Given the current economical climate a lot of hotel chains and family run hotels are suffering as people are pinching the pennies and are less likely to go away for a nice weekend break on impulse. An easy and cheap way to improve your site view to booking ratio is to make sure you not only maintain your website but also strive to continually improve it and engage your site visitors with easy to find information and clear, up to date, hotel photography.
Here is a list of pitfalls that I have seen a lot of hotel sites fall in to over the last few months planning my honeymoon.
No pricing information on your website
“We don’t want our tariffs on our site just in case the price puts people off booking”
Wait, what? The lack of pricing information on your website is precisely what puts people off booking – people like to make shortlists and notes about where they are going to stay, not providing them with such basic information as how much it is going to cost to stay is like owning a car garage and not putting the price of the cars in their windows on the forecourt.
No online booking system
1998 it isn’t. There are plenty of cheap options out there for the smallest B&B to huge international chains, you don’t need to pay a local web agency tons of cash to write a bespoke system for you. The added advantage of using a system like booking.com is that they constantly update and maintain their system – at no added cost to you.
A poorly maintained booking system
So you’re in the 21st century, well done, but you haven’t logged in to your booking system since you set it up. Fail. As a bare minimum set your standard rate for all future dates, you can always change it later. I’ve seen plenty of hotels who all seem to be fully booked for every day of July 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Small or non-existent images of your rooms
People like to see where they will be staying, tiny thumbnails of images are fine as long as they are clickable to a larger view (ask your website designer to add a “lightbox” to the images if you have high resolution versions available). Whilst I haven’t conducted any research in to the matter I’m sure that if you researched the size of the room images compared to the number of site visitors that then went on to book the hotel there would be a strong correlation between large images and large number of bookings.
Lots of room pictures, but no actual picture of the room
So you have a lovely collection of large room images, hurrah! There isn’t actually a single overview picture of the room, or even the bed or bathroom? Oh dear. Arty close up shots of the room features are fine, but only showing a depth of field tweaked image of your 19th century chair in the corner and not showing off the rest of the room is a big no-no.
Poor presence on TripAdvisor
I don’t mean negative reviews (although they don’t help) I mean you haven’t set up a profile, you don’t respond to customer feedback, both positive and negative. TripAdvisor is like another member of your front of house staff now, treat it like one – look after it and respond to the feedback it gives you. Has it been five years since you decorated and a lot of reviews are mentioning how dated the place is looking? That’s a pretty strong hint if you ask me.
Having a website is not just a case of sticking it up and leaving it to rot – you should look after your website like you look after your hotel guests otherwise potential guests are going to wonder; if this is how much care you put in to your marketing and brand image are you going to care about my stay and what I say to friends and family?