Small Steps to Improve Your Hotel Website User Experience
- Posted by Mandy Muszynski
- On November 7, 2017
Websites are an obviously critical part in the success of a hotel. It is the first place guests go to learn more about your amenities, view pictures of your rooms, evaluate your room rate, and so on. Your website is also the foundation Online Travel Agents (OTAs) use to build a listing across their sites. Shouldn’t your brand website and overall user experience be better than an OTAs?
Most marketers are aware that attention spans are shortening, pre-purchase research crosses more and more sites, and potential guests are most concerned with finding the best deal. What changes can you make today to impact a guest interaction with your site?
Review & Revise
Start reviewing your current website while thinking, searching, and experiencing from the guest’s perspective. Why are they coming to your site? What is most important to them? What makes your property better than the one up the street? Be sure you and your agency partners are asking these questions, because in the end this is the perspective you’ll need to sell that guest on staying with you for their business trip, vacation, wedding or weekend getaway. Your goal is to make it easy for each of those guests to walk that path with you, from consideration all the way to purchase. It seems simple, but you’d be surprised by how many hotels aren’t asking themselves these questions, or making this information available to potential guests.
Here’s how the team at Screen Pilot gathers the information necessary to optimize our client sites – always with their needs and wants top-of-mind:
1. Get to Know The Guest
From website analytics to information collected at check-in, hoteliers sit on tons of valuable data. Use this information to define the types of users coming to your website, and then compare that profile to the guests who are actually booking and staying. Do those personas match? Are there any relevant trends? For example, do you see more international traffic in the summer? Or do you see the local market spike in spring? Are your guests visiting as families or as singles?
These are the patterns you’ll need to identify so you can improve your website. You can use this new understanding of your guests to create a more personalized experience on your site by tailoring content to their unique needs.
2. Feature Authentic Experiences
We’re living in a digital world, which means guests can now share their experiences in real time–they want to show everyone at home what a great time they’re having. Use your website to show potential guests that they’ll have plenty of Instagram-worthy moments during their stay with you.
You can do this by sharing information on local hotspots alongside great visuals. IcePortal, a hospitality tech company that helps hoteliers distribute their visuals, cited a TripAdvisor study that found 79% of users are influenced by photos during their booking experience, while proximity to key attractions was a top influencer of 82% of those surveyed. Play to these trends by including crisp imagery of your hotel and the surrounding area–bonus points if those visuals came from previous guests.
3. Utilize Positive Guest Reviews
Reviews are the digital word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful forms of advertising out there. Living in the digital age and being on the go, guests will trust reviews and stars on the web just as much as they’d trust their mom’s friend’s friend who stayed at that hotel five years ago.
Feature reviews on your site so people don’t leave your site to get another opinion on you– your goal is to keep the users on your site so you can influence their perception of your property. Never lie, but do play up what previous guests have deemed your best features so potential visitors can visualize what they’ll see and how they’ll feel as soon as they step into your lobby. Looking for ways to implement reviews into your overall marketing strategy? Read up on how positive reputation management can assist in utilizing positive guest reviews here.
These are certainly not the proverbial “end-all-be-all” for improving your website; if anything this is just the tip of the iceberg. Use these pointers as a starting point for an audit on what you currently have on your website and decide what you can expand upon. Also, these are great topics to bring up with your agency partners. Just remember, get to know your guest and make it as easy as possible for them to book direct, because in the end – that is exactly what we want them to do.
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