The online world might feel like it’s changing every day, but a professional website is still (and will continue to be) the cornerstone of any business’s internet presence. It’s responsible for showcasing your property to the world, communicating credibility to interested parties, and facilitating direct bookings. A hotel website can make or break your business, so it’s essential that you’re using it well. Here are five important features that will help your website reach its full potential:
Being successful as a hotel means making bookings⏤so of course, your website should be equipped to do that as simply and seamlessly as possible. Be sure to use an online booking engine with a widget you can embed directly in your hotel website. Allowing customers to search for availability quickly will reduce user frustration and increase conversions. More direct bookings mean more profit for you!
A few years ago, we blogged about chatbots, naming them a tech trend to look out for in the future. It seems that future has arrived as chatbots have fast become a staple of hotel websites. The AI software is an excellent way to guide users down the purchasing funnel. When a simple question arises (be it about dates, amenities, or anything else), it can be answered immediately. Without the inconvenience of having to make a call or lag-time associated with sending an email, a user is much less likely to abandon a booking.
Potential guests want to know where your property is in relation to other businesses, attractions, and transportation. Include a map of your hotel’s location in the contact section of your property’s website. This will ensure users don’t have to click away from your web page, in search of more information about your hotel.
It’s best to include a map that is large and interactive. Embedding Google Maps will allow users to access directions with a simple click of the button.
This likely goes without saying, but consumers today rely heavily on the recommendations of their peers. Glowing reviews online convince potential customers that you are the real deal, which is particularly important for independent hotels that can’t rely on global brand recognition. While positive content on third-party sites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews does a lot for your brand, adding social proof directly to your website can be a big help as well. Users often visit a property’s website at a critical point in their purchasing journey, and seeing a 5-star testimonial at that moment can inspire them to follow through with a booking.
Most review sites offer widgets that can display content and ratings made via their platforms. The same is true for social media pages. Consider embedding your Instagram or twitter feed within your website to showcase your active engagement with guests online.
It’s easy to get caught up in showcasing the best of your property (and you should!) but don’t forget that to score bookings you also have to sell your location. “Why should I visit this city?” has to come before, “why should I choose this hotel to access this city?” Consider dedicating a page of your website to highlighting and celebrating the local culture, attractions, and businesses. It’ll help sell your locality as a must-visit destination, and prove that your business has the community involvement necessary to provide the best and most immersive experience.
A local insights page is also a great space for posting fresh new content. You can make regular updates about events and activities going on in the area, offering valuable information for your guests while improving SEO.
Your property’s website is an incredibly powerful tool. Ensure you include all the necessary features to make the most of its potential.