Travel customer journey has become increasingly complex. With market competitiveness, smartphones, social media, digital advertising… today, the online buyer receives such amount of information that, inevitably, the hotels have been forced to look for new ways to stand out and increise not only the conversion, but the conversion through its direct channels. In this context, the hotel website plays a fundamental role.
Hotel website: key to the final decision
Keeping in mind that, in most cases, the travel customer is not clear about the destination when he starts planning a trip; there is no doubt that OTAs and metasearch engines play a fundamental role in the search phase. But it is important not to forget about this: according to Google, 52% of travelers visit an hotel website after viewing the information through an OTA. That is, that many of the travelers are going to make their final decision of book (or not) after visiting an hotel website. So … what are you waiting for to optimize your website? Next, we reveal the 3 must-have features for your hotel website.
According to ComScore, 55% of travelers consider that photos are useful when looking for a new destination. Surprised? Well, you should not be, since science has shown many times that human beings are much more receptive to visual content: compared to the text, the human brain processes images 60.000 times faster; and, in fact, 90% of information transmitted to our brain is visual.
Including visual content on your hotel website increases conversion probabilities; but, for this, you must do much more than include a simple gallery of images… It is all about potential buyers being able to see and perceive the differential value of your hotel. Below, we give you several tips for your website images that you should take into account.
- Show the experience. Users visit an hotel website hoping to find big and compelling images that tell a story: one about the perfect holidays. No more images of empty hotel rooms. Now, it’s about showing people enjoying the experience: a couple having a romantic moment in the spa, families smiling and having a great time in the pool, a woman who tastes a delicious food in the restaurant…
- Exterior does not matter. Although many hotels are still obsessed with displaying images of their buildings facade, according to the statistics, the outside photos are in 9th position of categories that most interest the users. Run away from this (unless your hotel has some remarkable architectural feature) and bet on to give prominence to the rooms, restaurants and recreation images.
- Bet on quality. Although it is an investment that, sometimes, it is hard to assume, our recommendation will always be to use a professional photographer to get the images for your website. Keep in mind that quality images transmit confidence to the consumer.
- Video is your ally. YouTube and the 1 billion users who watch 6.000 million hours of video per month should be more than enough to convince us that the online consumer increasingly demands this kind of content: in fact, 65% of travelers consume online videos when they are planning their holidays. Beyond the statistics, it is clear that video gives us a great opportunity to be creative when it comes to show a experience and inspire potential buyers, so … use it!
2.Other guests reviews
Online reputation is undoubtedly one of the things that have gained more prominence in recent times. Beyond what we can say about ourselves, the traveler is looking for the ‘social proof’: testimonies of other guests who support the decision to book in a specific hotel.
According to the latest report from TripAdvisor, 89% of travelers consider the reviews as the factor that most influences them, and it is estimated that each traveler reads an average of 12 reviews before booking. So, why not give visibility to these opinions on your hotel website?
From thinkIN, we always say that online reputation management is fundamental for hotels; but it does not make sense that, after doing all this management work, our rate of Booking or TripAdvisor goes completely unnoticed on our own website. Especially when the solution is so simple and it can increase the conversion rate of our website. Our recommendation? Do not limit yourself to include anonymous testimonials: platforms such as TripAdvisor have created reputation standards in wich consumers trust, so if you insert the widget of these platforms directly into your website or you include as many details as possible (name of the user, residence, age, source…), visitors will value it.
3.Benefits of booking directly
As we told you at the beginning, the latest studies show that visiting an hotel website plays a fundamental role in the travel customer journey. The consumer is going to visit your website to get more information, so it is time for you to ensure that he doesnt’t leave without making a reservation. How? With differentiation.
The research shows that, in equality (same price, same conditions), most customers prefer to book directly with the hotel; so do not hesitate to offer a better price or -if that is not possible- additional advantages by booking directly on your website: free services, welcome details, ‘late cheak out’ … You can also offer exclusive packages. The possibilities are vast! Of course, whatever the method you choose, make sure that these advantages are always visible and have a prominent place on your hotel website.