May 08, 2019 –

How to get guests to visit, stay, and book on your hospitality website

Author: Emma Kemp
Emma Kemp
Senior Digital Account Manager
Photo by: Toa Heftiba
It could be argued that advancements in technology have made it more difficult than ever for those in the hospitality industry to get guests through the door, due to the high volume of online competition and choice offered to the guest.

In saying this, it could also be argued that reservation booking tools, if utilised efficiently, offer the necessary means to make a property stand out from the masses and, ultimately, draw people to visit, stay, and book with you.

Below, we’ve listed some of the best ways to ensure your website is ticking all the boxes in targeting the right clientele, boosting brand awareness, and establishing long-term relationships with guests:

Get recognised by building trust

Firstly, your website should have all the basics already in place, making it both attractive and functional, and easy to navigate. Visuals and imagery should complement content and branding, while the overall booking process should be streamlined and effortless.

According to a study by the Association for Psychological Science, it takes just a tenth of a second for someone to form an impression of a stranger. If that’s the case, a potential guest visiting your website has been judging your business since the moment they entered the landing page. Therefore, it’s important the businesses’ character and personality match exactly what you want guests to feel. Ultimately, you want all website traffic to trust and respect what they are viewing and if they do, conversion rates will naturally increase.

You can further bolster visitor trust by showcasing reviews and testimonials. Having an active and engaging social media presence also helps to build your business as a respectable brand. Displaying partner brands and logos across the website will also give your business more credibility.

Utilise social media

Make sure you have a social presence on all major platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Keep them up to date with new and engaging content and ensure users to the website can see and click through to those sites. This is a quick and effective way to verify your business too.

In addition, make sure all roads lead to your website. For instance, if a guest finds out about your business and wants to book a stay via, say, Facebook, ensure they can swiftly click or tap their way through to your website to complete the conversion. Nothing is worse than having a high abandon rate due to would be guests struggling to find their way to your site. Links and hyperlinks within social posts, and all bios, should be prominent.

Channel your resources to a specific target audience

Simply put, who is your target audience? Look at the demographics, who is booking and how are they booking? Are you finding more people are booking their stay via the website on a desktop or a mobile/tablet? Gaining a better understanding of who your audience is, and how they come to find you, will enable you to focus specifically on them rather than wasting time and resources elsewhere. For example, if your audience prefer to book a stay via their mobile, make sure your website is mobile-first. Always respond to the needs of the user.

Once you know your preferred audience, establish a trusting relationship with them through fast and friendly customer service. Templates and automation of emails can significantly boost booking efficiency, with potential guests becoming seven times more likely to book a stay if you respond to their inquiry within an hour of it being sent. Ultimately, securing strong communication with customers, both new and old, by keeping them up to date with deals and news, will help boost conversion.

Regular newsletters are another effective communication channel to keep customers in the know.

Don’t create a maze for the customer

While it’s important to create a website that’s aesthetically pleasing, it’s paramount that you don’t forget to make all ‘next-step’ functions easily available to the customer. By creating a maze for the customer to navigate in search of what they want, you significantly increase the chance of abandonment. Ensure all users can swiftly filter properties by location, number of guests, availability, and price. The easier the customer journey on your website, the more satisfied they will be with their experience, and the more likely they are to recommend you to others, while becoming a loyal customer themselves.

Ensure content is authentic and attractive

Building trust means being authentic and genuine with the customer. Make sure all visuals and imagery of listed properties on your website are correct. Avoid being sloppy by assuming everything you upload is genuine, because if something is misleading, your customers will be the first to tell you!

In addition, make sure your website is performing at the maximum in its ability to sell. Position the best imagery toward the top of the page, highlight key features such as great reviews and make sure all click-through buttons are bright and clearly visible – especially the ‘Book Now’ button!

Furthermore, ensure you use key search terms throughout your content to increase SEO. Draw customers to you by including the key word answers they are searching online for.

Having the right holiday booking software

Using a reservation booking system allows you to manage all reservations, enquiries, and bookings, anytime and anywhere, from one central place.

Tailored to user experience, easy-to-use reservation systems offer peace of mind, prompting you when payments are due, and allowing you to manage invoicing and billing from one consolidated platform.

At 16i, we’ve recently developed a reservation system that enables those in the hospitality sector to manage the customer’s journey from the initial inquiry to checking out, and everything in between.

If you would like to know more about the system, or how to build a website that will draw customers to visit, book, and stay with you, contact our friendly team here.