If you’ve had any experience in the website industry, there is no doubt you have had many conversations regarding conversion rate and conversion rate optimization on websites.
NB: This is an article from Travelboom
In the hotel industry, we typically look at conversion rate of either visits or unique visitors into bookings. We’ll get into the difference in those two metrics in a little bit, but right now, I’d like to bring into light the various parts of the hotel funnel, as there are so many places potential customers can fall out. Additionally, each part of the funnel conveys a different hurdle in the booking process, not to mention the fact that different types of traffic enter the funnel at different points. Let’s take a look, shall we?
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Below you can see what a typical hotel website funnel might look like.
Visits > Room Search
Let’s start at the top of this process. Our very first goal is to get visitors from the front end of the site into the booking engine by searching for a room. This part of the funnel is wholly dependent on how well the assets of your hotel are presented to the consumer, as well as the usability of the site.
- Does the site load quickly?
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Is the navigation easy to understand and use?
- Is there a search widget with a clear call to action on all pages?
- Do you have great photography and videos?
- Do you showcase nearby places of interest?
- Do you have clear descriptions of room types?
- Do you highlight your amenities?
- If you are a vacation destination, do you present information about the proximity to the beach, lake, mountains, etc.?
Room Search > Room Selection
At this point of the process, we now have three issues in play: room pricing, availability, and ease of use of the booking engine to further the journey down the funnel.
If visitors have searched for a room and see that prices are out of their budget, this is an obvious abandonment point. It’s certainly possible that this visitor just may not be a good fit for this hotel. If you are interested in closing that gap a bit, and are open to being more aggressive about giving discounts to consumers, you could send an abandonment email offering a discount to these visitors, if you’ve captured an email during the course of the visit. Re-targeting via social media or other display advertising is another way to get consumers back into the buying cycle.
In the case of no availability, visitors have a few options. They could search for a different date, if their dates are flexible. They could search for another room type. Lastly, and what we are trying to avoid, they could just leave the site. This is where the functionality of the booking engine can really help or hinder you.
Ideally, if the room type that was searched isn’t available, but another room type is, the booking engine should serve the alternative inventory with a message to the consumer stating, “Sorry your preferred room type is not available, however, the following rooms are.” This alleviates forcing the consumer to search again, in hopes of finding any room. It puts the visitor one step closer to being able to make a decision about his/her stay, and one step further from leaving the site.
Along those lines, if there truly is no availability for any room, you could offer nearby dates where there is occupancy, in hopes that the consumer can be flexible on the dates. This is never an ideal situation since many people have set travel schedules, but it is better than simply stating, “Sorry, we have no rooms at this time.”