A hotel makes its first impression long before a guest walks through the front door. In a competitive accommodations industry, travelers are browsing and comparing options online more than ever and across a variety of channels – Brand.com, metasearch, online travel agencies, and social media to name a few.
Hoteliers need to have a strong focus on how their property looks and operates onsite of course, but they must also consider their presence in the digital world to drive awareness and bookings. This makes the hotel website a critical tool to engage with potential guests and influence their decision on where to stay. Let’s dive in and examine how hoteliers can best use their website to get more heads in beds.
Increasing conversions and preventing customer abandonment
To achieve success, hotels must have a user-friendly booking journey that intuitively guides visitors to the desired end goal. Retail giants have perfected this, allowing consumers to complete online purchases with a few quick clicks. Hoteliers should be striving for this same kind of efficiency when looking to sell rooms or other ancillary services. An outdated, cumbersome or confusing booking process can lead to higher abandonment rates and with it a loss of revenue.
Other components of the web experience to consider are the use of mobile devices and language accessibility. According to recent data, 55% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, meaning a hotel’s website must be compatible with different sized screens to maximize opportunities. And with international travel returning post-pandemic, providing translations will attract a wider audience and increase guest satisfaction since customers will feel more comfortable navigating the website in their native language.
Modern central reservations systems designed around e-commerce best practices can deliver a 20% average increase in direct conversion rates, and an 18% average increase in mobile conversions. An efficient booking process ultimately minimizes hurdles for customers, keeps users engaged and reduces abandonment rates. If guests prematurely exit the booking flow, hoteliers can enhance their chances of recovery with strategies such as remarketing emails. By offering personalized recommendations or special offers in these messages, hoteliers have a good chance at re-engaging and converting these shoppers already familiar with their brand.
Embracing opportunities for upselling and personalization
When it comes to enhancing revenue streams for hotels, upselling is an effective approach. By offering enticing add-ons like chocolates and champagne, or ancillary services such as car hire or spa appointments to the booking, guests have more options to personalize their stay, which increases revenue for the hotel. Let’s run through some of the other avenues available for boosting profits.
For example, crafting bundled packages that combine unique services or amenities can tempt customers to opt for more comprehensive experiences, resulting in higher transaction values. Much like with remarketing, time-sensitive promotions are also a great way to create a sense of urgency, encouraging customers to seize opportunities for added benefits at discounted rates. Also, hoteliers can offer exclusive perks to guests who book direct, driving both revenue and customer loyalty. Finally, introducing upselling before and after the reservation allows hotels to offer relevant add-ons that align with evolving guest preferences.
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One of the key drivers of effective upselling lies in personalization. By integrating tailored options within the booking process, hoteliers can significantly elevate the guest experience. Opportunities like room upgrades or offering more bespoke amenities like video games or a yoga mat not only heighten guest satisfaction but also showcase the hotel’s versatility and commitment to fulfilling an individual’s wants and needs.
Delivering hotel experiences that more directly reflect guest preferences fosters loyalty as well as positive reviews. Both are invaluable to help boost a hotel’s online reputation and increase the likelihood that customers will return, anticipating another positive stay. It’s also important for hoteliers to understand which offers guests are booking the most. This information will help them adapt future promotions, yield insights into guest preferences and in turn enable more targeted marketing efforts.
The importance of integration
Having a central reservations system (CRS) integrated with the hotel’s website and larger technology stack is key to creating a dynamic and effective online presence. A seamless and fast e-commerce experience is now expected as the norm, so being able to provide that is a huge advantage for hotels. It avoids redirecting customers to third-party sites, boosting direct bookings and reducing the risk of user abandonment. These two things are big revenue drivers and cash savers (especially in terms of avoiding commission fees).
Direct bookings also help hotels collect more information to better understand and communicate with their guests. This is an important gateway for hotels to suggest personalized offers and cultivate brand loyalty. Another extremely valuable advantage of direct bookings is the ability to understand your guests more fully (e.g., centralizing guest profiles, preferences and reservation information), which aids analytics as well as marketing and revenue strategies.
Solutions for success
It’s clear that there are many ways for hoteliers to cater to today’s travelers. As guest expectations evolve, so too must hoteliers. The techniques we’ve discussed and technology behind them can propel hotels to become conversion-driving, revenue-generating powerhouses at the forefront of the industry. As travel returns, harnessing the power of an effective online offering presents endless possibilities for hotels.