Make your website count – Part 2
Last week we looked at my Top Ten Tips for improving your website. This week I thought we could dive a little deeper to look at how our websites could be improved to help our customers journey and hopefully improve our bottom line.
We know by now that our websites need to be emotive and to tell our story; we know that it is less about price and more about experience; we know that our guests want engaging content which includes user-generated content; we know that our guests buying behaviour is changing, but even with all of this knowledge, do we really know how to convert of all these ‘needs’ into great design. Lets dive a little deeper…
- Get the images right – by now we should all be aware that our guests don’t want to read reams and reams of text but what they do want to see is great imagery, but what is great imagery? Well take it from the experts, the Number 1 image clicked on (after tracking million of visits to thousands of hotel websites) are bedroom images. So don’t lead with exterior images, your guests don’t really care. What they want are beautiful images of the rooms where they hope to stay, so lead with that.
- Ensure your Quickbook is up-front-and-central – You want your guests to book don’t you? So don’t just have your quickbook on the homepage, make is accessible from every page on your site. New design will allow your date checker to ‘hang’ on the main navigation as your guests scroll down each page so never let it disappear as your guests move through your site.
- Special Offers are important – the clever people that track how our guests interact with our site know that 45% of all guests say that having access to relevant special offers is important, whilst only 4% of hotel owners feel the same. Mmmmm, so disparity there I think! Make sure you have easy access to your special offers on the main navigation and for goodness sake make the Call To Action’ simple! Stay away from text like ‘Accommodation Breaks’ or ‘Hotel Packages’. Make it simple and make it accessible.
- Don’t make guests click around – If we take special offers as an example, don’t add an extra layer of complexity to your guests actually finding your offers. If a guest clicks on your Special Offers button, they should be taken directly to a page where they can navigate to the offer that interests them. Don’t add an extra page of text before they can actually check availability and book.
- It’s not always about the price – staying with special offers, remember that these packages don’t have to be heavily discounted. They should be opaqued so that a guest can’t break down the price – so for example if your room rate is £60.00 per person and your dinner bed and breakfast is £80.00 per person, there is a very clear £20 uplift for dinner. Make sure your guests feel like they are getting something wonderful but add in wine or an upgrade or a late check-out. Make it an offer that motivates your guest to book.
- Keep it simple – one of the worst mistakes to make is to offer your guest too much choice. That isn’t doing anyone any favours and more often leads to confusion and can be a deterrent to booking. You don’t need to have 4 family fun packages or 6 spa offers. Measure what works and keep it simple.
- Social proof yourself – whether we like it or not, our guests want to read user generated content. It is not enough for us to tell them how brilliant we are, they want to know what their peers think of how we actually do. So make sure that you have a dedicated page to reviews and a simple link on your navigation to find it.
- Location, location, location – one of my main bug bares when I look at websites – the location or ‘contact us’ is so difficult to find I give up looking and go somewhere else… Remember that most of your guests may not know who you are or where you are, so give them easy access to Google Maps and let them find you!
- Video is here to stay – we have all known for some time that our guests want to see video but how many of us actually have invested in that technology and added it to our site? Few I am guessing… My recommendation is to add short snippets of video throughout your site – of your bedrooms, bar, restaurant, grounds. After all, isn’t that what our guests want to see?
- Mobile is on the way up – make sure your site is fully mobile enabled with easy to action navigation to call / book and locate you. More than one in five bookings are now made on mobile devices and if you are making that difficult for your guests, they will go somewhere else.
So to recap the last two weeks of content:
- Tell your story
- Be image clever
- Social proof yourself
- Keep the navigation simple
- Make special offers prominent
- Have clear ‘call to action’ buttons
- De-cluter your site
- Be mobile friendly
I hope you found these blogs useful and remember, for all things revenue just firstname.lastname@example.org