Even in our ever-evolving digital era, many hoteliers leave out one essential business ingredient: a website. Although a free social media page can serve as a convenient pseudo-homepage, the lack of investment into an official website simply limits a property’s online presence and potential. And let’s be honest, even a lackluster website does more harm than good.
So, what can a well-designed website unlock for hoteliers to survive and thrive in a competitive world online? Here’s a look at the top five opportunities.
Create a digital storefront window
Even though a profile on an OTA or a metasearch site, like trivago, introduces travelers to a property that catches their attention, those potential guests are also likely to search online, with the expectation of finding the hotelier’s website to learn more. But what if there isn’t a website?
Like any showcase, its purpose is to sell what’s on offer. A website works the same way. You need to lure curious travelers in and convince them to book. A finely tuned website that highlights your unique selling points (USPs), instills trust, and reflects professionalism will help you achieve that goal.
For a guiding light on how the fundamental elements of web design influence travelers, take a look at these 5 Hotel Websites That Are Inspiring Guests to Book.
Activate your free booking link
Expand your reach and accessibility
To connect with travelers, you need to offer them access to your property from wherever and whenever they’re online. By tapping into new global markets and segments of travelers, you open your doors to a world of potential guests you may have never thought were attainable (or even possible).
And let’s not forget about the travelers who search for accommodations on their smartphone, whether they’re on the go or on the couch. A study by Google revealed that 87% of the “digital moments” related to the planning of a vacation occur on a mobile device. This especially holds true for last-minute bookers. The shorter the time between book and stay, the more likely travelers will reserve a room on their smartphone, according to data by Criteo. That’s why it’s also important for a website to be fully optimized and responsive for mobile devices.
Give your brand a voice
Don’t think that branding is exclusive to big companies with equally big budgets. Even a 10-room B&B can and should have a brand. So, give a voice to yours and let travelers hear it!
An engaging website with well-crafted content and high-quality images will certainly make an impression on travelers. What’s more, a solid brand narrative ensures consistency of your voice across the digital platforms where you make your presence known.
And when you figure in search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you can refine your content in order to show up in relevant search results. That will enhance both your visibility and potential to send more organic traffic your way.
Have a gold mine of data within reach
Equipped with easy-to-use analytical tools (think Google analytics), you’ll be able to monitor traffic to your website, conversion rates, traveler behavior, and levels of engagement. You can even go so far as to install a heatmap on your website to see where travelers spend the most and the least amount of time, as well as understand a person’s online reading pattern. Believe it or not, that pattern follows the letter F.
Over time, the insights you glean from collected data will guide you on how to optimize your website’s performance, customize marketing strategies, and make sound decisions to propel your business forward.
Drive direct bookings
Research at trivago revealed that 44% of US travelers prefer to book directly with a property. So, why not give them what they want and offer them more attractive rates to choose from?
Independent hoteliers registered on trivago Business Studio, whose connectivity provider works with trivago, can do just that!
The first step you can take to experience the possibilities of direct bookings is to activate trivago’s free booking link in your Business Studio.
When a traveler clicks on your linked website rates, trivago will send them straight to your booking page. There’s no cost for clicks and no commission on direct bookings, either.*
For a boost in visibility that leads to more traffic and direct bookings, you can upgrade to Rate Connect, with the option to choose either a CPC or CPA campaign.
Whether you have a free booking link or Rate Connect, every direct booking comes with the future guest’s details, giving you the chance to connect with them right from the start.
We live and work in such a digital ecosystem that a website isn’t an option but a necessity. One that’s well designed to work for your property will unlock countless opportunities that can push your business upward and onward. And let’s face it, that’s just too good to pass up.
*Connectivity provider fees may still apply.