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October 9, 2019

Building A Better Hotel Website, Part 4: Website Conversions

Attracting attention to your property via the website is half the battle. The other half is getting people to use the site to book with you.

Relatively few site visitors actually book. As one travel consultant noted, if a hotel's getting 5% conversion, they're "thrilled" by that. Brick and mortar stores regularly get in the 30s. But that's the nature of the online beast.

So how to get as many conversions as you can?

It's going to take some effort. Hey if it were easy everyone would have wonderful conversion rates. It's not easy. How badly do you want your conversion rates to improve?

First, you have to know a bit about the digital customer journey. People get Ph. D.'s and run consultancies in this, it gets complex fast, but the basics are simple: Are people looking at your site when they're still wondering where to go for vacation, or are they looking at your site when they want to book a room? There are two different site presentations there.

Find out as much as you can from your actual guests about when in their trip planning they used your site, and tailor your site to that stage in the customer journey.

Secondly, make the booking process as simple as possible. Go through the booking process on your site yourself or get a friend to, and look for any steps that can be eliminated,. Look for where more information would make things clearer and simpler. Reduce the number of steps required. Show guests clearly where they are in the process -- "You're on step 3, only two more to go!" Pay close attention to the questions you get, that shows you what's unclear, where guests are getting hung up and frustrated in the process.

And thirdly, make sure you're using the right technology. There are plenty of affordable options for hotel booking systems out there, the one you're using might not be ideal for you. Poke around online a bit, or ask for a consultant to give you some advice. Just because what you have now "works" doesn't mean something else couldn't be working better.

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