In this article, we recap the third presentation from our Digital Marketing Summit for Hoteliers, “Winning the Hotel Booking.” The Booking phase is perhaps the most important phase of the travel shopping journey for hotels, but a growing number of bookings are being made through OTA sites. In 2016, OTA bookings made up 41% of all hotel bookings in the US, 69% in Europe and 64% in Asia Pacific.
These are big numbers, and getting bigger every year. During our Summit, Joey Egan from Leonardo, and David Chestler from SiteMinder shared their insights on how to win back more direct bookings from the OTAs.
Best practices for a High Performing Website
Your hotel is likely represented in many different places online. Travel shoppers can find you via OTAs, GDS’s, organic search, review sites, and even social media. But your most important digital asset by far is your hotel website.
Many hoteliers spend a great deal of time, money and effort creating the perfect website, but while having a pretty website is nice, it should not be the goal. The goal for your hotel’s website should be to convert bookings. This is accomplished by having a great user experience; a website that is easy to use, answers travel shoppers’ questions and simplifies the booking process.
Joey provided 5 best practice tips for a high performing website:
#1. Give Travel Shoppers What They Want
Provide travel shoppers with the information they want to see. This is pretty straightforward but is often overlooked. Tailor your content to your target audience, and answer the 4 questions that all travel shoppers have.
- What makes your hotel different from other options?
- What do your rooms look like?
- What kind of deal can they get?
- What do other people think of your hotel?
#2. Use Visual Storytelling to Create an Emotional Connection
People are naturally drawn to visuals. We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and have better recall of images. Visuals also help create an emotional connection, and emotion has been proven to drive purchase intent.
Travel shoppers are not just looking for information on your website, but crave short bursts of snackable information like tweets or snaps, that convey who you are, and what you offer to guests.