The best sources of direct bookings are the hotel website and the hotel’s business card. People who visit the website are interested in accommodation in a given town and want to check what the facility has to offer. However, it should not be forgotten that the hospitality industry is competitive and not only accommodation facilities fight for the attention of the guest but also booking portals. That is why a well-optimised website increases the conversion rate of website visitors into paying Guests.
What should you avoid in order to become an expert in higher conversion rates?
Slow loading of the page
It is widely accepted that a visitor needs 3 seconds to decide whether they want to stay on the website or move to a competitor. If the website takes too long to load then the visitor may decide to leave it.
The website should attract attention. A visitor entering the website should feel the atmosphere of the place and see that its appearance is consistent with the character of the establishment and feel that they are in the right place. If the website will be unattractive, it will send a message that the facility is also unattractive and people will drop the idea of making a booking there.
Even if the website is visually attractive, it may not be readable. When creating a website design, special attention should be paid to the prepared menu, so that the navigation is intuitive and does not confuse the user. This means that the number of elements in the menu should not be exaggerated and the description of section titles should be easy to understand.
Confusing reservation button
The website should have the possibility of being able to make a reservation directly on the website. A potential Guest must know that by clicking on the appropriate button that they will be able to book a room. They do not want the button to take them to another website such as a search engine or a booking portal! Everything must be clear and easy to understand.
Poorly prepared offering of the page
The offer on the website should contain all the information about the facility, rooms, amenities, location and prices. Do not forget to indicate the number of rooms. Remember also to include information about such things as a restaurant and if free WiFi is available.
Too much information
In the previous point it was stated that the offer should contain all the information about the facility. However, this statement applies to the most important information. The descriptive text should not be overly long. It is worth using icons to carry the message in an easy visual way which is quick to understand. If a Guest sees a room description that is too long then they may be discouraged from reading it and lose interest in the offer.
No visible benefits of direct booking
The hotel facilities are normally interested in direct bookings because of the large savings in OTA commission costs. In order to attract Guests, the offers on the website should therefore stand out from those of the booking portals. The details of the offer should be visible so that the Guest can compare them and to easily decide to make a direct booking on the hotel website.
Lack of easy reservation
One of the most important elements on the accommodation facility’s website is the direct booking option. The Guest should be able to book quickly and easily on the website. Often there are different ways to make a booking on the website:
- booking engine, which allows a booking to be made in 3 steps (search for an offer – room selection – booking),
- contact form – some people prefer to write a message rather than click on the available offers because they are afraid they will make a mistake which results in an incorrect booking. The contact form allows them to write a message. They will then expect a reply from a person at the facility who will help them with the reservation,
- easy to find phone number and e-mail address.
Poor quality pictures and missing pictures
Photos are an extremely important element in the presentation of the hotel’s offer. It is very common for photos to be the deciding factor in making a reservation. Photographs of all rooms and amenities such as a restaurant should be in the photo gallery. The photos on the website should be attractive, clear and encourage the sales message. Poor quality photos tend to discourage potential Guests.
No additional language versions and poor translations
The hotel industry is not only focused on attracting domestic guests. Many places are visited by international tourists, therefore the facility’s website should include multiple language options. Moreover, they should be properly implemented and translated. If the translation is poor, a potential foreign visitor may feel alienated because they are not sure whether they will be able to communicate with staff on site. It also creates a poor impression of the hotel who can’t be bothered to check the accuracy of the translation.
No reviews from other guests
The hotel facility becomes credible and builds trust when website visitors have the option of reading reviews from other Guests. Lack of such a section may cause the visitor to switch to the booking portal in order to read opinions about the facility. This may consequently lead to a booking to be made on the portal which results in an OTA cost and a negative impact on the bottom line of the Profit & Loss account.
No new website updates
The updating of information on the website should not be forgotten. Even if the website looks attractive and no new information appears on it, the user may find that the website is no longer active, or no one cares about it and will not check whether a booking request on the website has been made.
No information on the security features of the website
Many people now use the Internet and are increasingly aware of the security issues and dangers. Every Webpage through which personal data flows should be properly secured. Additionally, information about secure payments should appear if a direct booking with payment can be made. Lack of a secure payment method may cause people to feel that the website is not safe and they will resign from the booking.
Lack or poor indication of the location of the facility on the website
The Webpage should also contain a map with the facility marked on it. A good solution is to include a Google map, because then you can advertise the object through the Google Business Card in the search engine. Guests often browse the website of the facility and want to look at its location. Lack of this function may cause a lower conversion rate of visitors into paying Guests.
Poor performance at different screen resolutions
The website should be able to cope with different screen resolutions. Nowadays, many different monitors are being used. A good website presents itself in an attractive and technically correct way.
For a website to be profitable, then it is necessary to look at both its technical and visual aspects. If everything works and attracts attention, then you can count on increased interest in your offer. Nowadays, people are able to browse the Internet in many ways, so you should check how the website works on various mobile devices and computers.