The ultimate aim of every hotel’s online marketing campaign should be to drive direct bookings made through their property website. True, the OTAs have a pretty strong grip on travel consumers, but that doesn’t mean you should lie down and accept their dominance.
As your lowest cost booking platform, your property’s website can and should drive more bookings than any other marketing channel. To do this, it needs to be designed to engage, inform and convert at every level.
Wow Your Guests With Stunning Visuals
Study after study have shown the importance of visuals when it comes to influencing a consumer’s purchase decision online. Considering you only have a few critical seconds to make a positive first impression when guests land on your website, it’s essential to bring crisp, high quality imagery to the forefront to show off your hotel and meet the marketing expectations of the modern consumer.
Chosen wisely, the right images of your hotel and surrounding area will get guests planning their breaks and itching to book. Organise professional, high definition photography into easy to navigate galleries throughout your website so travellers can get a feel for what it’s like to stay with you. Don’t forget to show off whatever it is that makes your property unique – whether it’s your beautiful gardens, your proximity to the beach or the award winning food in your onsite restaurant.
Step Into Your Guests’ Shoes
As marketers, it’s all too easy to get swept up in our own way of thinking and forget to view our efforts from the perspective of the people we’re actually trying to reach.
Navigate through your hotel’s website as if you were one of your ‘ideal guests’. Does it speak to your specific wants and needs as a traveller? For example, if one of your target guest groups is adventurous people who want to enjoy all the great outdoor activities available in the local area or families with young children, your website imagery and text should clearly set out how you provide what they want. Imagine the questions each guest group are likely to ask before making a booking decision. Design your site to provide them with this information quickly and efficiently and they are less likely to go elsewhere looking for answers.
Streamline the Booking Process
This one may be obvious, but it’s worth a reminder. Guests should be able to view availability and book a room from each page of your website. Simplify the reservation process by removing as many obstacles on the path to purchase as possible, then run tests to ensure your reservations system operates smoothly across devices.
Keep it Concise
Nothing is more off-putting than a big wall of text on your homepage. Cut to the chase and hit home with a brief, punchy paragraph or two punctured with adjectives that capture people’s attention and provoke an emotional response. Try, if you can, to avoid the same tired phrases that might appear on your competitors’ websites. If you can replace redundant clichés with vibrant language that’s likely to resonate with your target audience, you’ll stand out from the crowd and drive engagement and bookings.
How do you drive direct bookings made through your hotel’s website? Let us know in the comments below!