value-adds (hello, evening reception with wine and snacks, passes to location attractions, and even free parking in some cities!): check.
So why is the “Vacancy” sign lit up at your hotel more often than you’d like? It may have nothing to do with your physical property and everything to do with your digital property. Make sure your hotel website is pulling its weight and helping you reel in guests.
The Key to Conversion
If you want to increase your conversion rate (and you do), start with your hotel website. Start here:
Consistency is the name of the game.
The hospitality industry is multi-channel: you’ve got assets all over the digital realm, from your website to social media to review sites to OTAs. You must maintain consistency across three critical components to ensure a seamless purchase journey and avoid creating a sense of dissonance (or perceived dishonesty) with potential guests:
Pricing: Imagine you’re looking for a hotel and see a great rate quote on an ad. You click through, and surprise: on the hotel’s website, that great rate is suddenly much higher. You’ll hit that back button as fast as possible. Potential guests are doing the same thing; they lose faith in your brand if your pricing is inconsistent. It can feel like the old “bait and switch.”
Messaging: Who are you? What’s your brand identity? Classic with stunning service? Quirky and hip? Business-oriented and convenient? Family-friendly and fun? Pet-friendly and millennial? Whatever your story and unique selling proposition, make sure it is told consistently across channels. This is essential in building trust and confidence.
Branding: On a similar note, your branding needs to remain constant. If you look and feel different on social versus your website versus a booking engine - if details from your logo to your color scheme to your font do not match - you create that dissonance that decreases your conversion rate.
Bonus Pricing Tip: Savvy hoteliers are now displaying third party rates on their site compared to their own direct rates. This keeps potential guests from bouncing off site to explore other options.
Bonus Bonus Tip: For the love of all things consistent, make sure your mobile offerings are robust and deliver a convenient experience that perfectly mirrors that of your website.
Offer instant access to your brand.
How? Live chat. Here’s why: today’s consumers are informed, educated, and they want answers… now. Research shows that:
44% of online consumers say that chatting with a live person during the purchase process is one of the most important features of a website.
90% of consumers think live chat is helpful.
63% of consumers are more likely to return to sites with a live chat option.
38% indicate that they made their purchase because of the chat session.
As hotels seek to maximize their budgets, live chat can help them effectively control customer service costs while boosting conversion and booking rates. Wins all around.
Streamline your checkout process.
Don’t lose potential guests just when they’re ready to cross the finish line! The easier your booking process is, the higher your conversion rate will be. It’s that simple. And your process should be just as simple.
Don’t make people sign up; don’t try to upsell; offer multiple convenient payment options; and take out unnecessary steps (you don’t need to know your guests’ life stories, and they don’t want to give out more data than they have to. Just get the bare minimum of information required).
Also be sure to highlight your security measures so guests are comfortable and confident completing payment.
Cut some weight.
A slow website is a conversion killer. If your site doesn’t load within four seconds, a quarter of visitors will leave. If it takes 10, half will give up. They will never return - why should they!
Discard weighty elements that are slowing you down. An agency that specializes in hotel marketing services can help optimize both on-page and off-page components that enable fast loading and seamless navigating.
Give guests proof.
User-generated content is 20 percent more influential than any other marketing tactic among millennial consumers - who represent an increasingly large piece of the travel pie. Feature guest reviews, photos, and videos across platforms (e.g. Insta, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Yelp, and OTAs). This is social proof potential guests need to make their booking decision.
Is your website helping or harming your conversion efforts? Put these tips into place, take advantage of hotel marketing services, and watch your brand grow.