This is a Q&A with Petr Palas, CEO of Kentico
What are the most common mistakes hoteliers make when it comes to developing their website?
Given the competitive market hoteliers operate in today, hotels simply cannot afford to get it wrong with their websites. Too often, you will see a hotel build a new site that seems to be at odds with a potential guests’ needs. Features like auto-start videos can actually turn guests away – in particular when website visitors are business travellers looking at the hotel at work and the auto-start video begins to broadcast in an open space office. Hoteliers need to understand their guests and online visitors better as well as build a website that reflects the unique personality of their property.
A common mistake many hoteliers make today is not delivering a consistent experience across all channels. What if a visitor starts their digital journey on their mobile device during the commute to work, yet finishes it at home on their PC? They need to see the same content delivered in a manner fitting the device they are using. If not, they may leave your site, never to return.
What is likely to turn a visitor away online?
The short answer is falling short of expectations. Web content that is not dynamic, for example, is likely to turn website visitors away. Hoteliers have a great opportunity to show website visitors an exhilirating experience that puts them first. Everybody has a different idea of what a hotel should be. They could be a businessperson interested in the conferencing facilities or how to unwind after a demanding day of presentations. They could be a young family that wants to see a child-friendly atmosphere. They could be a couple looking for a romantic break. Hoteliers must make sure that they present the website in a way that it meets or exceeds those expectations.
What helps or facilitates the online hotel booking experience?
When trying to convert website visitors into paying guests, the focus should be on ensuring that content on the site flows in a ‘reader-first’ order, leading them (through the use of filters) to the content (room type or holiday package) that they are most interested in quickly and easily. It is also vital that hotels have a visually attractive web presence that actively seeks to recreate the look and feel of a physical stay at their property in the digital world. It is important that webpages feature a lot of bold, captivating images and ways in which hotel guests can get a sense of the true hotel experience before stepping foot in the lobby.