For hotels, websites and social media channels are key sales and marketing tools.
Hotels are lucky in being able to capture plenty of beautiful images, generate great aspirational lifestyle content and engage directly with potential guests online.
There’s no excuse for a hotel not to have a brilliant, stylish and user-friendly website.
However, many hotels are still getting the basics wrong, with uninspiring and over-complicated websites.
To help address this, we thought we’d offer some basic tips that all hotels should ensure they are following online:
A picture is worth a thousand words
All websites and social channels should be image-led with text kept to a minimum. Invest in getting really beautiful photos, which show your hotel in the best possible light. Remember that for potential guests, these pictures are the only proper insight they’ll get into your hotel, ahead of booking. So, get great photos, and let the images do the talking.
Ensure all your social channels are clearly linked to your website
As consumer facing businesses, hotels should capitalise on the power of social media to reach past and potential future guests with inspiring content and build a loyal following. But it is vital that the social channels clearly link to the website, and visa versa. Many hotels have Twitter or Facebook and more but fail to display the icons on their homepage. Ensure all elements of your online presence are seamlessly integrated to get the most out of all of them.
Less is more
Don’t overwhelm people with too much choice or mixed messages. Websites lose a huge proportion of customers with every click through or page loading delay – research has shown that even a two-second delay can result in conversions falling by 60 per cent. So, make it easy for guests to book online in as few clicks as possible, with clear call to action buttons. The key to strong online sales is ease of use and speed. This must apply on mobiles as well as desktops so all websites must be mobile optimised. Mobile bookings are vital with online shopping on mobile devices now far outstripping that of the desktop traffic.
Use dynamic pricing
Set your prices dynamically so that your website and online travel agencies automatically offer more competitive rates during quieter times or increase prices when rooms are nearly booked up. This will help boost bookings throughout the year. You should also keep an eye on competitors’ rates and set yours accordingly. This is particularly important in locations densely populated with hotels as it is so easy for potential guests to do quick price comparisons online. You can use a “rateshopper” tool to monitor competitors’ rates thereby ensuring you set yours so you stand out as offering the best value.
Make sure your booking engine displays real time availability
Use a Property Management System (PMS) integrated with a channel manager and your own booking system to display real time availability. If you are updating channels or a channel manager manually, you run the risk of appearing to have no rooms available when you probably do and may lose out on bookings. A good way to help people browsing your website and enhance speed and ease of use is to place a date selector on every page.
Keep it current
Make sure the information on your website is accurate and up to date. It may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many websites fail to do this. If you list events, for instance, ensure there is nothing on there that has been and gone. When you make changes within your hotel, make sure you update the website to reflect this.
An effective property management system like Hotel Executive will support all the booking functions of your website as well as helping you boost guest engagement to make sure you capitalise on every opportunity to promote and sell your hotel.
Get in touch to find out more!