As a hotel person one your main goals is to always focus on growing the share of bookings coming from the hotels website. The challenge is that it is not that easy and it needs constant work. The reward is really high, from getting bookings at the lowest cost distribution to getting all the information on a guest who you can market to over a long time.
There are two ways of getting more booking from your website,
Conversion= 3 %
So, if you worked on improving your traffic and got another 5000 visitors then the result will be
The challenge is that it is not easy to increase traffic and you will face stiff competition. This competition comes from other hotels, OTA’s , Google, Trip Advisor etc.
2- Increase conversion: This is the other option. Let’s use the same assumptions as above but this time increase the conversion percentage.
The second option is focussing on converting the visitors already coming to your site. This way you are focussing on people already interested in your property and they are evaluating your hotel to make a booking.
When a visitor lands on your site he is presented multiple choices because we try to include everything we think is important, and it is based on, what if? What if they need something and it is not right on the home page. This leads to adding links based on what we feel are important, like requesting a sale proposal, when was the last time you got a request through this option? Does it need to be there?
Here is a real life experiment about what happens when too many choices are available.
Sheena Iyengar is a professor at Columbia University.
On one Saturday she set up a table in a grocery store which had 24 options of Jam. A lot of people stopped and tried the jams
And on the next Saturday she had only 6 jams on display.
When 24 jams were available 60% of the customer stopped for a taste but only 3% bought a jam.
Whereas when 6 jams were available 40% of the customers stopped for a taste but 30% bought a jam.
The larger display had more people visit the stand but the difference in sales was 6 times on the smaller display.
This doesn’t apply to only jams. It applies to multiple industries just watch the video where else it has been applied.
Too Many Options Make You Less Likely to Actually Choose Anything.
Here is her book on The Art Of Choosing
How does this apply to your site?
When a visitor lands on your website they are presented with options. Now, what is the intention of this person to come to your site? Make a reservation.
So when a visitor is presented with multiple options he/she gets analysis paralysis and it does not assist in the decision making process.
“A confused mind does not decide” –Clicktotweet
So when you decide to work on your site remove options and make the option you want to be picked the most obvious.
A few weeks ago I talked about how images influence conversion.
I used Four Seasons as an example, let’s look at them again. This time when you look at their site focus on the “Make A Reservation” button.
When you visit their site there are 3 things that stand out apart from the image (it increases engagement with the site). First, the logo, second, the destination and then thirdly, the make a reservation button. They are making the reservations button the obvious choice. This will get more people into their booking funnel and hence increase sales.
How can you make it obvious?
1- The size of the button: Increasing the size of the button makes it standout from the choice around it. And, it makes it the obvious choice.
2- The colour of the button: The colour of the button plays a role in directing a visitors eye flow to the call to action. Red means stop and pay attention. It is being used by FourSeason. Blue is considered secure and trustworthy (Booking.com is a great example of it). Here is an article that talks about colours in detail. Whatever colour you may choose, it should be the one that helps the reservations button standout.
3- The placement of the button: It is important that reservation button is placed above the fold of the screen. A majority of visitors do not scroll down a page. You can use a tracking tool like CrazyEgg to find out the stats on your site in a very cost effective way.
4- Reduce distractions: Anything that draws the visitors away from the call to action its prominence should be reduced or removed.Make it obvious for the visitor to choose. Too many options are going to kill conversion on your site.
Improving website conversion is a long term revenue management strategy that helps in getting more and more direct bookings. Home page plays a very important part in it but it does not stop there. You should constantly monitor your stats and work on improving your sales funnel. Even if you achieve a 1% improvement it will add thousands of dollars in direct booking every month.
Have you tried conversion optimization?