In an ultra competitive online hotel space, hotels can still gain an upper hand by turning their websites into a online booking machines. A hotel website is an extension of the hotel’s business – it provides important hotel information to existing and potential customers and is an avenue to allow consumers to book a hotel at all hours of the day.
In order to service customers and maximise sales potential, all hotels understand that that they should a website that is well-presented with friendly navigation, useful information and good e-commerce capability so that users can book online easily.
5 key elements to take into account in order to turn a hotel website into an online hotel booking machine
Simple and clear navigation allows hotel customers to instinctively look for and find information and elements on the website that time pressed travellers and consumers need.
Having a clear menu bar, proper instructions and titles on each hotel webpage will help keep the hotel website and hotel web pages simple and to the point. The objective here is to keep it straight forward for travel consumers so that they don’t have to look too hard, think too much to get to the hotel information and services that they want.
Graphics are a great way to support the hotel’s brand image as well as influence a customer in his/her perception of the hotel website. However, it is important not to overload the hotel website with graphics. Graphics used need to serve a specific purpose and not simply just to look nice. Cluttered or complex graphics can interfere with good website usability and how content is presented.
A hotel’s content is critical and takes centre stage as it’s the foundation of what consumers read and ultimately, a key area that keeps travel customers coming back. Always place important content front up (and above the “fold”) and keep layout hotel content so that it is easy to scan, easy to read.
Use interactive custom widgets to showcase the latest promotions and offers to Increase your booking conversion rate. Here is a suggested Free to use booking conversion app called Benifit which requires no technical or coding skills and allows hoteliers to create beautiful interactive widgets to display ongoing promotions and Offers.
Cliche but true – A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly for inspirational and lifestyle products like travel and hotels. Hotel photos and hotels videos are a great way to make an online hotel booking immediately tangible to the customer.
In addition, taking a good picture or a good video is far easier these days with improvements in technology. There are no excuses one can give for loading up poor quality hotel pictures and videos on the hotel website. At the same time, like other content placed on a hotel website, it is equally important that the hotel pictures and videos used are a good representation of the hotel in order to meet customer expectations. A carnal sin would be to touch up the photos beyond recognition – it’s a sure fire way to disappoint customers when they check in.
If the core objective of a hotel website is to generate hotel bookings, then the hotel search and hotel booking engine needs to be front and centre of the hotel website. The online hotel reservation tool needs to be easily accessible on the hotel website and more importantly, easy to use.
In addition, providing travel consumers information on real time availability of hotel rooms and pricing of the hotel rooms are also critical to aid the hotel booking process and conversion. Making a customer wait for a response to understand hotel availability and hotel pricing over 24 to 48 hours is not acceptable these days as the customer can easily move on and book with another website or hotel.
A hotel website is similar to a hotel property in many ways. Much like a hotel property that requires ongoing maintenance, a hotel website needs regular updates. A hotel website needs to be monitored daily to ensure that all functionalities are working and for refinement to improve customer engagement and hotel booking conversion.
In addition to functionalities, keeping content and information fresh on the website is also critical on multiple levels. It informs customers about changes that are happening in the hotel such as upgrade of facilities, announces new hotel specials and promotions available to consumers, enhances the hotel brand via new testimonials as well as supports all other marketing efforts such as search engine optimisation.