When hoteliers think about providing an excellent experience for hotel guests, their mind immediately directs to the guest experience at the actual hotel. This includes guest interactions with the various members of the hotel staff as well as guest satisfaction with the property in general. It may seem like the guest experience begins during check-in at the front desk. What many hoteliers do not realize, however, is that the hotel experience actually begins before the guest even steps foot on the property. In fact, it begins during the online research process.
When planning a trip, the first place a traveler will go to conduct research is the internet. This means the way your hotel is presented online is the first impression a prospective guest will have of your hotel. This is why it is important to have an attractive website with engaging content that provides guests with the information they are searching for. Hoteliers must also keep in mind that guests will attempt to obtain information about a hotel on a variety of devices including smartphones, tablets, and desktops- whether the website is optimized or not. According to Rob Torres, head of Google’s travel industry, guests are “device agnostic,” meaning they will easily switch between devices and expect a seamless experience. If a guest chooses to view your website on a smartphone and your site is not optimized for mobile, you risk the chance of having the guest pass on your property- especially if the guest is not able to book a room right then and there. To sum it up, your hotel’s website must be both visually appealing and perform equally well on all devices.
Creating an attractive website with engaging content is essential, however, hoteliers must be careful not to misrepresent their hotel. Since your website (regardless of the device it is seen on) is the first impression guests will have of your hotel, it is important to paint an accurate picture in the guest’s mind. The key is to present your hotel in a true light while adding a professional touch. When guests feel the hotel was misrepresented based on its website, the guest experience can be negatively affected. Always use engaging content that properly describes the rooms and property.