At Sprint Digital, we’ve worked with dozens of hotel clients on everything from their day-to-day digital marketing to complete brand and website overhauls. Thanks to the trust from our hotel clients, we’ve become experts at knowing what’s needed to sell hotel rooms and packages online.
Here’s what we think every hotel website needs:
It doesn’t take a degree in marketing to know that potential guests want to see where they will be staying. A good picture should clearly show the difference between a 4-star hotel and 1 star B& B. Investing in a photoshoot for your hotel is not only beneficial for your website! These photos can be used across your booking engine, online advertising, traditional marketing, social media, brochures, email marketing and other online booking channels.
It is important that your photos are up to date to show exactly what you are currently offering. If you have made any improvements to your property over the years, your guests want to see it. As well as bedroom photos, you should have photos of all your property’s offerings, including public seating areas, bars, restaurants, spas etc.
A REASON TO BOOK WITH YOU
The main goal of your website is (or should be) to encourage guests to book directly on your booking engine. Online travel agents, or OTA’s, charge high commissions and typically have higher cancellation rates. Ideally, you will have more than one reason to tempt guests to book directly on your website! This could include a price discount, free gifts, loyalty programmes and exclusive packages.
When building hotel websites, we like to ensure that your book direct promise is easily visible on your website – this way a user coming from an alternative booking site can easily get the message.
Location, location, location. Your hotel’s location is one of the main reasons any guest would book! This could be a central city location near main attractions, near the main business areas for your corporate guests, or out in a beautiful bit of countryside. A local area or location page is a great asset to your hotel’s website. It showcases the great attractions in your area, which you can also use to target your ideal customer.
For example, if your hotel is perfect for couples, you can dedicate a section to must-see attractions for couples. This works for any of your target groups including families, friend getaways and even sports lovers. As well as attractions, be sure to list more essential local amenities such as hospitals, business parks and conference centres.
WAYS TO BOOK
Your potential guests should easily be able to book on your website. This can be done by ensuring that there is always an easy-to-access link to your booking engine. Have a ‘check availability’ widget so users can view their dates before entering the booking engine – this is an excellent time-saving step for your user.
Show your guests even more reasons to book directly by linking directly to your special offers. These can be split out depending on your target consumer, i.e., family, romantic specials, and corporate offers. Think of what you can offer your audience – is it a discount at a local attraction? A guide to the best walks nearby with a bed and breakfast package? A cooking class included in their stay? Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Though not technically a feature, the speed of your website is a vital part of your users’ experience. As internet speeds increase and mobile usage grows, a website’s speed is only growing in importance. Ideally, your website should load in 3 seconds or less. Users expect a fast-loading site on both mobile and desktop and are likely to leave your website out of frustration if it takes too long.
Online consumers are much more comfortable booking and purchasing on mobile devices than 10 years ago – over 60% of traffic online comes from smartphones. While bookings lag behind traffic, they are growing as well. As a result, your mobile website must work just as well as your desktop version.
Showcase your reviews proudly on your website. Like most services, hotels rely on word of mouth for business. The social proof provided by your Google My Business reviews – today’s digital word of mouth – is invaluable.
This can be done through plugins that connect directly to your online listings or through third-party software such as The Hotel Network.
Finally – although your website’s look, feel and speed are important, none of this means much if your website is lacking in useful and informational content!
Your content should be targeted toward your rankings on search engines while remaining readable and helpful to future guests. Include information that your guests want to know and show off the best assets of your property.