How Guests Use The Internet to Plan Their Trip – Website Must Haves
Before any of your guests actually book your hotel, they dive into the Internet on a journey of exploration and research.
In this article, we look at how guests use the Internet to plan their trip and website must haves.
While your guests have yet to start their physical journey to your hotel, they begin their trip in earnest often months in advance with research. It can take them many days to actually click your “book now” button.
You can bet they’ve visited several other hotel websites, checked reviews, looked at your photos and compared prices.
They’re doing this on their phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
By the time your hotel guests are entering their credit card info on your website, they are confident they’re making the right choice because they’ve thoroughly reviewed your property.
So, to help you avoid abandoned cart syndrome and book more guests, let’s look at what you need on your website to encourage reservations.
One study shows that at least one-third of your customers will read reviews online before booking your hotel.
And, that number is increasing every day.
Your hotel customers depend on social proof. They want to know what others on the Internet think.
- Was the room clean?
- How was the air conditioner or heater?
- Was the hotel quiet?
- Did the hotel staff provide good service?
- Did your food taste okay?
- How was the value?
- Would the reviewer stay there again?
This means you want to include reviews on your website. You can even embed them on your site – think Yelp, Facebook and Google reviews.
By showcasing reviews on your own website, you ensure your guests won’t go looking elsewhere for them.
Reviews let visitors really see what others think of your hotel. If the reviews are mostly good, you’ll find you can increase your reservations with positive reviews. (tweet this)
If you do your best to make your hotel a great place to stay, then your reviews are probably generally positive.
But, what about the occasional negative review? The best thing you can do is to respond quickly, offering empathy and a solution.
Always manage negative reviews with kindness.
Use Easy to Find Calls to Action
Your goal is the reservation.
To that end, you want to make the “book now” button easy to find.
Make booking your hotel easy by placing your “book now” button in a visible location.
It should be visible on every one of your pages, and it should be big enough that mobile phone users can click on it without having to pinch and resize.
Finally, your booking system should be secure on your website so your customers feel confident using their credit cards.
Add Professional Photography
There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a hotel website to look at photos and finding them small and unprofessional.
Your guests want to know what your rooms look like. They want an in-depth view of where they’ll be sleeping, showering and relaxing.
Be sure to add great looking photos to your website. They should be clear, up-to-date, professional and detailed.
Give your customers a great idea of where they’ll be staying.
Get creative with your photography. Add photos of happy guests enjoying your hotel.
Use your photos to draw your customers in so they’ll be encouraged to stay at your property.
Your goal is to captivate your website visitors by giving them a real feeling of what it’s like at your hotel. Let your visuals create a story.
Your hotel shoppers want to see your visuals. They want to see videos, virtual tours and detailed photos. When providing them, consider these tips:
- Keep your photos organized.
- Make sure your galleries are quick to load.
- Test your visuals on computers and mobile devices.
- Offer zoom options so guests can look at the fine details.
- Include text descriptions.
Include Area Details
When researching properties, potential guests want to know where you are in relation to the things they want to do.
Keep your hotel website current with the following information:
- Hotel and city access – what landmarks are you close to
- Restaurants, shopping and attraction in the vicinity and details on how to get there
Make Your Site Responsive
Your hotel website must be mobile-friendly. In other words, it has to look good on computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. (tweet this)
If your site doesn’t resize properly depending on the visitor’s device, you must fix your site now.
With multiple screen sizes available to your website visitors, it’s imperative that you meet their needs by rendering properly on all of them.
If your guests can’t view the information they need on their phones, you can bet they’ll leave your site.
They might even view your lack of a modern website as an indication of what your property is like.
You want the user experience to be the same for all visitors no matter the size of their device. If the experience is bad, they’ll leave your site, and you lose the booking.
Make sure your site is seamless across device size.
Showcase Special Offers
Another website must have is the special offer.
You know your customers are looking for a good deal. So, give it to them.
Whether you offer AAA discounts, group rates or weekend specials, make them easy to find on your website.
You can even target different user groups. For example, target people about to abandon a booking with a small discount. Or, target mobile users with a special to encourage the reservation.
The competition for hotel customers in today’s digital age is fierce.
This is why focusing on your website is so important.
It’s not enough to just have a website. You need a hotel website that performs for you.
Meet your customers’ needs by providing professional photography, extra information about your rooms and reviews.
Then, go a step further and make sure the user experience on your property’s website is top notch, and that it meets your guests’ needs.
When guests arrive at your hotel, your goal is to provide them a memorable experience so they return again.
The same should be true about your website. Make the experience so fruitful and memorable that they’ll return to your website to book rooms the next time they are in your town.
Your potential guests want to see your customer reviews, and they should be front and center on your responsive, mobile-friendly website. At Hotel Propeller, we build beautiful websites. You’ll find everything you need to attract guests to your property through well-placed reviews on your website pages.
Take a look at our showcase and contact us today.
Images: William Iven and Grant Lemons
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