The optimisation of your hotel website load time is the first vital step in your mission to secure direct bookings.
NB: This is an article from SiteMinder
Visitors to your page will be expecting a fast and seamless user experience. It doesn’t matter how amazing your website is too look at, if it takes too long to load no one will ever see it.
This is especially relevant on mobile devices, with 73% of users saying they’ve encountered a website they considered too slow to load. On the web, 47% expect a website to load within two seconds for them to be satisfied.
Not only will a slow load time frustrate travellers viewing your website but it will lower your search engine ranking, a crucial element of attracting direct bookings. If your site isn’t appearing on the first page of search results, the direct traffic you garner will be minimal.
There are many components of a website that can affect load time. Fortunately most of them can be solved by making specific alterations to the configuration of your website manually, or if you invest in a simple, intuitive website builder.
Here are 6 areas you can optimise to improve your hotel website load time:
If your website is running on a shared hosting service, this will be less flexible and slower because as your site grows in usage and content it won’t have the necessary resources available to maintain an optimum speed. Consider moving to Virtual Server Hosting (VPS) or dedicated sharing.
2. HTTP requests
Most sites encounter load time issues from HTTP requests, which occurs when the web browser retrieves a file from the server. You can eliminate these by cutting down on external scripts such as commenting systems, icon boxes, pop-ups etc.
The size of your images have a significant impact on the size, and ultimately speed, of your hotel website as a whole. The larger your images or other media files, the slower your site will be. Approximately 61% of site weight is attributed to images. While you definitely need beautiful, high-resolution images to show off your property, try to optimise them before you upload so the file size is as small as possible.
Caching is a process that stores static responses, significantly speeding up your website. When someone visits a page, the cached version will be served, unless a change has been made since the last time it was cached, meaning less requests have to be made to your server.
5. CSS and JS files
Plugins are features that can bring new and exciting functionality to your website but the more you have, the slower your website so be sure if you’re installing them that they’re adding value to your site. Be sure to audit them regularly for any that are out of date or not being used.
Given just a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% decrease in website conversions, hotel website load time should be a priority for hotels who want to maximise their direct bookings.