Gone are the days when a guest’s hotel experience began with the doorman welcoming them into the lobby. With the average guest spending time on at least 38 sites prior to actually booking a holiday, today’s customers are almost spending longer on the planning process than they do on the actual trip.
In today’s world of increasingly blurred lines between the human and the digital, it’s not enough to only put your energy into crafting a great experience for the guest in your hotel. You need to be catering to the thousands of potential guests that visit your site every day – and that means taking your carefully-crafted hospitality online.
Booking a holiday: why so stressful?
According to Sojern, 89% of travellers report feeling stressed out by the amount of time and effort required to plan a trip. That’s a lot of people under a lot of stress. Vacations, for most people, are about relaxing – but stress and frustration has become almost a universal prerequisite for that relaxation. Something’s going wrong somewhere.
So what are the major causes of stress? Well, for one, there’s just the sheer volume of information out there to sift through. Though we know the vast majority of travel comparison sites are owned by everybody’s favourite pair of OTAs, consumers rarely do – which leaves them sifting through a thousand and one sites to make sure they’re finding the best price. If only a hotel could speak directly to guests, reassuring them that the direct price is best and demonstrating their humanity and focus on good service…
A hotel stay is an inherently intimate experience – but the process of booking one is anything but. For something that’s supposedly about comfort, there’s something decidedly discomfiting about the way hotel rooms are sold. You wouldn’t bark panic-inducing statements like ‘Only one left!’ and ‘103 other people looking right now!’ at someone in a clothing or grocery store – so why on earth should you do it on your website?
3 steps to guest satisfaction
So, maybe it’s time to get personal. Your website is the first proper engagement your guest has with you, so it should be as welcoming as the finest doorman. There are three key things that you need to check before you can truly claim your website to be fully guest-friendly: