Travelers are becoming increasingly digital, using apps to book their stay, digital boarding passes to get on a plane, and social media to research potential locations. They have all the information they could want at their fingertips and more options than they can count when choosing a place to lay their tired body at the end of the day - from homestays and couch surfing to house rentals and hotel rooms.
With so much competition, getting these digital-savvy travelers to convert on your hotel website can feel next to impossible. Luckily, there are many factors that influence why travelers choose certain brands, from technical details, like the speed of your site, to the value you provide before they ever become a customer.
If you’re struggling to increase bookings and compete in this crowded space, use the following tips to get digital-savvy travelers to convert on your hotel website.
Get your site up to speed
The speed of your site is more important than ever right now. Not only is this a ranking factor for Google, which dictates whether you show up in search, but it’s also critical for keeping potential customers on your website. Today’s consumer has a short attention span and expects sites to load quickly.
While your desktop speed is important, it’s more important to tackle mobile first. For starters, 26 percent of travel searches happened on a mobile device in Q4 of 2018, as reported by CMO. What’s more, according to Google, when it takes 1 to 3 seconds for your mobile page to load, the probability a visitor will leave is 32 percent. When that time reaches 5 seconds, it jumps to 90 percent, and at 6 seconds, it’s 106 percent.
If visitors are leaving your page, they’re not booking - and getting this right is a struggle for many companies, explains Google: “Our data shows that while more than half of overall web traffic comes from mobile, mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop. In short, speed equals revenue.”
Getting your site up to speed can be a simple process. Start by using Google’s PageSpeed tool to measure speed on desktop and mobile. Use the insights they provide to make the necessary changes to your site, by hiring a contract developer or passing the information to your in-house team.
Make the web experience easy for travelers
Digital savvy travelers have browsed dozens, if not hundreds, of travel websites. They know what to expect and want to get the information they need or book the hotel room they want, quickly and easily. In fact, Google also found that 55 percent of travelers say they choose a brand based on how easy the website is to use.
That’s why, from checkout to navigation, you need to make it easy for potential customers to book their stay with you. Web experts at Selz share how you can build ease into the online experience of your visitors:
- Don’t force registration. Let visitors look around and browse before asking for personal information. While this may sound obvious, it’s tempting to ask for information immediately, so you can reach them if they leave the site. If that’s a strategy you want to employ, use remarketing instead.
- Make navigation easy. Keep it at the top of your page and make it consistent. For example, use sub-menus for each navigation button, not just one or two. This is especially important if you list many locations or room styles. Without consistency, the visitor is easily confused.
- Make the reservation process short and simple. “The more steps and information requested, the greater the friction, and the more sales you will lose as buyers abandon their purchase,” explains Selz.
Provide educational travel content
Your blog is a valuable tool to encourage booking, with more than 50 percent of travelers saying that they look for help and inspiration when planning their trip. What’s more, 65 percent of travelers said they’re influenced by educational content from travel brands.
Use your blog as a guidebook for digital savvy travelers who want recommendations and tips from the experts. There are many ways you can put this idea into action, so consider these different content types below and decide which ones are best for your brand and goals.
- Inspirational stories from current customers: How This Family of Four Traveled to Costa Rica With [Hotel Name]
- Travel tips for the regions where your hotel operates: 5 Most Luxurious Restaurants for a Romantic Trip to Honolulu
- Practical travel tips: Must-Have Minimalist Packing Tips Pack for a Family of Four
- Location inspiration: 10 Undeniable Reasons to Visit Orlando, Florida
- Location guides: What You Need to Know Before Traveling to San Diego, California
Don’t forget to keep bookings at the forefront of your content strategy, along with seasonal topics, which are an opportunity to drive targeted traffic on big holidays. Make your life easier by creating a quarterly content calendar - with a plan in place, you hold your team accountable and ensure you’re executing on the most effective strategy for your brand.
Technology has become an integral tool for traveling. Getting those digital savvy travelers—who know a lot and have more options than ever before - to convert on your site can be an ongoing challenge. Use these ideas to start making improvements to your site and show potential hotel guests that you’re the brand that they should choose.
|Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.|
You might also like: