Hotel Website Design: Features You Need To Drive Direct Bookings
Ok, the first thing that might pop up when we say you need to have a Hotel website for your hotel business.
Why do I need a Hotel website for my hotel or resort?
This question a hotelier usually asks when he is getting bookings from third party booking sites or OTA’s.
Yes, you might be getting innumerable bookings from OTA’s that you normally encounter listed on Google’s first page but aren’t you paying a commission for those booking that you get from those third-party travel websites. You are right?
So when you ask yourself how a hotel website will benefit my hotel business
Here is how
1) You will get direct hotel bookings from your hotel website
2) Save on the commission you pay to OTAs like Booking.com, Make My Trip and on channel management for the third party
3) Build your hotel’s brand awareness
4) Developing a loyal customer base who will book your hotel for future stays
In this competitive online market, the one way to fight and survive is to get into the digital zone by having a professional, attractive, and fully integrated online presence. and maximising the occupancy of your accommodation.
Let us also make it clear that just putting up a front web page about your hotel property isn’t going to get those hotel room keys moving. To get the maximum out from your hotel website and keep those direct bookings coming in, you need to have a well-designed responsive hotel website that will initiate a conversation with your guests.
And when you partner with a digital marketing agency that are experts in digital marketing for hotels for not only designing a beautiful, responsive hotel website loaded with features that would get you direct bookings but also market your brand by giving the right digital push, it’s a cherry on the cake!
1) Responsive web design
There were times when people would go to an internet cafe close by and go on Google or Yahoo to book their vacation at their favourite destination. But those days are gone!
Modern travellers use any device that has an internet connection and browser to do this job. Here’s where one needs to have a responsive website for their business.
What is a responsive website?
Responsive hotel websites respond or adapt themselves based on the device used to view the site. With responsive design, you will be able to provide the best experience to the users and put your site ahead of the competition and drive traffic.
So having a responsive website is an essential part of the user experience — and your hotel website definitely needs it if your goal is to get more direct bookings.
2) Hotel website speed
A website needs to load quickly and completely in a matter of seconds, or you risk losing your potential guests to the competition.
So what is a good page load?
Ideal website load time for responsive websites is 1-2 seconds.
Nowadays, the attention span of users is very short. So your website needs to capture the attention of your guests before they leave for your competitor hotel.
Now you might wonder what factors slow down a website loading speed?
When you speak about loading time, it is usually the high-quality images, external third party plugins, page directs that will get you a low page loading score.
Especially WordPress website is where you might find a lot of plugins being used. A professional website designing company that has a knowledge of how plugins can affect the webpage speed will avoid to use them for developing a hotel website.
It’s ok to use one or two plugins in the website for SEO purposes, but one should not over do it.
About the page redirects, this happen when you change the URL of a page, and then “redirect” the old one to the new one. and like plugins its ok do it in little amount that wont affect the speed.
Apart from these three, the videos also would have lowered the speed. It’s advisable to upload the videos on Youtube and then pull it from their on to your website.
Also, make sure that the hotel property images you upload are compressed to optimal sizes and should be no more than 1 MB.
Direct Booking Engine
Have you ever a button that says “Book Now” on a hotel website?
Yes, that button directs a guest to the booking engine of that hotel.
Having a secure, PCI-compliant booking engine that syncs with the hotel’s property management system (PMS) is a must.
A book now call-to-action button that is colour-coded to compliment your hotel website colour scheme is important for you to get a direct booking.
A clear and self-explanatory hotel booking engine helps guests to book a room hassle-free.
Easy contact and online booking option
When we say direct bookings, that is not the only need that a responsive hotel website satisfies. To get more people contact your hotel, one should place contact details clearly and needs to be in the front and center.
There is also a way to collect leads (email addresses) to communicate directly with potential customers.
A hotelier can offer something helpful and/or valuable for your customer in return for their email address. This is called a lead magnet.
Using such lead magnets one can collect the emails of their potential guests and further can send promotional offers directly to their inbox.
Also by placing relevant and easy to access booking option leads to easy capture of bookings for your hotel property
Consistent online branding
Branding is important when you want to make a mark in the market where your competitors have been already playing the game.
How you think OTA’s like booking.com or Expedia have having such a following.
yes, trust is all that matters when it comes to gaining the loyalty of netizens. These OTA’s have been selling the best rooms to the travellers allowing them to book them easily.
So creating a look of your website along with the content that speaks about your brand to your customers is important.
A good example is your website URL itself. Your website URL should resonate with your hotel brand name. Nobody will book a room whose URL is bookmyhotel.tixbuilder.com.
With a relevant URL to your hotel website, thats the first sign of trust you gain from your guests.
Live help chat
Gear up your website features with an AI-powered chatbot that will answer common guests questions and even help them in directing to booking a room, execute simple tasks, like fulfilling a housekeeping request, handling a guest complaint, or recommending local attractions.
But one needs to test it properly before implementing it on the website. By testing we mean, that getting live chat bot on the website should not affect the website speed.
Google web analytics
Google web analytics is an important tool that will collect basic data about your visitors from your website. Once you get a deeper understanding of your customers, you can plan your targeting strategies accordingly. You can also keep a track on how many website visitors click the book now button and from which location.
Now easily Get the most out of your data with features like analytics intelligence, detailed reporting, that will help drive more bookings through your website by accessing powerful insights and better ad targeting.
Google Maps biggest benefit is it allows people to find your business. The local search capabilities allow Google Maps to pin and list your hotel business when a prospect searches for an accommodation in your location.
Having a Google Maps loaded on your website acts as both a search engine that will show users your hotel property location, and then as a map to direct users to your location.
Google Maps also highlights the website along with other information like the phone number and address. If the prospect wants to make a decision or explore more about your property, he/she can quickly visit your hotel website to learn more about your property in a single tap. Thus bring your guests to book directly from your website.
Offers and hotel deals
Today as we see most of the travellers book their through OTA’s like booking.com, Make My Trip, Agoda as they get good deals and offers on stays. You can turn the game around and offer a discounted rate on your website and attract direct bookings through your website.
This might lead to less earning but at least you won’t be paying any commission to anyone which in long run will benefit you.
Showcasing social proof through guest reviews and testimonials is yet another way to build trust and loyalty among your audience.
According to research, 96% of the travellers considers checking guest reviews and testimonial before booking a hotel.
So now you know why testimonials from real guests are incredibly impactful.
sticky mobile click to call action
The placement of the call to action button is very important. It decides how fast your users can complete a task whether it is booking or asking them to call you with a phone CTA placed. Sticky buttons are a very cool technique to make the call to action visible to users at all times.
The buttons stay fixed at the bottom that allows users to take action whenever they scroll, up or down.
Hotel gallery dedicated page
High-quality property images are an essential part of any responsive hotel website design.
If you want travellers to book a room at your hotel, they would want to know what they are paying for is worth it.
Getting a photoshoot of your hotel property will require some heavy investment but it is deserving at the end of the day.
The important thing to note here is that you can use the images for your marketing collateral and social media strategies.
If you are wondering what to cover in your hotel photoshoot
Here’s a checklist:
Hotel Front Exterior
Hotel Lobby interior
Hotel Guest Rooms
Meetings or Conference room
Weddings & Events halls
Other Hotel Amenities
Google business page for local search
It’s important to optimise your Google business listing for local search.
For your business to be easily found by users searching for hotels or accommodation in your city, your hotel website needs to rank well in the local listings.
When a traveller lands up on your local business listing, he/she can be directed to visit your website to get a direct hotel booking.
Also through Google My Business or GMB, you can interact with your guests and engage with them when they leave you a review. This is a great way to show other travellers that you’re interested in what your guests have to say about your hotel and hospitality.