1. Have a clear “Book Now” button
It might seem like we’re stating the obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many hotel websites fail to create a clear call-to-action. Whether it be font, colour, scale or screen position, these factors are all highly important for your “book now” button, which is crucial to making a website that converts.
Imagine your website from a customer’s perspective or better still, consider commissioning some user testing to have a fresh pair of eyes judge how to dress up your “Book Now” button. Ensure the button is large and visible and make the system short and sweet with as few clicks as possible from start ‘til finish to speed up the journey. The aim is to streamline the booking process so it’s easily navigable to keep your guest from getting lost or sidetracked by a competitor’s website.
2. Make it mobile friendly
Given how far we’ve come in the digital world, it would be crazy not to take advantage of tech tools like the mobile. Beyond your stand-alone website, really think about making your website mobile friendly to extend your reach. It is no doubt now the fastest growing segment of online booking. According to Ofcom, a regulator in the UK, Britain spends almost twice as long online on smartphones than on computers, making mobile the ideal device to market your hotel effectively.
The term mobile friendly does not only mean making a mobile version of your hotel website, but also making sure that it’s responsive. That’s a top tip from Daniel Wishnia from GCH Hotel Group, who I interviewed recently. Make sure your guests can book on mobile if they want to. Don’t try and make it exactly mirror your computer website as it will look cluttered – just stick with the main tabs and “Book Now” button. Simplicity is key.
3. Use optimisation tools
As the name suggests, optimisation software has a really positive impact on hotels’ revenue. For example, a price comparison tool like our Price Check widget can be seriously helpful in regard to direct bookings. A simple comparison of the hotel’s official rates with that of its respective OTA prices gives visitors the confidence they need to book direct.
Something that has been long established in the retail world is ‘abandonment messaging’. A simple message that appears based on a user’s behaviour on site. Our Enchantment messaging is exactly that, but it made specifically for hotels. It detects when someone is about to leave a site and delivers a message with the right information at the right time to encourage a direct booking. And it works.
4. Plug it into metasearch engines
It goes without saying that metasearch engines play a pivotal role in driving traffic to your hotel website. These galactic online spaces are the first portal consumers come to when searching for hotels, so take it really does pay to take full advantage of them.
There are so many distribution channels out there so it’s worth doing your researching and working out which ones will work best for you and your target guest.
5. Think about retargeting
Retargeting is one of the newest strategies that can help substantially boost your bookings. Research tells us that over 70% of travel web surfers will abandon their bookings before checking out so this is a way of recovering them. A type of online advertising, the process of retargeting is broadcasting your brand to people after they have left your site.
A little cookie is dropped and locked onto a user. The next time they surf the web, they’ll be presented with helpful ads about your hotel. The trick here is to deliver the right message at the right time – by working out where they are in the funnel and delivering the right information.
We’ll be talking about these tips and many more at our Direct Booking Summit in London on June 30th.