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This is the second on our series of blogs featuring tips and advice about making our websites perform better.

As we know getting people to our website, helping them navigate the site and then proceed to book is the goal for us all.  Our brand website has by far the lowest cost of sale so our goals for our own site should always be:

  1. Generate revenue – our site should be a revenue generator first and foremost so we need to make our customers journey to our booking engine as easy and painless as possible
  2. Give our customers the content they need – after all, a customer won’t be enticed to book if they don’t like what they read and what they see.
  3. Gain trust – we want our customers to ‘trust’ every part of the decision making process – from browsing, navigating and booking, we need to ensure that we never over promise and that we always stay on-brand
  4. Be able to find the site in the first place! – even if we get all of the above right, we need to make sure our customers can find us and that means ‘playing nice’ with Google.

So following on from last weeks advice, here are a few more tips which I hope you find useful:

Tips:

Add a Frequently Asked Questions page – Google loves the fact that your guests can find exactly what they are looking for all in one place and that they don’t have to move off to another site to find the answer to that elusive question.  A good place to start with this is to ask your Reception Team the type of questions they are asked time and time again.  Chances are if it isn’t on your website, they may have to field calls answering the exact query you should have had on your site to begin with.  Some examples:

  • do you have hairdryers in the rooms?
  • does the hotel have free wifi?
  • what time can I check in?
  • is the hotel pet friendly?
  • do I pay for parking?

Google will love the fact that you are answering peoples queries and this will help your quality score

Add a Review page – Now this might seem like an outdated trend and I would still recommend that you have a direct link to TripAdvisor or your most popular review site, but think of this from Google’s point of view.

Like I said, Google loves fresh content, so adding new reviews weekly will help your Google score.  Also, as customers start to visit this page, it will begin to score higher and higher so now when customers type terms such as ‘reviews on X hotel’, the reviews on your site and the page they link to have a better chance of being ranked by Google

Include your key search terms – Ask yourself which 5 terms do your customers use to find you and make sure these are included in your content

Do you have a strong International market? – if so then why don’t you consider a country specific landing page. So for example, if you are in the UK and have a strong American market, then you should consider adding a page (your web designer can do this for you), that is hidden from your main site; that only American browsers can see (identified by their IP address) and that is tailored to their specific needs.

Some examples of this could be:

  • Adding information on packages with longer length of stays
  • If they come to your hotel for a specific reason e.g. golf or tracing ancestors, then why not give information on these key topics up-front-and-centre
  • Give general information on things to do, activities and attractions to suit an overseas tourist segment
  • Perhaps adapt the language – for example, Americans use the word ‘accommodations’ rather than ‘accommodation’.

Make your social media links clear and accessible – Its all about the ‘social’ at the moment, so make sure that these take centre stage on your site

Keep revenue in mind – As I mentioned at the start, your site should be a revenue generator first and foremost, so where is your booking button? And how does it look? My advice would be to make your booking button bright and colourful. Research shows that you should stay away from green and pink and to avoid grey completely.

If your site scrolls, then make sure that the booking button is not lost as your customer scrolls down your site.  Ask your designer to ensure that it is anchored to the top.

Your designer should be able to advise on which side the booking button works best on – (top left or right) as they should be able to conduct A/B testing.  My own preference is top right but see what converts best for you.

I would also suggest anchoring your booking engine on every page – regardless of whether it is a page about dining or weddings or meetings. After all, you never know where a customer might want to start their booking journey or indeed which page they are directed to by Google (which of course depends on the term they searched for) – so keep your options open.

Realise that you are online – Seems like a very obvious thing to say, but trust me, your customers are online because that is where they choose to find out about your hotel.  Now you may not like the idea of paying your booking engine provider a commission (and by the way, if you are being offered a commission free booking engine, run away very quickly as there is no such thing as a free lunch!), but I have seen too many hoteliers almost hide their booking engine. They actually make it difficult for people to book so that the hotels telephone number is presented as a priority instead.

Ask yourself, why would someone who is sitting at home, glass of Merlot in hand, credit card at the ready, go to the bother of picking up the phone at 9pm to talk to someone who doesn’t work in reservations  and who has also kept them on hold for 5 minutes? Please, please realise that if you don’t make it easy to book on your own site, customers WON’T pick up the phone but they WILL move on and book with your competitor.  Now wouldn’t you prefer to loose a few pounds in commission than all of that lovely revenue?

And you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned the importance of photography and video – a subject for the third in our series, so stay tuned…

(and for all things revenue, please email ask@rightrevenue.co.uk)