Although OTAs and booking apps have made it easier for the consumer to find hotels and make a booking, this doesn’t mean you should neglect your website. In fact, it’s a good reason to optimize your online presence to direct more bookings through your home on the web, where you have full control over the terms and the experience.
What tools can you use to encourage more bookings? Read on.
Direct Online Bookings
If you want people to book through your website, you must have the infrastructure in place to accept online bookings. Moreover, it isn’t enough to have a system, you should invest in the most efficient and streamlined software available so that booking on your site is convenient, easy, and efficient for the customer.
Add-Ons & Discounts
Is there a specific reason why your guests will want to book direct instead of through an app or OTA? You don’t have to offer major discounts to get more people to book through your website, but a value-add or incentive couldn’t hurt.
High-quality professional photography is no longer a competitive advantage but a must-have in hotel marketing. If you don’t have photos on your website, if your visitors can’t see what your property and rooms look like, if your design doesn’t complement your photos, there’s a good chance your prospects will start looking for alternatives. Compelling photography is essential to your success.
Per HubSpot, after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.
Naturally, as a hotel, you’re selling a service and not a product, but in a world with productized services, that line is becoming blurred.
Bottom line – videos increase dwell time on your website and spur people to action. Convert more sales with the use of effective videos showcasing your property, customers, or even behind-the-scenes stories.
What kind of people book at your hotel? What positive things have they had to say about their stay? How many customers have you served?
These are all examples of social proof. You can say what you want about your own business, but nothing beats customer testimonials and quotes for building trust and credibility.
Take a close look at your testimonials and ensure they are persuasive. Luke-warm, clichéd endorsements won’t help you get more bookings.
Streamlined Mobile Bookings
Making online bookings available is par for the course. What you need to do to beat your competition is make mobile bookings easy.
With more and more people using their smart devices to research and purchase products and services, you simply cannot afford to offer a subpar mobile experience.
Make it easy for mobile guests to book with you. Think as few clicks (or taps) as possible.
If the prospect has any questions that your website doesn’t answer (or they don’t feel is answered in the content you provided), they’re going to want to talk directly with you. All hotels should have their phone number, email address, and street address on all pages of their website, even just for SEO and local marketing purposes, but it can’t hurt to place it strategically on the booking page too.
You can also utilize plugins or apps to make live chat available (like WP Live Chat Support for WordPress), so if the lead has any questions, they can get it answered quickly and directly.
Technology is changing fast, and there are many tools you can use to get more bookings on your website.
If in doubt, start simple and build up from there. Too many scripts and third-party apps can slow your site down and hurt the user experience. Use the above list as a springboard onto other tools that can stimulate additional bookings.