Does your hotel website feel a little lackluster to you these days? Are you looking for a way to engage your guests more? Maybe your site traffic has plateaued? Here are five ways to breathe new life into your hotel website to give it a little extra zing that helps convert website lookers into bookers.
1. Hotel Blog
While hotel blogs are nothing new, they continue to serve an important function for SEO and customer engagement. Yet many hotels are not taking advantage of this opportunity. Though they may serve as a trojan horse for your hotel keywords and phrases, a blog’s higher purpose is fulfilled when it provides valuable information for your guests. When looking for topics, don’t forget to think outside the walls of your hotel and include travel topics of interest to your particular guest demographic, like The Avalon does. When you demonstrate expert knowledge, it presents your hotel as a trusted source and builds guest loyalty. Be sure to include images and videos in your blog posts for visual appeal, and link to your other articles and web pages to keep visitors reading.
One of the best parts of writing blog posts is that they may be repurposed for your other marketing initiatives, such as social media or email marketing.
Nothing says “21st Century” like a website chatbot. Add pizzazz to your website in a very practical way with your virtual robot concierge, so to speak. Chatbots allow you to appear as though you’re at the ready to answer guest questions while your friendly neighborhood software automatically provides pre-assigned answers from the convenience of a chatbox. The best part? Chatbots decrease online abandonment and increase bookings because someone (or something) is there ready to answer customer concerns and remove any barriers to booking— from providing further details about a room, to directing the guest to the appropriate page with more information. A chatbot can also be used to upsell guests by suggesting room packages and other add-ons.
It’s an investment but one that comes with a good ROI and the ability to delight guests now and into the future as robotic technology hits the hotel mainstream.
3. Online Booking
If you haven’t already done so, bring your bookings online. But that’s not all. To compete with OTAs and increase direct bookings, ensure your booking button or widget is prominently displayed, like this front-and-center approach from the R Nite Star Inn and Suites. Make sure your website booking engine is integrated with your property management system (PMS) so that rates and availability are always up to date, and choose a mobile-friendly solution for a seamless booking experience on any device.
For more information, read our recent guide on how to integrate an online booking engine with your hotel website.
4. Virtual Tours
It can be difficult for web visitors to imagine themselves at your hotel. While your website may be filled with beautiful photos and videos, the best way to get potential guests through your doors is with virtual reality. Often cited as a trend to watch, leveraging VR now can give you a leg up on the competition. Let these amazing stats convince you:
- 92% of users say seeing a 360-degree image of a product is the most essential element when browsing online (Adobe Scene7 Viewer Study)
- Websites with 360-degree media get 40% more views than their competition (Pew Internet Life Study)
- Interactive videos, virtual tours, and other rich media increase conversion rates by 64% (ICE Portal)
- Websites with virtual content are viewed 5-10 times longer than those without (Visual Visit)
- Visitors to websites that offer a virtual experience are twice as likely to become customers. This increases to 130% among the 18-34 demographic (Google IPSO)
While some bells and whistles are simply smoke and mirrors, VR is a true delight to guests because it provides a layer of transparency. You’re not trying to “trick” or convince anyone to stay with you, rather guests can see for themselves—while positioning your hotel as modern and relevant.
While the best immersive experiences require a VR headset, 360-degree videos can also be enjoyed without; viewers can simply use the cursor to change the POV and look around the scene while the video is in play. Check out the Shangri-la Hotel Vancouver for inspiration. With VR headsets like Occulus becoming more affordable, it won’t be long before this trend takes off, especially if your hotel offers an event space; virtual venue visits save a lot of time and energy for you and your prospects. If VR video is not in your wheelhouse at this time, consider 360-degree photography like the Park Place Inn Banff.
5. Hotel FAQ
It may not sound exciting, but a comprehensive hotel FAQ page is really helpful for your guests and can give your traffic a boost. While everything guests need to know can be found throughout your site, a concise page of the most commonly asked questions and their answers can act as your virtual front desk, 24-7. Easy-to-access information delights guests and reduces friction, putting them one step closer to booking. Ensure to include contextual links to direct them to more information within your site, while extending how long they stay on your website, which contributes to your website search engine ranking. Speaking of SEO, not only will your FAQ page be filled with keywords and phrases, but if your frequently asked questions are similar to commonly searched questions on Google, it could help your ranking—and potentially appear as a featured snippet!
If your hotel website needs a little spicing up, these ideas can improve your SEO while delighting guests in the process. Trying just one at a time can provide you with valuable insight into what resonates with your potential guests and translates into increased bookings.
We recommend working with a designer who can recommend (and install) apps that will work with your current website theme. Switching a few things up and cleaning up the backend of your site to improve speed may be just what you need to see an uptick in traffic. But if your website is quite slow, feels old, or you’re a jump-in-with-both-feet kind of person, perhaps a website redesign is in order! Not sure where you stand? Ask one of our WWT designers for a free, no-obligation quote and we’ll help you come up with a game plan!