A good hotel website needs to do more than just provide information, it needs to drive bookings so that you’re able to rely less on OTAs.
NB: This is an article from Arise
In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to create a hotel website that drives direct bookings based on our many years of experience designing and developing optimised websites for hotels across the world.
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Your site needs to be fast – people don’t like to wait. 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load, so it’s vital your site loads before your potential guests go elsewhere.
There are a few ways to go about this depending on your site’s platform. We’d recommend checking out Google’s PageSpeed Insights – a great place to check for suggestions.
There are often plenty of quick wins, but you’ll likely need a developer to fix some of them.
Your site needs to be user-friendly – obvious, right? However, this goes far beyond just ensuring all of your links are working and you’ve got no typos, there’s much more to it.
Visitors need to be able to find the information they need quickly and easily and then once they’ve found it, they need to be provided with a next step.
This means a well-laid-out navigation with a route into your booking engine. We’d also recommend making this sticky, so users always have quick access to booking no matter where they are on a page.
Use breadcrumbs to allow users to see where they are on the site and to easily access parent pages if necessary.
Include a search bar to allow visitors to search for specific information on your site – even if you think it’s obvious to find!
Call to actions
A visitor should always have a next step. You need to tell visitors what you want them to do, whether it’s booking a room, signing up for a newsletter or submitting an enquiry, this action should always be visible.
In a study, it has been revealed that clear call to action can increase website revenue by a staggering 83%!
It’s worth testing variations and seeing which resonates best with your target audience. Change the colours, reword the text slightly etc.
Book Direct Proposition
People need reassurance, especially when you’re trying to convince them away from well-known OTAs and the security that comes with them.
That’s why you need to tell visitors exactly why they should book with you and not the OTAs.
Book direct discounts often work well here (72% of travellers say that getting the best price is the most important factor when choosing a hotel), or perhaps you offer a free spa treatment if booking directly. Whatever you’re offering, shout about it!
We’ve seen this showcased in several ways, perhaps an exit intent popup (Pop-ups boost conversation rates up to 8%), a floating banner or a sidebar. Whichever you choose, ensure it’s obvious.
Images are important! In a recent study, content with relevant photos saw a 94% increase in page views versus content without images. Not only that, but it’ll keep your users around for longer.
Never forget that an image is worth a thousand words! And it’s so true in web design, especially for hotel websites.
You could write paragraph after paragraph of text describing your hotel, its rooms, its facilities, the restaurant and everything in between. Or, you could show your potential guests what it looks like with images and videos.
Good imagery is vital for hotels, it is going to help your website visitors imagine what it’s like to be there.
So you’ve done the hard part and got people into the booking engine, now you need to keep them there!
Although you may not have direct access to edit your booking engine, you can often make small tweaks that can make a huge difference.
Ensure you’re using all possible and relevant features on offer, including book direct messaging, add-ons, room rates and discounts to keep people flowing through the booking journey and discouraging drop-offs.
We’ve found in the past that booking engine providers can be quite receptive to feedback, so if you want a new feature, or to change something, reach out to them!
So to summarise, here are a few tips to increase your direct bookings:
- Make sure you’re site’s fast.
- Have a simple, clear navigation.
- Ensure visitors always have a ‘next step’.
- Visually showcase your hotel and it’s USPs.
- Ensure the booking engine is optimised.
- Tell users why they should book direct.