Most customers are leaning towards the easy way of booking online (via Hotel websites, Online Travel Agencies, or any third-party platform).
Hotel websites are gradually creating avenues for customers to have access to them easily and have a feel of what they offer without even stepping foot in their hotels. It can be seen, in photos of the place, amenities, among others.
Sadly, not all hotel websites are effective. It is because most hoteliers do not understand what makes a good website. They don't pay much attention to their hotel's website features and other requirements. At the end of this blog, you will come to appreciate how the right website tips can increase sales at your hotels.
Why is it Important for Hotels to Have a Website?
1. A hotel website makes it highly convenient for people to browse and search for a hotel's information. And without an inch of doubt, it increases the chances of getting more bookings.
2. It’s the trademark/brand of the hotel
A website speaks volumes about a business. The main motive of a hotel website is to let the guests (even ones who have never visited your property before) feel the vibe and atmosphere of the property. So let your hotel be seen! Be it through the content, images, videos, etc.
3. It is a source of communication and information
Your hotel website is also a channel through which people can reach out to you.
4. Drives direct sales
Many people tend to visit a hotel's website and make a booking even after checking on an OTA. Sometimes, searching for the hotel's website is their first call. So, hotels need to double on that and make sales directly from their websites without having to use an OTA all the time and pay commission for every booking they get.
Hotel Website Requirements You Must Meet
Now that you understand the importance of having a hotel website, let us get into the essential features of a good hotel website.
1. Responsive and mobile-friendly design
According to a report, internet users are increasing more than 7 percent each day (roughly 875,000 new users). And guess what? About 92 percent use mobile devices to go online. Your hotel website must therefore have a mobile-friendly design; to allow potential customers to book or make an inquiry with no hassle.
2. The next (and one of the most important) things you should have on your hotel website are exciting photographs of your property. Upload photos of the different types of rooms you offer; the food, the amenities, the ambiance of the property, etc. Photographs give your guests the first impression of your property. They show people what to expect from your hotel.
3. Fast loading time
When it comes to hotel website requirements, load time plays a vital role. Search engines like Google highly consider page load time for ranking. Meaning, Google shows people sites on search results that take less time to load. So always make sure the sizes of pictures, videos, or slideshows on your website are not too big to hinder a potential customer's quick access to your website.
Now that you have a website with exciting photos, faster load time, and responsiveness, let us look at how you can convert website visitors to satisfied hotel guests.
1. An integrated booking engine allows website visitors to book directly with your hotel right from the website, making the reservation process a lot smoother. You can get confirmed bookings if you integrate with a payment gateway as well.
2. Always have a lead magnet where you can still reach out to customers who visit your website yet do not book. Examples of these lead magnets are travel itineraries (a step-by-step guide to enjoying their stay in your hotel), coupons for first-time visitors (discount code), pop-up cards where customers can input their details or send an email directly for inquiries, etc.
3. Social proof or validation
Never overlook the need for social proof or validation. Customers tend to check your reviews, what others have to say about your hotel before they make the final choice.
Always look for ways you can satisfy your customers so that they leave good reviews on your pages. As the saying goes, customers are walking billboards, utilize them.
4. Blogs play a crucial role in branding your website. With a blog page on your hotel website, you can expand on topics and attract like-minded people who could also become advocates for your hotel’s brand.
5. Apart from just selling rooms, tell them about all the places they can visit, the activities they can do, the food they can try, etc. Remember the coupon for first timers we mentioned earlier, you can run promos that include a planned activity for couples or singles.
6. Another vital aspect that you need to consider is monitoring and enhancing your website performance. You can use tools such as google analytics.
7. Because guests will have to book and pay online through your hotel website, you must assure them of 100% security on their data to keep them visiting your website all the time.
Here are some of the steps you must take to ensure website security:
Add HTTPS and an SSL Certificate to secure your website
Use a secure and trusted web host
Record user access and administrative privileges for transparency & audit trail.
Limit login attempts
Perform routine backups of your website
Use a firewall