Those days are left behind when a guest’s first impression of a hotel was when the guest entered the hotel and walked into the lobby. Now times have changed. Today, first impressions begin as soon as an individual visits the hotel’s website they’re interested in booking.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re operating as an independent hotel in a quiet country town or managing a chain of hotels in some of the most visited destinations worldwide. In either case, you’re going to need to know how to create a hotel website that captivates the attention of your potential market and encourages bookings.
Your hotel website design is an indispensable part of your online marketing strategy, and you need to contemplate each component as you create it
For modern-day customers, the desirability of a hotel largely depends on how much they trust the brand. And for that, hotel owners need to create a robust online presence that makes booking decisions more comfortable. If you want to redefine the standards of guest booking experience, here’s how you can create a fully-customized and user-friendly hotel website that’ll ensure you full occupancy round the year:
Steps for Building Your Hotel Website
Select an Attractive Template
A clean and striking website template can build a fabulous online presence for your hotel. You can promote your small B&B (Bed and Breakfast), motel, inn, guest house, or beachside resort with a sophisticated template having relevant features that can charm your potential guests and stand tall in these testing times.
Add Relevant Pages
Your hotel website must include the most significant and relevant pages to win more bookings and revenues, such as:
- Home Page – Make sure to include descriptive texts about your hotel on your home page. Try to add appropriate CTAs. Your home page should provide a swift experience for your guests to check room availability.
- About Us Page – Include a beautiful story about your hotel’s establishment and what makes it unique in this section.
- Reviews Page – Don’t forget to add reviews in this section and include awards/recognitions to establish transparency and trust.
- Contact Us Page – This section includes phone numbers, emails, social media accounts, contact forms, and even a live chat to help all visitors connect with you and strike up a conversation without delay.
Keep Images, Videos, and Maps in order.
After selecting your template, the next step is to incorporate unique images and videos on the website to engage users. However, here’s the catch. Although photos are great for capturing customers’ attention, too many pictures packed up on one page may slow down your website. So, place one image per web page, making an exception for your gallery. Similarly, videos, too, can increase page load time. Therefore, post them on YouTube and embed the social widget on your website for potential guests to view them.
Usually, guests want to get directions to your hotel straight from the website. So, use Google Maps API to help people find your hotel’s exact location and the nearby shops, restaurants, businesses, banks, ATMs, etc.
Keep Forms Short
Always remember that shorter web forms create less irritation among the users. According to a study, cutting down fields from four to three can ramp up conversions by 25%. In another study, around 44% of people do not spend over two minutes completing a web form. So, never incorporate long documents. Keep essential fields like name, email address, and phone number. It will help people fill out forms quickly and allow you to qualify visitors as prospective leads.
Your Booking Engine should be User-friendly.
Add a user-friendly booking engine and assist visitors in processing online reservations securely. Integrate payment gateways within your website to expedite direct booking that ultimately leads to enhanced hotel revenues. Ensure that the booking engine plugin you add is customizable, PCI-compliant, and can handle multiple bookings at a time, upsell services, and create specials to boost guest spend and extended stay.
Incentivize Your Website
If you successfully incentivize your hotel website and align it with what your guests are looking for, the rewards are entirely worth it. For instance, Hilton’s campaign, ‘Stop Clicking Around,’ saw a whopping 90% increase in signups after the hotel chain incentivized direct bookings. Studies also reveal that around 50% of travelers like a room upgrade as an incentive to direct bookings. So, if you offer discounted room rates, complimentary breakfasts, late checkouts, free parking, spa deals, etc., as direct booking incentives, you can easily encourage customers’ loyalty and drive conversions.
Ensure Mobile Compatibility
A media report shows that 83% of travelers use smartphones to search hotels and 67% use mobile devices to carry out online bookings. Also, as per Oracle, 77% of travelers opt for room service requests and other hotel facilities through their mobile devices. From these numbers, it is evident that you should optimize hotel websites for mobile phones to help gain potential leads. Your mobile-friendly site should serve the purpose of providing customers with essential information, offer fast load times, and help people make online bookings on-the-go.
Mark your Social Media presence
The presence of third-party solutions like social media icons (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) on your hotel website can help you reach out to your potential customers quickly and build your reputation. It’s essential to have the right social media presence to help your business grow by leaps and bounds. Provide a glimpse of your social media channels to your visitors by directly integrating live Facebook and Instagram feeds on your website and increase your brand value even more.
Regular Updation of your Site is necessary.
Slow websites are a bane for your hotel business. Moreover, if your hotel website takes more than three seconds to load, then you’ve already lost 53% of mobile users. Therefore, it’s time to give that outdated page layout a makeover. Review pages with low traffic, keep the content unique and fresh, and update your security patches and firewalls from time to time. It will not only improve your SEO ranks but also help you earn your customers’ trust.
Whether you want to start a new hotel website or are looking to revamp the existing one, consider the above points to turn your website visitors into guests in no time.
Considerations for Hotel Owners in 2021 and Beyond
This year COVID-19 has caused distress among people, causing multiple ripple effects in the hospitality pond. However, experts believe that there is a pent-up demand to take vacations, which will help the industry witness steady growth in the future.
Moreover, a study states that the hotel industry is likely to reach new heights with a market volume of USD 400 billion by 2025.
The numbers given below show the demand for responsive hotel apps. Let’s have a look at these:
- 74% of guests prefer using a responsive hotel app if their favorite hotel has one.
- 70% of users make last-minute hotel bookings on mobile devices.
It is worth launching a well-integrated hotel website to deliver a contactless experience that can help guests feel secure and convert.
It’s best to hire an advanced tech stack to create a website that helps you win bookings and propel you ahead of the competition.