It is important for every hotel to have a website and a channel to facilitate direct bookings instead of third-party booking websites which costs 15-30% in booking fees. When designing a custom website for your hotel, it is imperative to focus on the features and appearances.
Here are the top 5 things you need on your website to increase the conversion of visitors to real customers.
1. Responsive website
Modern websites need to be mobile-responsive given the huge amount of traffic coming from mobile device browsers. Hotel customers are using mobile devices to search for their options, plan, and book their travels.
A responsive website is one whose format is easy to render on any screen size with proper navigation and without distortions. For instance, a responsive website hides menu behind a simple menu folded at the top or side. The text font adjusts its size to fit the screen of the device on which the website is being viewed. This means the customer will need to waste time zooming in and out.
2. Having a direct booking call-to-action
Your website should help generate direct bookings. Choose a secure booking site that integrates with your Property Management System (PMS). The booking engine should work well with other websites, and it should also help you run a responsive website.
The “Book Now” button needs to be visible. For instance, you can use contrasting colors to make the button clear and visible.
3. Website speed
The minimum loading times to target when working on a hotel website is three to four seconds. Not only can a slower website keep customers from signing up and booking because the bounce rate is high, but It can also hurt your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign when it comes to being ranked on search engines such as Google.
That said, it is possible to install several plugins that help you to keep monitoring your website loading times.
It is crucial to target a high speed because having a lot of images will tend to slow down your website. This can be compensated by having super speed templates and ensuring extensions and plugins will not work to slow down the website.
Further, compress the images to optimal sizes before uploading to your website, save them in .JPG formats and keep logos and graphics in .PNG formats, keep photos to 72 dpi or 92 dpi resolution, ensure large images are kept to less than 1 MB in the minimum. Keep background images to around 2000 pixels in width.
4. Great photography
Images enable customers to know, in detail, what is it customers are to pay for. Most hotels will use it as a marketing tool. As such, images and photos do not only stay on the website but are also part of the entire social media strategy and sale collateral.
Hotel images can be used whether you are opening a new hotel or doing a hotel renovation. What is most important when taking shots for your SEO strategy and website conversions is having a variety. Make sure the photos can help guests picture themselves in your property. Finally, ensure to set aside enough budgets for your shooting sessions.
Below are some of the most important types of images to include:
– Front exterior – In addition to taking photos at the most attractive angles, take photos for location during the day, dusk, and at night.
– Hotel Lobby – Take photos of location with and without front desk workers.
– Rooms – Images should be taken on all rooms, starting with the full space shot and then areas like the bedside, work area, bathrooms, and view.
– Meetings – You can set up and take snaps of different setups to show how flexible your meeting rooms are and their applications.
– Weddings and events – Take images that support weddings and events as being part of your social strategy. Make sure to go for styled photo shots and you can hire models and dedicate time and money for separate photoshoots.
– Dining – Take shots of your standard menu offerings and then a few wide shots of the F&B outlets and in-room dining spaces.
– Spa – Take shots of the spa, massage areas, sauna, beauty treatment areas, etc.
– Pool – Consider taking aerial photos of your hotel swimming pool for instance using a drone.
– Other amenities – Take shots of all other areas and amenities that help make your hotel look unique and which help in website conversions and SEO.
For instance, you can keep down the number of plugins and redirects to avoid extremely slow websites. Videos also tend to slow down websites, and this can be avoided by hosting them on YouTube, Vimeo, or other sites.
5. Social Proof
Social proof helps make websites more trustworthy. A social proof is a phenomenon where people will copy the actions and therefore the behaviors of others for a given situation. In other words, people will trust something that has been done by others.
For instance, a survey on TrustYou shows reviews are considered important by 96% of persons for researching for hotels. Let your guests write up testimonials and then post them directly on your websites common. Further, your website needs to integrate real reviews from real customers through TripAdvisor and Google.
Today, social media is also an important place for garnering brand-related social proof. As such, you can add feeds of user-generated content such as reviews to be posted directly to your social media. Social media posts and buzz has a very large influence on SEO because most of the content coming from it is not generated by brand, or in other words, is user-generated and considered trustworthy.
Your hotel website needs to fit properly in the larger seo strategy and website conversion optimization, such that it helps draw more audience for your hotel and helps convert more of these visitors into real customers. This can be done through using responsive design, making sure the call-to-actions are visible and having direct booking, ensuring good loading speed, ensuring high-quality photography and social proof.
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Do you need an audit for your hotel’s website? We would be glad to assist you. Schedule a free consultation with us.