The practice of Revenue Management and having a strategy for your hotel can mean the difference between continued success and failure.
Online marketing is just an extension of your overall Revenue Management strategy. Online Marketing is not only about using paid channels, like Adwords and Re-targeting, It is about your entire digital presence. At the centre of this digital presence is your website.
If you were to break down the percentage of business contributed by your website then you will see that it is one of the top contributors. Some hotels get as much as 40% of their overall bookings through their website.
Refining your web presence can lead to great outcomes and consistent growth in revenue. It is the one asset you can continuously optimize and leverage to grow revenue.
Consumer behaviour has changed over time and now has lead to a situation where bad experience online lead to loss of potential sale.
If you do not have a website optimized for conversion then driving more traffic is not the answer.
You just have a ‘leaky bucket’.
People will keep visiting but will not buy.
How do you fix it?
Few basic elements of a great website (not in any particular order)-
1 Layout: Make it easy for a person can navigate your site. Make it obvious to the user what you want them to do. In a hotels case it is booking rooms, so make sure the booking calendar visible and is in contrast to the rest of the page to get a users attention.
2 Images: Engaging images lead to increase in time spent on websites and conversions. If you also notice the most popular social networks have images as one of their main components. These images should include photos of rooms, including product photos increases chances of conversion.
3 Optimized Mobile Presence: In today’s world non-mobile optimized sites, and booking engines, are hurting your business. One study found about 30% of the visitors will move to your competitors because of this. 76% of consumers won’t even bother trying to use a website, if it is not optimized for mobile.
4 Content: What you write on the website is not about Search Engines but about the people. Design for people and search engines will love it as well. Content includes descriptions of rooms, facilities, location, areas of interest around the hotel and anything that adds value to the user.
5 Speed: People want to do things quickly. A slow website hurts your bottomline; it also has to be optimized for any device. Even Google itself focuses on speed improvements. They know if their own search results are even 200 ms slower a user will do .22% fewer search in the next three week, at Google’s scale this is quite a drastic impact.
6 Landing Pages: A great landing page can help in converting more bookings, get more email signups and more. However, most hotel websites do not have a great landing page design. Landing pages act as a funnel. They convince the visitor through great offer copy and are leading them to click on to the booking engine to make a reservation. All landing pages should have one goal for the visitor and it should be a distraction free setup (this means no sidebars).
The above list is not comprehensive but it will give you a great starting point. Website optimization is a never-ending process and it includes multiple things.
If you are one of the hotels who have the basics covered, then?
Instead of Mass marketing it is time to do segmented marketing. Yes, even on your website.
Conversion can be optimized in multiple ways and one of them is make the offer/content targeted to the audience that is coming in. Here is an example what Booking.com does with their Location based targeted content. I am in Vancouver, Canada and this is what I see when I get to their homepage.
Why do they do this?
It makes the content on the page more relevant to me. The more relevant and targeted the on-website messaging the better the chances for conversion.
OPUS Vancouver is a boutique hotel based in Vancouver Downtown. They leveraged location based targeting. They targeted their website visitors who were visiting from the province of British Columbia with a very specific offer.
When a visitor from British Columbia landed on the home page he or she saw this offer. This made the offer appealing to them because it was specifically for them. If someone came to the website from outside British Columbia this offer was not shown to them.
This resulted in extremely high engagement in terms of people clicking on the offer and ultimately buying it.
Your website is a source where a lot of potential bookings remain to be unlocked. It is one of the main ways you can continue to grow your revenue at a lower cost, get all the guest information, build loyalty with a booker and build an audience.
What are some of the ways you are using your website to grow your bookings?