First impressions are very important in any situation, but especially in travel. When it comes to a guests first impression of your hotel, it doesn’t happen when they walk in the door and check-in; it starts when they visit your hotel website.
If your website makes it difficult or time-consuming for a customer to book, or is aesthetically ugly and distracting, it’s likely they’ll never see the decorous interior of your property because they’ll be staying somewhere else!
Here are the five biggest website issues from that you need to avoid, courtesy of Siteminder:
1. No up-to-date design and functionality
If you haven’t updated your website in the last few years, chances are it’s outdated and lagging behind. The three must-haves in this mobile-first age are:
A mobile-friendly website that features a responsive page design.
A site that loads quickly. (In fact, 64% of smartphone users expect pages to load in less than four seconds.)
A site that offers travellers the information they both want and need (and a quick way to find it).
A website that can attract guests on any device and convert lookers into bookers is vital to your success online.
2. No secure payment and booking process
Handing over credit card details and personal information to an unsecure website can be truly horrifying. Your hotel’s online payment portal needs to be provided by a PCI DSS compliant technology supplier.
This is a guaranteed secure way to accept payments online from your guests, and it will increase your guests’ trust in your brand. Having a payment process that your guests trust is one of the most important elements of your booking experience.
Research shows that two thirds of US travellers are nervous about being redirected to pay indicating that they are less likely to trust a hotel website and complete the booking. Reassure your guests on your website where you can.
3. No reviews to be found
If travellers are searching TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google and can’t find a single review of your hotel, they are going to question why. Instead of letting your guests feel like they are flying blind while they are searching for feedback about your hotel, focus on generating positive online reviews from previous guests.
Use automated emails to invite reviews, and regularly engage with your audience on social media. One great way to encourage reviews is to display your awards and certificates of excellence – make sure your website creator and editor that can facilitate this and showcase your hotel’s achievements.
Brush up on your reputation management skills by clicking here and learning to get more positive guest reviews.
4. No inspiring photos or online gallery
A couple of thumbnail photos of the rooms and amenities that you offer isn’t going to convince anyone to book with you. Create a gallery filled with high-resolution photos that showcase every aspect, view and detail from your property. Click here to see an example of a great photo gallery or download our free website design eBook that can help you create beautiful images using just your smartphone.
5. No option to book direct with you
Nothing will disappoint a guest more than realising they’re unable to make a booking via your website. Travellers today want to book direct with hotels in a way that is convenient for them. This means a way to self-serve, no matter what device they’re booking through.
We’ve written lots of blog posts about direct bookings and you can click here to learn the crucial elements of an airtight direct booking strategy.
Another important consideration for your website is your google search ranking. Search engine optimisation is one of the key aspects of making your hotel website visible to as many travellers as possible.