The secret of direct bookings? Consider hotel website conversion rates

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As the journey of travel planning continues to grow more complex, hoteliers need to look for more effective ways to engage and retain their best potential customers.

Today’s typical online travel consumer is exposed to over 38,983 micro-moments over a 60-day period, where they visit an average of 18 websites through multiple devices in eight sessions before making a travel reservation. hotel.

Hotels don’t just compete with OTAs, their competitors, and Airbnb; they also compete with every tiny moment that distracts the trip planner, such as emails, texts, videos, and social media feeds. There is serious competition for the attention of travel consumers, which makes it all the more important to engage and convert them when they visit the establishment’s website.

A key imperative for hoteliers in 2018 is to prevent these travel planners from being distracted by digital noise and to deliver content at the right time to convert them into bookings.

Why is it important to improve website conversion rates?

A hotel’s average website conversion rate (bookings divided by unique monthly visitors) is typically less than 2%. For example, 100 people visit your hotel website. Of those people, fewer than two will make a reservation, and more than 98 will look around before they leave to make a reservation elsewhere – either with your competition or with OTAs.

Hoteliers spend precious dollars on SEO advertising, paid search, online media, public relations and social media in order to bring users to the hotel website. However, 98% of them do not convert.

Imagine the monetary benefit of improving a property’s conversion rate with an average daily rate of $ 200, a website with 25,000 unique monthly visitors, and a conversion rate of 1.5%. If the conversion rate increases by 25%, that will translate to additional website revenue of $ 450,000 per year. A 33% increase will bring an additional $ 600,000 per year.

What are the main factors affecting conversion rates of hotel websites?

  • Market parity: How do property prices compare to the destination compset? Are your prices comparable to those of your competitors? In order to increase hotel website revenue, hoteliers should ensure that their rates are competitive with the overall price tag, as well as properties that review sites such as TripAdvisor are listed as “establishments”. similar ”.
  • Tariff parity: Are property prices equal on all distribution channels, including OTAs? As mentioned, today’s traveler is shopping like crazy and will find a lower rate for the hotel if it exists. Does the hotel website offer a Best Rate Guarantee visible across the entire site and booking engine? Is there a Book with Confidence message to reinforce the rate guarantee and point-of-sale security messages on the booking screens?

    Maintaining strict rate parity will not only help re-train the traveler to check the hotel’s website for the best rates, but it will also ensure maximum profitability for the hotel’s bottom line.

  • Quality of the site and user experience: It’s astounding how hoteliers often fail to understand the critical role the hotel website and its UX play in the overall health of the property and its bottom line. With over 50% of website visitors now viewing on mobile devices, a fully responsive website design for mobile is a must.

    How old is the hotel site? If it is over two years old, it is due to an overhaul. Websites that are more than two years old often have not implemented the latest best practices in technology, design and user experience, such as mobile design, abandonment apps, booking apps, merchandising, Google AMP, Schema.org, technical SEO, etc. An outdated website leads to a drop in conversions.

    • Case Study: Luxury Island Resort Boosts Revenue With New Responsive Website: With its old website, only 4% of total room revenue came from its online channel. Despite the beauty and luxury of the hotel, the property was losing money every year because of its website. In order to increase online revenue and conversion rates, the entire website has been revamped with new copies and images, all controlled by an advanced CMS. After a month, the website paid for itself with year-over-year revenue increasing 203%. Its total return on investment was 2.168%.
  • Website download speeds: Website download speeds on various devices inevitably affect conversion rates on hotel website. Fast download speeds dramatically improve the user experience and increase the user’s desire to transact on the site.

    According to Google, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load. A mobile-first responsive website with cloud hosting and CDN (content delivery network) offers much better server response times and faster download speeds in all geographies.

  • Quality of the booking engine: This is another key feature that some hoteliers underestimate, which can hurt their website revenue. A weak booking engine with slow download speeds and a lack of good product presentation and user experience hurts conversions and revenue.
  • The site’s merchandising platform: Does the hotel’s website CMS technology allow the property to sell rooms and generate leads on every page of the website through a full ecosystem of modules, features and capabilities? Does the technology offer special banners and live rates that dynamically change each time they are updated in your CRS? Does the technology allow the hotel to “sell on value” rather than “sell on price” and maximize revenue on the hotel’s website?

    Specials can be a quick and easy way to convert visitors into customers, while also earning more direct bookings on the hotel’s website.

    Max Starkov

  • Tempting promotions: How attractive are the property’s specials, packages and promotions? Are the promotions unique, seasonal and outperform the competition? Whether it’s a discounted room rate or a special partnership that gives guests an experiential activity outside of the hotel, special offers can be a quick and easy way to convert visitors into bookings, while capturing more direct bookings on the hotel’s website.
  • Reservation Abandonment Technology: Acquiring a new visitor to a website costs 10 times more than keeping an existing visitor. As mentioned, typically less than two in 100 visitors to the hotel’s website make a reservation. Does your website offer reservation abandonment technology to win back users who start the reservation process but do not complete it? Your website should be the final point of contact to convert the visitor into a hotel guest.
    • Case Study: Central California Hotel Increases Conversion Rates by 25% Using Reservation Abandonment Tools: With a collection of four hotels, this resort needed to increase its website conversion rate and bring website users back to the booking engine. After setting up booking abandonment emails and bright booking abandonment screens, the resort saw its year-over-year conversion rate increase by 25.9% and a return on 3,520% investment.
  • Dynamic customization: In today’s digital landscape, consumers demand personalization. The hotel website typically has eight seconds to capture a visitor’s attention. One in five visitors will deviate within 10 seconds of entering the website.

    Does the hotel website offer personalized promotional, textual and visual content, dynamically adapted to each visitor? Does it enable real-time behavioral and data tracking to serve dynamic personalized content based on geographic location, demographic information, loyalty status, tracking, and booking behavior?

    • Case Study: New York Boutique Hotel Increased Conversion Rate by 55% Using Smart Personalization: As more and more consumers expect a personalized experience, this New York hotel was looking for a strategy that would improve the user experience on their website while increasing conversion rates.

      With messages targeted to visitors based on their location and behavior, the hotel was able to see a 55% year-over-year increase in website conversion rate and a 44% increase in income after only three months.

  • Guest recognition / reward program: Travel consumers demand online experiences that make them special. Your website should recognize who they are and reward them for being loyal customers. You don’t have to be a big hotel brand to recognize and reward your frequent customers or members of an award program. Seventy-nine percent of bookings on hotel websites are made by travelers who are part of a hotel loyalty program or guest recognition program, that is, travelers with status. loyalty.

    Does your business’s website offer customer recognition, instant rewards, or a membership program? Does it offer closed rates reserved for members?

Conclusion

Developing a strong website conversion strategy is expected to become a top priority for hoteliers in 2018. This is a critical step in improving direct bookings and lowering distribution costs.

Any investment in website conversions will not only pay off, but also generously reward the hotel by improving its results. Start by evaluating your website’s current conversion rates, the quality of your website’s technology, and the overall design.


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