Why Your Hotel's Website Needs to be Optimized
During 2019 and early 2020, hotel websites became the second-largest online booking channel, relegating Expedia to third place. Some of the reasons for this increase in reservations are related to the user experience and the incentives offered by hotels to their clients.
87% of users visit the website of a hotel before making a reservation, and the same consumers visit an average of 18 pages through multiple devices over eight sessions before making a reservation.
During March, April and May of 2020, the tourism and hotel sector has been one of the most affected by COVID-19 and will continue to suffer its effects for a few more months due to restrictions with international tourism.
People will no longer book as early as they used to, but will wait to have some security, and, according to statistics, they will bet more on national and local tourism.
That is why, now more than ever, it’s very important to have a professional and optimized website, since it will be the best tool to increase direct bookings. Also, it is very important to have a digital marketing strategy that focuses on the user. In this way, you will have a greater probability of standing out from the competition.
How do you optimize a hotel website?
1. Choosing a good CMS
To determine which content management system (CMS) to use, you must take into account which booking engine the website uses, as this is a key element. But, you must also consider the security of the CMS and whether you will need to customize content according to user behavior. Integrating an API from a booking engine is essential, as well as having a site with few vulnerabilities.
Novicell would advise using Umbraco for this type of project, depending on the needs of the business.
2. UX/UI design
On average, guests spend six minutes on hotel websites, which is a great opportunity to entice your future guests with appealing images, easy-to-read room descriptions, and attractive offers to make the decision to book simple. It is important to show what guests will experience when they reach their destination. If you make video part of your web strategy, you will interest your guests further.
The design of any web page must be attractive, since studies show that beauty is a factor that conditions our mind when it comes to trusting and choosing. And beauty is directly related to simplicity and balance. Therefore, the experts in usability and interface design consider that for a digital product to be usable it must meet certain standards: minimalism, balance, visual hierarchy and visual coherence.
Thus, the website of a hotel must be created with their users in mind. Its design must put the user at the center of decisions without forgetting the needs of the business: seeking a balance between the needs of the user and those of the business. For this, it is essential to have UX designers who incorporate user research and user testing methodologies in the development, to verify that design decisions are validated by users.
It goes without saying that any site, whatever the business, must be designed for mobile devices, with an adaptive design that is responsive.
3. Optimised booking engine
It is also very important to take full advantage of the booking engine, as this is the way to get more direct bookings.
The booking engine must be designed to offer a good user experience, and high security to achieve more conversions.
The hotel booking engine must also be implementable with travel metasearch engines. This way you ensure that rooms can be booked from your website and from the metasearch portals.
4. SEO both local and international
A key area in the optimization of a website within the hotel sector is SEO. For users to visit your website from search engines, they will need to find you, and search engine searches represent an important source of traffic. One study found that over 40% come from organic traffic.
Positioning a hotel is not an easy task; it requires optimizing both on-page and off-page SEO to achieve results.
In the hotel sector, international SEO is also essential, since many of the customers who visit hotels come from different countries and the site has to be optimized for all those markets of interest. Depending on the countries you are targeting, it may be necessary to optimize the site for certain search engines.
In addition, it is just as important to work the local SEO. As local results allow local users to find the hotel. Thus, generating a local SEO strategy is also mandatory for hotels.
5. Social media strategy
Social media is a great way to communicate with potential customers. As such, it is essential to have brand ambassadors, social media influencers and bloggers promoting your company through reviews and articles on their blogs.
Don’t forget to have a presence on travel platforms such as TripAdvisor, and take advantage of Instagram to share inspiring images both within and around the hotel.
In the case of hotels, reviews are a very valuable resource for users: no one today books a hotel if they have not read positive reviews. Therefore, platforms such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Google My Business, Facebook and Agoda are important.
An online reputation is essential to convince potential clients that your hotel is the best option for them. Monitor what is said about your brand and make sure that your online reputation is the best possible. This will happen not only through a good experience on the web, but also by providing a good service during all phases, from the reservation to the experience inside the hotel.
6. Google Ads and Social ads campaigns
If your competitor invests in ads, you cannot fall behind and lose visibility.
Making search ads for relevant keywords is important and effective, but don't forget the potential of display on strategic websites. It should be noted that Google ads is the largest pay-per-click platform in the world, so advertising on Google gives potential access to more than 3.5 billion daily searches.
Ads on social networks are a marketing channel you should also invest in, as they are essential to attracting potential customers to your hotel page. Social ads are the optimal way for your investment to obtain a higher ROI, thanks to the segmentation capacity that these channels offer.
If you want more information about optimizing web pages and digital strategy for hotels, you are welcome to reach out to us.