Travel shoppers visit your hotel’s website to learn about your property and get a feel for the holiday experience you offer. In today’s digital age, it’s the virtual ‘front door’ your guests use to take a look around your resort before they book. Your website is also your most profitable channel, which means taking time to maximise its selling potential should be at the heart of all your online marketing efforts.
So, what makes some hotel websites drive bookings more than others? As well as great design, it all comes down to appealing to your audience’s emotions and understanding the factors that make your guests click and share.
Here are 4 important components to consider.
Play to Your Guests’ Emotions Through Visual Storytelling
A single captivating image can trigger an emotional connection with your audience in a way that even the most carefully crafted text cannot.
When it comes to making a purchase discussion, we often let our emotions rule over any rational thought process, and this is particularly true in our industry, where the product for sale is an aspirational experience travel shoppers may spend all year looking forward to.
Let images tell your story for you by selecting high quality photography that captures the exciting or indulgent experiences travellers can expect to have – whether it’s diving into your outdoor pool sparkling in the early morning sunlight or experiencing the lights and excitement of the city by night.
Make Decision Making Easy
Despite what you may think, most of us don’t like to have a huge array of confusing options to choose from.
Your website should keep things simple and make the path to booking as straightforward as possible.
Even small touches, such as having default settings filled (2 adults per room, for your one bedroom apartments, for example) can have a positive impact on your booking rates – because there’s less work for the travel shopper to do.
Utilise Social Proof
Taking a look at the competition will help you evaluate key metrics and shape your own marketing strategies.
Of course, your guests will be comparing you too - to ensure they get the best value for their money. During this comparison process, it is social validation in the form of social media reviews that may tip the scales and persuade your guests to book.
Ensure you integrate plenty of social proof into your website with engaging user-generated content like photos, social media comments and guest reviews. No matter what you say about yourself through your branding and copywriting, it is what your guests say about you that matters most, and how you utilise their comments could mean the difference between you and your competition winning bookings.
Create a Sense of Urgency
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the marketer’s handbook, but it’s also one of the most effective. If you want your guests to book, and book right now, use time-sensitive special offers and discounts on your hotel’s website to create a sense of urgency. You can then remind guests of the impending expiration date of these offers and motivate them to action through compelling messaging via email and social media.
Do you use any of these tactics to drive bookings through your hotel’s website? Let us know in the comments below!