Your ultimate goal as a hotel marketer will always be to get guests in rooms, and that increasingly means ensuring your property is advertised to them more effectively than your competitors’ when they go online to research their next trip.
However, even if you have plenty of website traffic and have spent ample amounts of your marketing budget on hotel social media promotions and other similar techniques, it won’t lead to increased revenue unless you are actively converting browsers into paying customers. This means that you need to carefully analyse the behaviour of your web users through tools like Google Analytics, as you’ll then be able to see at a glance how long people spend on your site and whether they are engaging with their pages. But what if they’re not? What if you have plenty of traffic but are failing at some hurdle or another because travellers are eventually leaving the website as opposed to entering their credit card information? This is a waste of revenue that should be easy to rake in.If this is happening, then the chances are that you are committing some common errors – so here’s a round-up of some of the most frequent. Importantly, let’s also take a look at how to fix them because it might not be as tricky as you think.
1. Poorly designed landing pagesAfter keyword cramming and other SEO techniques became frowned upon and punishable through death by Google (aka sites being completely removed from search engine rankings), landing pages turned into an increasingly important marketing medium.However, some hotel marketers still aren’t using them as well as they could be, which might be why conversions aren’t happening. You need to make them appeal to people who are searching for hotels using long-tailed keywords, which means putting in relevant and specific phrases for your industry.It’s important not to sacrifice quality though, so load your pages full of interesting content that guests would want to read; for example, a guide to the resorts nearby your property or to public transport in your locale. This will boost engagement, trust and – hopefully – bookings.
2. A negative mobile experience -More people than ever are now using smartphones to research travel, but it means that websites need to be optimised in order to be visible on such devices. If you haven’t done this and people are finding pages that won’t come up properly, images that won’t load and other similar issues, then they’ll eventually just leave.Invest some time and perhaps marketing budget into perfecting this side of things and you could find you have a whole new audience – and a big one.
3. A high bounce rate -This is something we’ve talked about before and it suggests the first page that would-be guests land on is putting them off somehow, whether it’s through poor design or the fact that it isn’t as relevant to their search as they first thought.Ensure your website looks the best it can be to reduce your bounce rate, but also give the whole site’s content a real sprucing up so it appeals to your target audience.
4. No guest checkout -If you require your web visitors to create an account with you before you’ll let them make a reservation, then this might be one of the issues that’s causing them to leave before completion of the booking.Okay, you’ll need their details eventually if they’re going to stay with you (and you’ll hopefully get them to create an account so they’ll become regular guests), but adding a ‘guest checkout’ option to reserve the room could help them speed up the process and make them more likely to convert the first time.
5. Poor call to action -You don’t want to feel as though you’re being too salesy and shoving your rooms in people’s faces as soon as they arrive on your website, but the reality is that calls to action are necessary when you’re marketing a product – you have to make it easy for people to buy.If you haven’t got a clickable ‘book now’ button at each stage of the process where would-be guests might be tempted to book, then you’re probably missing out on easy revenue. Always put them in place in a consistent position throughout – and don’t forget to add them to mobile sites too.
These are all really common errors that hotel marketers make, so don’t beat yourself up if you’ve spotted a few as you’ve gone along. But it is a good idea to take steps to fix them as soon as you can, even if it means setting aside some time and money from your marketing budget.After all, it’s no good having plenty of traffic if it doesn’t translate to plenty of guests.