So from our last blog, you’ve been bashing out some great bits and pieces across your social media platforms. Now you want to lure that loyal social media following to your beautiful website and on to that all important booking page.
Your website is the ultimate marketing tool. Design your website to give off the vibe your hotel has a reputation for. Is your hotel a modern, monochrome haven for high flying business people? Are you a boutique town-house hotel that specialises in afternoon tea or brides to be? Maybe you’re a city centre property where your guests are rushing from tour to dinner to nightclub…
You should base your website design on the persona of your clientele. If you’re hotel is a castle in the country, use visuals on your website of the beautiful grounds, have a “Suggested Activities” page where you can put a wealth of information about the hiking, horse riding and fishing there is to avail of in the surrounding area. If you have more of a trendy, city vibe, let the website tell that story. Set the mood of your hotel for the website user so they know what kind of place they will be staying in. Put yourself in a guests shoes. Is all the information you could want to know about the hotel readily available to you? Or do you need to leave the hotels website to find out if there are restaurants or amenities nearby. If those important customers leave your website to find information elsewhere they may come across your competitors, we don’t want that!
Direct Information – In keeping with the theme of “direct information”, everything your guest needs to book their stay should be on your booking page. Don’t leave your guests wondering about your cancellation policies or having to click all over your website to find out your different rates and offers. Keep everything to do with booking on the same page. If your guest chooses a particular date, let them know what rooms, rates, packages, deals, offers,booking and cancellation policies, number of beds in the room, breakfast options, checkout times etc. are available to them. This makes everything easy for the user and they can weigh up their different options.
Simple, Short and Sweet – Keep your booking form itself short and sweet. If your guest makes an error in the form or forgets to fill in a field, make sure they are notified right away, not everyone is completely efficient when it comes to computers. Make sure you have all the vital information; name, number, address, email address. We don’t need to know their favourite flavour jelly bean just yet! You can follow up with a mailshot afterwards, asking where they heard about you, if their stay is for business or leisure, if they have any particular interests etc and use this as part of market research or how to tailor their stay. If your booking form is too long or intrusive your guests may get bored or wonder why you’re asking so many questions. Save it until after you’ve secured the booking, then maybe send a short survey or questionnaire.
Re-target your audience – If your hotel is on the techy side and you have Google Adwords campaigns running, you can take advantage of their remarketing tools. People who have visited your website, or have only half filled in your booking form will be re-targeted and see your ads again in a more concentrated way or with different wording, letting them know that you’re aware they had been browsing your site. A little creepy that you have all this information in some cases, but also good that you can lure those customers back in! You know they must have had some interest in your hotel, drag them back in and secure that booking!
Mobile Booking – As you may have read in a past blog post of ours, mobile technology has been game changing for hoteliers in the last few years. Make sure your booking form is mobile compatible. Your competition could win a booking over that reason alone. Your guests are forever on the go and may decide last minute that they need a hotel somewhere close to a business meeting. The girls could be out for Saturday morning coffee and decide then and there that they want to book a weekend away. They’ve all got their phones and tablets at the ready to book. But your booking engine isn’t mobile friendly (Ours is..Let us help!) and what a pity it would be to lose out on those sales.
These are just a few of the factors to consider. As seen in our Social Media blog you could also consider posting reviews and customers photos on your website and having that BOOK NOW! button on your Facebook.