When it comes to hotel marketing, your website is the most important distribution channel you’ll ever have. Your hotel website isn’t just where potential guests can browse information about your business, it’s also where customers can make direct bookings and ensure you aren’t having to fork out for commissions usually associated with third-party agencies. It might seem taxing at first glance, but just a few little changes can yield massive results.
1. Don’t neglect the SEO basics
When your hotel website is buried on the second page or worse of search engines like Google or Bing, you can‘t expect many potential customers visiting your hotel website. So it is important that your hotel website pops up, when customers are looking for a hotel in your area. There’s plenty of specific avenues to pursue depending on the exact nature of your hotel, but a few stalwart SEO (search Engine Optimisation) strategies that need to be considered. Make sure your hotel website is packed with rich content, with relevant search terms incorporated naturally to yield maximum click when potential customers search through google. Don’t just pack your site with hotel specific terms either, make sure you’re considering regional terms as well. For more detailed information how you can improve search engine ranking for your hotel website, also have a look at “5 SEO Tips for Hotels to Improve your Ranking in Google”.
2. Hit high notes with website design and user experience
A poorly designed website can turn potential customers away at first glance, rendering your hotel marketing efforts useless. Make sure your website has been designed with user-friendliness in mind. Quick navigation, simple menus and attractive themes can make all the difference when it comes to keeping the attentions of users. You’ll also want to make sure your hotel website has been created with your target market in mind. Catering to everyday tourists? Be sure to sell the region and all of its offerings, in addition to the perks of the hotel itself. Catering more to the business traveller? A pared-back site design and useful links and info can help ensure a speedy booking.
3. Make sure your website is responsive
Many users depend on their mobile or tablet for surfing nowadays. Bear in mind that potential guests will likely be browsing via their mobile device when looking for potential hotels, so make sure a responsive website is at the heart of your hotel marketing efforts. If you’re outsourcing your website creation to a third-party, be sure to request a mock-up of the mobile version of your site to ensure it’s a user-friendly one and in keeping with what the main desktop version offers. You’ll also want to make sure your booking engine is responsive, otherwise you risk customers turning away before they confirm a booking.
4. Go for the hard sell with your unique selling points
This one’s incredibly important if you’ve a lot of local competition. No matter how modest your hotel accommodation, always try and load up your website by promoting your USPs. If your facilities themselves are simple, talk about the superior service you offer or your proximity to desirable tourist hotspots and travel destinations. Do you offer airport or train station transfers? Make a point to flag up this fantastic extra services to appeal to the business traveller or tourist on a budget.
5. Choose a user-friendly booking engine
It’s incredibly frustrating when a hotel website has a sub-par booking engine. Users might love the look of your premises and the facilities you offer, but if it takes a long stretch of time to navigate through a simple booking, they’ll turn away fast. You’ll want to ensure an easy time of booking rooms, with all rooms and suites available for booking, rates made clear and extras easily added. Try and go for a booking engine that requires as few clicks as possible to confirm, ensuring a better user experience and less time spent meandering through useless information.
6. Your hotel off with quality content
There’s no point in rolling out all the stops with your hotel marketing strategy if your site itself isn’t packed with rich and relevant content. No matter how big or small your premises, make sure it’s presented in all its glory with quality photos, video (or even better with a 360 video) and highly descriptive content. It’s not just rooms that need a first-rate write-up either. Don’t forget about the facilities you’re offering in addition to your basic accommodation either. Catering to corporate entities? Make a point of mentioning your connectivity and business centre. Looking to showcase your hotel as an ideal destination for tourists? Include a things to do section and what’s on area on your website to provide recreational travellers with some inspiration.
7. Built trust and reputation by showcasing reviews
It doesn’t matter how first-rate your hotel marketing tactics are, nobody wants to book with a hotel with a bad reputation. Managing your reputation is crucial in ensuring repeated custom and the acquisition of new customers and there’s no easier way of doing this than via online reviews. Many hotels depend solely on third-party agencies to host reviews for them, but these can be difficult to respond to and monitor. Incorporating a review section into your main site gives potential guests instant insights into what previous customers have to say about your business. It’s also easier for you to study feedback and respond to any neutral or negative comments with ease.
8. Don’t neglect the importance of analytics
Even if your website looks the part, it’s crucial that you keep a keen eye on how customers are using it. Make sure you’re constantly monitoring how people are navigating through your website and ensure you’re drawing the right conclusions from their behaviour. If you’re not getting the number of bookings you want, your hotel website may be proving too taxing to click through or there might be simple site errors preventing your potential customers from arriving at the final step in the booking process. Once you identify weak links in your overall sitemap, you’ll be able to make those essential remedies, whether it’s enriching your content to make your hotel website more enticing, or fixing errors to ensure a smoother ride from homepage to hotel room booking confirmation.
Once you’ve identified what’s holding your hotel website back, it’s incredibly simple to sharpen up your site and ensure that those hotel marketing efforts result in plenty of bookings. Whether you’re going live with your inaugural website, or adjusting an existing one, a little work goes a long way.