Getting direct bookings through your hotel’s website is a constant battle, one in which often leads to defeat rather than success. According to an article on Hospitality Times, hotel website conversion rates are normally between 2-3%, with approximately 95% of visitors abandoning the booking process before successfully making a reservation. Due to the discouragingly low percentages of hotel conversion rates, hoteliers may often wonder what they can do to increase business through their website. Worry not, the following are 5 simple ways for hoteliers to jump-start their way to higher hotel website conversions.
1. Simplify your booking process – Ease of use leads to opportunities for higher revenues.
Making it easy for customers to book reservations on your website is one of the simplest, yet very effective methods you can use to increase the number of bookings for your hotel. Instead of leading your potential customers through a lengthy and complicated booking process, it is highly recommended to shorten the amount of time and steps required to successfully make a reservation. By decreasing the number of obstacles between a customer and a sale, you greatly increase the likelihood of acquiring more reservations.
2. Regularly use and manage social media – Be where your customers are and join their community.
With the evolution of technology and the Internet, utilizing social media is now the norm for virtually any business operation – including hotels. Actively using various social media channels allows for opportunities to strengthen the credibility of your business and increase consumer awareness. It is imperative for hoteliers to utilize various social media networks such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other networks to effectively communicate with a broad reach of potential customers. When communicating through social media networks, always be sure to utilize the “80/20 rule” into your social media activity. This means that 80% of posts should provide relevant and useful information to your subscribers/followers. Useful information can be communicated in the form of insightful articles/blogs, local event or attraction information, and other materials that will provide value to your audience. The remaining 20% of posts should then be used for self-promoting your business’ products and services. Excessive self-promoting through social networks leads to too much “noise” for potential customers, making them less likely to buy from you.
3. Implement the right technology – Learn to live and breathe in the modern world to excel against your competitors.
In order to stay on top of your competitors and business operations, it is extremely beneficial to invest in recent technology built to efficiently manage your hotel. In the present, hoteliers are able to take advantage of various applications including: REVPAR GURU RMS to manage rates automatically and check for rate parity with OTAs, Responsive Design on Server Side (RESS) to manage all content at once while still providing a customized user experience for each platform, and a cloud-based CMS to easily create and manage content through all distribution channels. There are many applications available for hoteliers to use, and with ongoing advancements in technology, it is crucial to stay on top of technological trends to successfully compete in the hospitality industry.
4. Measure your progress – The more you see, the more you get.
It is impossible for businesses to improve operations and accurately plan for the future without regularly measuring their progress and analyzing the results. It is important to measure most, if not all metrics to have a greater understanding of your hotel’s current situation in order to effectively plan and forecast for the future to reach business goals. Several key performance indicators (KPIs) that ought to deserve special attention include, but not limited to occupancy rate, average daily rate (ADR), average revenue per booking, total revenue, total business from online travel agencies (OTAs), total business from hotel website, and total website traffic. Keep in mind that the more you measure, the more conversions you can achieve for your hotel.
5. Utilize promotions and incentives – Achieve success by investing in your customers and employees.
Take care of your customers and employees, and they will take care of your business. You can achieve greater success for your business by investing in both your customers and employees. Attract more customers by providing complimentary upgrades, special rates, discounts through promo code, and/or loyalty programs for direct bookers. Incentivize your employees by providing deadlines and goals with the opportunity to achieve rewards and bonuses. For example, by incentivizing employees to respond to guest reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp, it provides a more positive customer experience and fosters greater communication among the business and its customers. When used wisely, promotions and incentives are powerful tools to increase business to your hotel.
There are many opportunities for hoteliers to increase direct bookings and recover abandoned reservations, as well as following these 5 steps will help pave the path towards improving hotel website conversions.