When you book a holiday, how do you choose where to stay? Do you begin with location and search Google maps? Or perhaps you prefer Expedia and begin your search by filtering amenities. If you’re like the majority of travelers, once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’ll visit the hotels’ websites. But what are you looking for—don’t you have most of the information already? Chances are, you’re looking for the one that “feels right.”
The hotel website is the make-it-or-break-it part of a sale. Visuals are essential, of course, but one element that often goes overlooked is the writing. Competition is fierce, so don’t miss this important piece of the booking puzzle—good copy has the power to win guests. In addition to keeping your website running efficiently and current with the latest web design trends, take time to revisit your hotel website copy. We’ll help you get started with seven essential hotel website copywriting tips to increase bookings.
1. Make it experiential
Of all the tips, this one is the most important and affects every other tip. Practically speaking, your website copy is there for SEO, to tell your brand story, and provide valuable information to your guests. But it’s all for naught if it doesn’t evoke a positive emotional response.
Before we give you an example, here’s why: people are more likely to make purchases with brands they feel a connection with. It’s called emotional marketing, and it helps people make decisions using their hearts. A guest can compare all the practical features between two hotels—location, amenities, price—but ultimately, their decision will be based on the property that “feels right.” In fact, ad campaigns that are “purely emotional” outperform rational content two to one (31% vs 16%).
When we consider that people travel for the experience, it’s easy to understand that hotel website copy must meet that desire. Beyond simply describing what’s on offer, describe the experience to be had. Check out these examples:
Not bad: The Regent Hotel offers king-size beds with quality linens and a selection of pillows for your comfort.
Better: Swaddled in quality linens, wake up well-rested in your king-size (and fit for royalty) bed.
Not bad: The Regent Hotel is conveniently located near the National Museum, many restaurants, parks, and transportation—all ready for you to explore!
Better: Reach the treasures of the National Museum—just steps away—through the eclectic bustle of city life. On the way, grab a hot slice of pizza from one of Seattle’s famous food trucks. Slow down and take a seat in nearby James Park. Is that the smell of fresh roast coffee? You bet it is. We’re famous for it. Make that your next stop.
Put your guests at the heart of your writing to reach their hearts and create effective content. Your visual images should also follow suit. Think stunning views…with a couple transfixed on each other. Think of a sumptuous hotel bed…with a mom and child having a laugh and tickle fight. Think of a well-appointed coffee shop…with guests at two different tables talking to each other. Think of the experiences your hotel can offer and how you can depict that in your website content.
2. Keep it consistent
Whether it’s written by a single writer or many, all the content on your website should come across as though it has been written by one singular entity: your hotel. It’s called a branded voice and it supports consistency across your website, from your room descriptions through to your blog. This consistency backs up the brand you’ve created and establishes trust. When things are off-brand, it creates confusion and confusion leads to distrust.
To support your brand voice, create a supporting document (it could be part of a larger “brand bible”) that outlines your tone, your brand narrative (or story), central themes, and guest segments. You may even find it helpful to list examples of words that fit your brand and ones that don’t. Such a document is particularly helpful to share with new team members or anyone creating content for your hotel or even to reference every once in a while yourself—ensuring that you are staying on track.
3. Personalize your content
The future is personalization, so how do you do that when writing website copy? First of all, determine your guest segments. Then, with those segments in mind, create copy that is in alignment with your larger brand story. Some areas of your site will be directed to a broader target market, while other areas can speak more directly to a specific segment.
For example, if your top two segments are young workationers (business travelers who are also seeking tourist experiences), and weekend urban explorers, you’ll have separate areas on your site that address their interests. For the young workationer, one page may delve into your hotel’s business amenities, co-working spaces, and the opportunity to network. Whereas your Things To Do page and/or a blog post may contain ideas for “48 hours in Chicago” (for example) to appeal to your weekend clientele. Remember to make it experiential (see tip number one!).
Personalizing content in this way makes it valuable to your guests, which is the single most important idea. If you take anything away from this blog post, it should be this: provide value to visitors on your website by providing content that is relevant to your guests.
4. Efficient use of language
How to keep a blog for your hotel website warrants its own blog post. But in a nutshell, a hotel blog is handy for all the reasons already mentioned: it provides value to your guests, gives you an outlet to share your brand story, allows you to share the types of experiences your guests can expect, and is wonderful for SEO.
When writing a hotel blog, keep all the aforementioned tips in mind and remember to keep it up to date. Many websites with blogs forget to keep their articles active. The way to do that is to frequently edit and update text, add links, and refresh images—doing so will keep every blog post current, and signal to search engines that you’re creating fresh and relevant information. Otherwise, old content runs the risk of being deep-sixed—along with all the work you put into writing it!
6. CTAs – well timed, well placed
Have you heard of the acronym ABC? It means Always Be Closing. In terms of hotel website copy, it’s something to keep in mind because it’s all about securing bookings, after all. Well-placed calls to action (CTAs) are crucial.
We’ve all seen the “book now” CTA button, but see if there’s an opportunity to conjure emotion (without getting too wordy!), such as “book your adventure today.” Successful CTAs typically include a sense of urgency (‘now,’ ‘today,’ ‘ends soon’), and include an action word (‘book,’ ‘learn,’ ‘explore,’ ‘enjoy’). You should also make it easy! Reduce as much friction to booking as you can. Make your online booking process simple and your booking CTA easy to find wherever guests are on your website, for example, in the header or main menu of every page.
7. Don’t forget SEO
Content is king when it comes to website copy. As we’ve demonstrated above with personalization and emotive writing, the guest is at the heart of your writing. However, underneath it all, we’re also writing for algorithms. That’s where hotel SEO comes in. SEO can be a complicated beast and is something your web designer can help you put in place with basic rules, tools, and design.
At the most basic level, research what the popular search terms are for your market and incorporate those terms into your writing—but keep the language natural. Search engines, particularly Google, are always refining their algorithm to help users find the most valuable and helpful content. So creating quality content should always be your main concern. Your web designer can help you behind the scenes with the appropriate use of H1, H2, and H3 tags, alt tags, and meta descriptions.
The next time you’re booking a holiday and visiting various hotel websites, take note of what works for you: the kind of images that are most compelling, the kind of writing that creates desire, and the kind of experiences that pull at your heartstrings. You’ll find the writing that works best is clear, concise, emotive, consistent, and valuable—with the guest at the center of it all!