The prettiest hotel website in the world is next to useless if it doesn’t encourage people to book directly.
That’s a harsh lesson far too many hoteliers have been hit with. So, with that in mind, let’s consider a few blindingly-simple tweaks you can make to your website to make more people hit that ‘book now’ button.
1. An ever-present, obvious booking button
If you pretend to be a guest for a moment and visit your hotel website, how long does it take you to make a booking?
You have mere seconds to capture the attention of a potential guest when they visit your website, and if you hide the booking button pages deep, you’ll inevitably miss them.
Make sure your booking button is placed within the top-third of every single page and make it bright, obvious and tantalisingly clickable. Also, ensure its linked directly to your hospitality software so that rates and availability are always up-to-date.
2. Proper mobile compatibility
A lot of web designers will tell you these days that mobile design is about far more than the much hyped ‘responsive’ design revolution.
And they have a point. You shouldn’t expect your hotel’s website to work flawlessly on small screens just because the designer or template used the word ‘responsive’.
The best mobile-ready websites have had a great deal of time spent on the small screen experience. Nothing should be lost when people access your website on their phone and there shouldn’t be an ounce of frustration or difficulty in using it with your fingers.
3. Rate parity
It might be a dirty phrase in the hotel industry, but rate parity plays an important role in encouraging guests to book direct.
This stands to reason: if your prices are different on multiple websites, potential guests might lose faith in your offering.
Inspire confidence by offering the same rate on each website, albeit with something a little extra if they book direct – that should tempt them.
If your website address doesn’t display ‘HTTPS’ at the start of it, some browsers may make a big deal about the fact.
A HTTPS security certificate won’t break the bank, but it will, in an age where data security is high on the agenda, ensure people trust your website enough to book directly through it.
5. A brilliant user experience
There’s three things you need to do in order to create a brilliant user experience on your hotel website:
- make it as easy to book as possible (see tip 1);
- create a simple, clear menu that dispenses with fancy language; and
- put every piece of vitally important information within the upper third of each page (sometimes referred to as ‘above the fold’).
It all sounds pretty obvious when you put it like that, but you’d be surprised by how many hotel websites get it wrong.
Direct bookings are still hard to come by, but why would you make this process any more difficult by having a hard-to-use website?
The changes you need to make to yours might be minor, so take our tips above and see what you need to do.
CMS Hospitality holds over 30 years of experience in delivering hospitality software solutions. GuestCentrix offers the most complete solution in hospitality software, whether you’re running a hotel, a resort or a hostel. Our highly experienced support and installations team holds a unique understanding of the hospitality industry and will aim to provide software that suits your property’s needs.
Call us today at (+61) 2 9440 9711, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to guide you to the GuestCentrix solution that’s right for you.