Your hotel’s online presence is more important than ever—and this doesn’t just mean your website.
NB: This is an article from Hotelchamp
It also includes your eCommerce setup. However, many hotels don’t consider their websites and booking engines as eCommerce sites. It may seem futile to mention the definition of eCommerce, after all, it’s a term that is thrown around so often. eCommerce is defined as “The use of the Internet to buy and sell goods and services.” As many hotels have the option of making direct bookings that are booked and paid for on their site, this makes their website an eCommerce platform.
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Your website is often the first touchpoint that any interested guest would view to learn more about your hotel. Regardless of what, when or who your online visitors are, you must ensure that your website is constantly performing at its best and also consider what your ultimate goal is: to turn online browsers into active customers. By improving your eCommerce presence, you can move closer to this goal.
Here are 7 ways that your hotel can improve its eCommerce presence:
1. Use high-quality images and copy
This goes without saying. You need to have fantastic images and great writing on your hotel’s eCommerce site.
We live in a digital age and a lot of the content that we consume is through some form of visual platform. Whether a potential guest sees your images directly on your website’s gallery or on your social media platform (Instagram, Pinterest etc.) they need to be of high quality. Don’t confuse this with high-resolution as this will make them hard to load and will cause a longer loading time which will result in a lot of online users leaving your site as they will be too impatient to wait. Your website needs to load fast, even with high-quality images. Ensure that the images you use are up to date and accurately represent your hotel. If something has changed in your rooms in terms of layout or decor, you have to depict this in the most current images on your website.
Another tool to take advantage of is your copy. This is everything that is written on your hotel’s eCommerce site. It’s the best place to set yourself apart from your competition as you will be able to write in your hotel’s tone of voice. Be sure to use words that correctly reflect your brand image, that are inclusive and that have no grammatical errors.
2. Design for accessibility
Another thing that you have to think about when it comes to your website is its accessibility. There are 7.53 billion people in the world and 4.48 billion of them use the Internet. That means that 58% of the population has access to the internet. Of these, there are 1 billion people, around 22% of all online users, who have disabilities.
It’s important to make your website accessible to all online visitors. There are a number of ways you can make your website more accessible, including adding alt-text to your images, ensuring your website has an updated design that can easily be used by screenreaders and you can also use tools, like accessiBe to make your website accessible and compliant with certain regulations.
Another thing to ask yourself is if online visitors can access your website through different means. Is your website mobile and tablet friendly? It is important that your hotel’s eCommerce site is available across all kinds of technologies as you never know how someone is viewing your website or through which device.
3. Make your website easy to use
The easier it is for your online visitors to find the correct information they need, the more likely they will be to either email you with an enquiry or even make a direct booking through your website.
Make sure that you don’t clutter your website! You need to ensure that your website is as user-friendly as possible. Try not to include images or information that aren’t really unnecessary. A good tip that we can offer is to start with your home landing page. This is the first impression that an online user will have of your website. Ensuring that your website is simple will truly pave the way to booking via an easily understandable and navigable website and online booking process.
A good idea is to start by asking yourself these types of questions:
- Do I need all of these sections?
- Are we highlighting our hotel’s strong points? (i.e. a phenomenal Spa offering you have)
- Is the information accurate and honest?
- Are the images we have up to date?
- Are all the links to our socials working?
If you answered no to any of these points, don’t worry, all you need to do is sit with your tech team and make some updates and changes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing to step in and tweak some things, that’s a sign of strength in any hotel or business for that matter. Being able to analyse oneself, see room for improvement and then take the time to actually implement necessary changes will lead to a successful eCommerce site.