Are you satisfied with your hotel’s website? Is the website visited enough? Are you satisfied with the number of direct bookings from your website?
If your response is negative, then you should read this post.
Maybe you think that the website of your hotel or the apartment is perfect and that nothing should be done nor changed there, but still, you might read this text.
Here are the most common mistakes that hotels make…
Complicated and difficult booking process
Disregarding the fact that tourists nowadays book their accommodation online, and that everything is available for them from the comfort of their homes, many tourists need some rest after the difficult process of booking on the site of the hotel.
Most frequently, the booking page is hidden somewhere on the website, and even more frequently, unimportant information is put on that same page, which distracts an average person from doing what he/she wants – to fill in the form for booking. Unfortunately, that form is most often difficult to fill in, the process of filling in lasts too long, and the guest needs to give too much unimportant information.
Bear in mind that each new information that is being asked for from a guest, diverts that same guest from booking on your hotel’s website!
What should you do?
Make the booking page easily accessible, make call-to-action button ‘Book now’ easily visible all over the website.
Completely facilitate the process of booking, if you are looking for the unimportant information, think about what is the essential information you need to take the booking. Most often, the information you need is a guest’s name and surname, the room type and the number of people, the date of arrival and departure, telephone number, e-mail, and notes.
If you really want to have some more complicated form, divide it into a few parts. For instance, in the first part, a user fills in only the room type and the period of stay, and then, clicks on ‚continue’; on the next page, you will get their e-mail and/or telephone number, and on the last one, all the necessary data, credit card details included. On the last page clearly inform them that they are on the last page of the form, so you can make them not to give up on the reservation (they probably won’t give up, as they know they have already spent much time on filling in the previous two pages, and this last one is left).
PROFESSIONAL ADVICE – install Facebook and Google codes for following on every page for booking (whether it’s one page or you ’broke’ it in three little ones). In this way, you can, with remarketing, target only the website’s visitors who visited some of these pages. Take in mind that the possibility for booking is much higher for a visitors who passed 2 of 3 steps in your booking process when compared to a visitor who just looked at the photos in your gallery.
You don’t have the (high-quality) hotel’s photos
Photos sell the hotel’s rooms. Tourists want to see where they are going and what they should expect. If you don’t have the photos on your website, you will not have the bookings on that same website.
Bad photos have to be forgotten. Maybe you can you can use your cell phone while creating the photos for the social networks, but the photos on the website have to be professional. They mustn’t be blurred, pixelated and small.
A professional photo does not stand for overuse of Photoshop, which is often the case. Photos have to stay real, but they also have to nicely portray what the hotel offers to the guests.
Avoid too many details. Flowers in the vase can look nice on Instagram, but people prefer seeing a bed, a bathroom, a restaurant and a swimming pool.
What should you do?
Unless you are a photographer yourself, hire someone to take some great photos for you, which will be useful for your website as well as for the OTA fairs (Booking.com and others.). Unless you sign the contract with the photographer, ask him/her to send you an e-mail in which he/she clearly states that you can use all the photos made for any purpose. Photographers can be difficult to work with nowadays, believe me.
Upload the photos in the optimal size. What is optimal depends mostly on the website itself and its design, but take care of the following things:
- photos should not be too small as nobody will use the microscope for watching them;
- photos should not be too big as they will overload your page which will load slowly and this brings many additional negative consequences.
If you have a bit larger budget, hire some serious company to come up with the concept of your visual content and to do shooting with high-quality equipment, lighting, actors (who act as guests) and so on.
Unoptimized website for mobile devices
There are too many posts on the Internet about the essence of having the website which is optimized for mobile devices. There are so many reasons, but they all agree at one point – you will not be able to sell anything to the users who come to your website on their mobile devices, and there are more of them (over 60%).
What should you do?
First of all, check whether your website is optimized for mobile devices. You don’t do that by simply visiting your website on the phone. It’s not important how you see it, but how Google sees it. So, you should go to this page https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and in the empty gap, fill in your website’s address.
If the result is like this one, you can relax, and slowly check what Google suggests for fixing:
However, if the result is negative, be on red alert, and change something. In the results of this test, you will get a list of things which are not good and how to fix them. You can hire someone or change the design on your own if you can.
Website is loading slowly
Slow website loading signifies a few problems – the users will leave it before they do the booking or find out something more about the hotel, you will get low ranking on the browsers, the mobile device users will not like you, and so on.
The reasons for the slowness are different, and the most common ones are: unoptimized website for mobile devices, usage of flash animations on the website, too many photos on the page or photos which are too big, music in the background of the website or the video that is played automatically when the page is loaded.
What should you do?
Go to https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and fill in the address of the page on your website the speed of which you want to measure. It is Google tool, so you will, at the same time, find out how Google sees your website.
Here you will get an insight into the weak points and the directions how to eliminate these problems, similarly as with the website optimization. You can try to do this on your own, or you can hire someone to do this for you.
Lack of attention for the website users’ confidence
Even though more and more users are booking their accommodation online, they may not feel safe while doing this.
Do you have guests ‘reviews on your website? Tourists are always looking for one additional reason to book and are often mistrustful towards the official descriptions on the website, but many of them will trust real people who have already stayed in your hotel.
What should you do?
Provide the SSL certificate which is added to your domain, and which will signalize to the users that everything that they fill in onto your website (during the filling in the booking form) remains confidential.
Put reviews on your website. You can simply do this by putting your TripAdvisor reviews, or you can create your own way of leaving comments, depending on your website’s structure and design. People trust reviews, and most often that very ‘social proof’ effect is decisive for booking, and not a price, photos, room qualities, and so on.
Old information on the website
Once they notice the last month or last year price list, the users will immediately leave your website.
Besides showing that you are lazy, negligent and indifference (which is something you surely don’t want anybody to think about your hotel), playing with outdated information on the website almost surely means the loss of a potential guest.
What should you do?
Search through the whole website and correct all the outdated information. Start from the basics – telephone number, e-mail, price list, even to the working hours of the museum in your destination.
These are just the most basic and most common mistakes which are present. If you are interested, I can perform a detailed analysis of your website, show you some omissions, and give you the instructions how to correct the mistakes and advice about improving your website overall.
In order to make this text even more useful, I will give you some additional advice which you can use to further improve the performance of your website, besides correcting all the above-mentioned mistakes.
Integrate Google maps
Do not just set the address of your hotel on the website, add the Google map, too, with the exact location of the hotel.
The setting of the map is easy, just type into Google ‘how to insert Google Map on web page’.
Besides marking the hotel’s location, you can mark all the attractions in the surroundings, which will be very useful for the tourists, and they will appreciate it.
Integrate virtual tours
Nowadays everybody talks about the virtual reality, so you have probably already heard about the virtual tours, and you probably saw how they look like. Users like to ‘walk’ through your hotel, and if you are able to provide them with this service, I highly recommend it.
Through virtual tours, you can show just some of the rooms, and you can also show the whole hotel. Now, there is also a possibility to shoot a video from the air, and in this way, your hotel and destination get a completely new look.
Virtual tours offer to the potential guests the closest feeling and experience of your hotel, and they want that. Photos and videos are not even close to the VR.
Start your own blog
If you don’t have a blog section (or you have it but it’s not active), your website is probably almost dead. Regular blog writing brings to your website some fresh content which the users love (and so does Google). If you want to be found for more word searches on the first page of Google search, the blog is something you must have.
What to write on the blog?
Write about the attractions and happenings in the destination itself, about the people, interesting local stories from the destination, or from the hotel itself, write the receipts of your cook, suggest some activities for the tourists, reply with texts to their questions, and so on.
It is important for the texts to be original (without copy-paste), to follow the basic principles of the SEO optimization, to be readable (not like essay paper), with nice photos.
Texts must be of a high-quality. Otherwise, the effects will be bad.
Besides the fact that these texts will be ranked higher on Google search, you can immediately share them on the social networks.
Blog writing requires commitment and constancy. You cannot do this for a few months and then just stop. There will be no effect. If you don’t have the capacity to write them on your own, you can hire some person or agency to do this professionally.
I hope you have found some space for improving your hotel’s or an apartment’s website in this post. Now, start working, don’t wait for this to be forgotten, since you don’t know how many potential guests you are losing each month because of the omissions on your website.
If you need any help in the implementation of any changes from this post, feel free to contact me. I can also perform a detailed inspection of your hotels’ website and tell you what is not good and what you can do to improve the website performance.