Recent Accenture research found 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.
Imagine if every one of your customers could enjoy an individually tailored experience of your website, from optimized landing pages to personalized pop-up offers and messaging. Did you know that website personalization technology makes it all possible? Using AI, machine learning and predictive analytics, personalization software (like Google Optimize, Hubspot and Proof) automatically customizes website content for every visitor based on customer characteristics and behavior to offer a more personalized experience that drives conversions.
If this all sends your head into a spin, or your property doesn’t have the bandwidth for investing in website personalization software right now, don’t worry—there are simpler ways to personalize your hotel website to improve conversions and earn loyal customers in the meantime.
1. Design your website for your guests, not for you
Designing a website for your property according to your personal style and preferences might result in a site that is pleasing to you but doesn’t work for your customers… so put yourself in your guests’ shoes when redesigning your website.
Do you know who your guests are? Are they mostly vacationers, workationers or transient visitors? Families, solo travelers, retirees? Confirm what you think you know by looking at your reservation data; information like rate types, unit types, length of stay, booking windows, number of guests per reservation, add-ons, etc. can help you work out who your most valuable guest segments really are.
Analyzing search and click patterns on your property’s website can also help clarify who your guests are and what’s most important to them. Google Analytics is a big help here, showing you where your website visitors come from (e.g., search, ads, social media, email campaigns) and how they navigate through your website—revealing the paths that lead to bookings (and where you should put the most focus).
Knowing who your guests are and how they get to that book now button is crucial for improving all aspects of your website to give your actual customers what they really want, from an appealing visual design and intuitive navigation to relevant content that speaks to them.
2. Tailor packages and offers
Knowing your guests is also key to designing relevant packages and offers they can’t refuse.
You may think that a standard romance package with customary wine, chocolates and roses always fits the bill, but if lots of guests stay with you for your proximity to a nature reserve, why not include a romantic picnic basket for two—or consider offering it as an add-on.
Advertise special offers on all relevant pages of your website. For example, in addition to listing packages on your “packages” page, consider including a description of your spa package on your “spa services” page too, with a rate-specific booking button that allows guests to immediately book that package if they’re ready.
Use availability and booking restrictions, e.g., booking windows, length of stay, room types, etc., to ensure only relevant offers are presented to guests at the time of booking for a higher chance of conversion. (You don’t want to frustrate guests by showing them packages they don’t actually qualify for.)
3. Personalize your website booking engine
Speaking of booking, your website booking engine can be personalized for guests in more ways than simply offering relevant rates and packages based on availability and booking restrictions.
Offering upsells and add-ons (like in-room extras, spa services, meals, and activities) during the booking process is a great way to increase ancillary revenue and provide guests with the opportunity to enhance and personalize their stay. But, like rates, only relevant add-ons should be offered to guests, and this is achieved by attaching add-ons to specific room and/or rate types. Be sure to maintain a seamless booking process by not overwhelming customers with too many options.
Consider allowing returning guests to use their existing guest profile when booking online. By logging in to your booking engine (with their name and birthdate, for example), customers not only enjoy a faster booking process conveniently prefilled with their existing contact information, they also feel recognized and acknowledged. Using existing guest profiles is key to maintaining an accurate stay history for repeat guests, which is crucial for loyalty initiatives and to help personalize the guest experience.
For your customers, making a reservation is the moment excitement and anticipation starts to build—you don’t want to kill their buzz by neglecting the booking confirmation page! Display confirmation immediately after a customer submits a booking online. It’s important to reassure customers their booking was successful and that they will receive an email confirmation shortly. As well, your confirmation page should thank the customer for booking and let them know you are looking forward to their arrival.
4. Add a chatbot
Guest messaging software like HiJiffy or Akia makes it easy to integrate a chatbot on your hotel website to provide instant, personalized customer service to every visitor.
Powered by artificial intelligence, chatbots are programs that can understand written communication and automatically provide helpful information in response to user queries. Programmed with your property’s information, a chatbot can answer all the frequently asked questions your customers would otherwise ask your staff—saving your staff time while providing instant customer service, 24/7.
By answering your customers’ questions in the moment, making relevant recommendations, and helping customers through the booking process, a chatbot is an effective (and effortless) way to personalize the customer experience on your website and increase direct bookings.
5. Use targeted pop-up messages
Pop-up messaging can be a bit of a contentious topic. If shown too often or at the wrong time, pop-ups negatively impact user experience, annoying and distracting visitors. However, when used well, pop-ups offer real value to your customers, informing, persuading and delighting them.
Pop-ups can be so effective because they demand attention. Appearing over the top of the webpage, pop-ups must be either clicked or closed in order for the user to proceed. (This is also the reason they can be irritating, which is why they should be used very carefully.) Pop-ups can be used to promote special deals and packages, encourage newsletter sign-ups, and to communicate important information (as we saw many hotels communicate Covid-19 protocols and temporary closures during the pandemic).
The key to using pop-ups successfully is to use them sparingly and ensure they’re targeted to the right audience and triggered at the right time. You can do this by using a pop-up app or plug-in and setting the right parameters, for example, triggering pop-ups after a set amount of time on a particular page, when a particular link is clicked, when the visitor’s cursor nears the browser exit, or based on the visitor’s geolocation (IP address) or traffic source, etc. Well targeted and timed pop-ups can enhance the customer experience and boost bookings, so they’re worth consideration.
As customer expectations evolve along with technology and increasing options, website personalization becomes ever more important. Website personalization technology is fast becoming a must-have for businesses that want to stay relevant and competitive. But that doesn’t mean you have to go all out on those tech investments now. Start simple and grow from there. A guest-centric design and targeted offers will set you on the right track, then employ further tech innovations as you can—always monitoring your website’s performance along the way to maintain your course to success!
If your property’s website isn’t meeting your guests’ needs, we welcome you to get in touch to discuss your redesign goals. We’ll be happy to provide a free, no-obligation quote for a brand-new website that brings in more bookings!