With OTA’s giving hotels stiff competition for direct bookings, hoteliers have to figure out ways to draw potential guests to their site. Having your link on the first page of Google isn’t enough to convert a visitor to a guest. Remember, travelers visit multiple sites before choosing a hotel, which means that they’re pitting companies against one another. Hoteliers must do something to make their online presence known. If you don’t have a website, then you’re already behind and should start developing one immediately along with a multi-platform campaign. If you do have a site then there are some methods to better connect with and attract guests.
Your site as a whole should embody the mission and culture of your hotel. Each page should feature content that clearly portrays the purpose of the page. There should be a clear sense of style whether you are going for a sophisticated look or a laid-back vacation vibe. The site should be easy to navigate with a clear menu and visible links. To encourage direct bookings, your front desk phone number or a reservation widget should be visible on every page. Most importantly, your site should be optimized for multiple platforms. Since most travelers use at least three screens a day and they are constantly on the move, it is even more crucial that your site is responsive so you do not lose out on any potential bookings.
As soon as your site loads, it should enchant the guest. Feature an image that says everything you want the guest to know about the hotel. Keeping your home page simple is the best option. Guests should be able to easily navigate your hotel’s site. The home page should also be goal-oriented. Allow guests to be able to easily book direct with your hotel by prominently displaying the booking button front and center of the homepage and within all pages of your site. If you want your promotions to stand out, then be sure to feature these as well.
Small details are very important for the success of a website. As mentioned above, having a visible “Book Now!” button on every page can help influence more guests to pay for their room on your site instead of an OTA. Also, on the room listings page, visible rates and availability will help guests’ decision-making easier. Show your guests that you’re not outdated by having links to your social media sites somewhere on your page. Being able to connect on Facebook and Twitter makes your hotel appear fun, hip, and outgoing.
One of the most important parts of your website is engaging content. One of the most important forms of content is photography. Your photos should be professional. Amateur looking photos will cause guests to think your hotel is illegitimate or cheap. Photos should tell a story and present an understandable message. Fun videos of your hotel are also strong content that can show a more interactive view of your property. Since word of mouth is strong on the internet, consider posting reviews of your hotel by guests. If potential guests see others raving about your property, it can draw more attention to your hotel. Hotels can also use blogs to tell stories about the hotel, give exciting updates, and inform guests about events and attractions in the area.
Your website is the digital front door to your hotel. If you can’t wow a guest online then they will assume that your hotel has nothing exciting to offer. Don’t be afraid to be persuasive by promoting specials and packages. Your content should be professional, informative, and entertaining. Do whatever it takes to get people excited about lodging in your hotel.