14 Jan The 6 most common mistakes hotels make with their websites
One of the keys to being discovered and to stand out from the other hotels is to have an effective and well designed website. Your website can become the most profitable way to generate bookings. So, why do so many web pages make the same mistakes ? There are tons of little issues that come up time and again. Here are some things you can do to correct these errors :
Frustrating web visitors
The user’s experience determines the success or failure of a web site. It is important that users who go on your website feel comfortable, are attracted by the content, and end up making a reservation. However there are things that create the opposite effect and frustrate users to the point that they end up leaving the web site and booking at another hotel.
You might think that you are doing your visitors a favor by showing an auto-start video. After all, they probably want to see the hotel. However, things are not as simple as that. The videos on the hotel’s website should not start automatically because ;
– Users might be preparing their travel itinerary at work while they’re supposed to be working. The sound of the video can lead to disapproving looks from coworkers. As a result, your potential client will close his browser without having had the chance to make a reservation.
– Whether at work or at home, a lot of people use headphones to listen to music while they are surfing the web. The auto-starting video will annoy people who are looking to book a room.
– The speaker volume on personal computers generally stays on high, whether because they are watching a movie or talking to family on Skype. So your video will disturb everybody in the house.
Not clearly defining your WiFi’s qualities and limitations
Wi-Fi is has become the most requested hotel feature (requested by 89% of travelers surveyed). More and more hotels offer it as part of the price of the room, but users don’t always get what they expect.
Whether you have limited wireless access or not, if you don’t clearly indicate this, you risk losing reservations. Is Wi-Fi available in common areas and not available in most of the rooms? Is it possible to request a room with Wi-Fi? Is there a limitation on the number of connected devices or the number of minutes a day? If there is a cost for Wi-Fi, what is the price and what do you get in terms of speed?
These are the kind of questions that users want answered before they book. Generally the answer can be found on TripAdvisor and Booking.com, who typically get this information from users who have had a bad experience. Just read the many reviews about hotels on TripAdvisor where people complain about their experience because the Wi-Fi service was slow, broken, or difficult to connect to.
So it is important that you describe your Wi-Fi offer in great detail. Also, if you offer full and free WiFi service, it’s important to emphasize this because it can help generate bookings.
Not offering details about who is behind the hotel’s name
This is a mistake made especially by small hotels. Consumers are often curious to know the owner. If something goes wrong, they want to know that someone (and not an “I just work here” type of person) will be ready to help them.
That’s why it’s important to include the name of the owner or manager of the hotel along with photos on the “About Us” page. Omitting this information makes your hotel seem less personal and can even create mistrust.
Not making direct booking easy
Your goal is to get more bookings. That’s why you’re building a professional and optimized hotel website, isn’t it? But don’t stop here and expect visitors to book directly without offering a strong incentive.
If people don’t feel they are getting the best rate or something extra by booking directly, they will look elsewhere. And once they start comparing places, another hotel might catch their eye.
To optimize your website and generate direct bookings you should use calls to action like:
– Best Rates Guaranteed
– Free breakfast
– Early Access
– A bottle of wine or another welcome gift in your room
Not finalizing the acquisition process
97% of your web visitors will not book on their first visit. So to get them to come back and book later on depends on your proactive efforts.
Email is still the most effective way to reach people on the internet. Therefore, the best way to turn visits into bookings is to create an acquisition process. How? Get them to sign up to your newsletter with their email address, or provide them with something they can download.
– Build a database of customers by getting them to give you their email address. Place sign-up forms throughout of your web site to attract more subscribers.
– Send a welcome email and a thank you message. Remind your subscribers of the many reasons to book at your hotel.
– Periodically sends emails detailing special hotel deals and features.
Giving the impression that you don’t care about your hotel’s image
This last one is probably the most common mistake, as many hotel websites have a really dated look and don’t show the hotel’s qualities and what sets it apart from the rest. Invest time and energy in a good design to show that the image of your hotel is really important to you.