Understanding Just Who Visits Your Site and Why
By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012
He calls the front desk and no responds. After several attempts he does reach them. They apologize and tell him that someone will be up shortly to change his room. Fifteen minutes later (which to him seems like forever) a porter shows up and takes him over to another room, which upon entering, has obviously not been made up. Is he ever going to return to your hotel?
Well the same can be said for your web site. The degree to which you successfully understand who your web site users are, what makes them tick, what their key drivers of satisfaction are, and what they value and what they want most - in other words, taking the time to listen to them and respond to their online experience, will determine the success of your online initiative. To successfully build long-term loyalty and generate increased sales from the web channel, your web site must be able to emulate the same relationship development characteristics that you employ with all person-to-person direct channels. Amongst other things, this means you must be able to establish a loyalty relationship with your user/ customer and quickly and easily respond to their needs and wants. The successful conversion of a first time visitor to a buyer or loyal user, especially in a medium that allows visitors to abandon a transaction by simply clicking out of the site, should be your organization's web site ROI benchmark.
Our clients in the hospitality sector including such well know brands as Holiday Inn, Savoy, Radisson, InterContinental, and Omni Hotels accomplish this task by using a proprietary User Satisfaction Model supported by a strategic framework, and a unique system of processes, tools and question sets that allow them to listen to, understand and profile their web site visitors.
The feedback they receive from their actual online visitors is mapped to a strategic behavioral framework made up of key Site Dimensions including content, navigation, interactivity, and motivation and Site Attributes such as trust, privacy, speed, and language. This model allows site owners to be able to understand the differences in visitor levels of site satisfaction and why they rate the site differently. Your site may make a lot of sense and provide a high level of user satisfaction to a business traveler who is using it every week, but a first time visitor may not be able to get past the first few pages without getting lost. If you want to turn that first time visitor into a repeat customer you must be able to satisfy their needs as well. And you can't even begin to segment your web site strategies until you get a handle on this critical data.
Well-designed sites in the hospitality sector are diversified in the services they provide, yet they are created to provide ease of use for first time users as well as experienced more loyal customers. It is vitally important that your users be able to access the content they are looking for, and that, when they find it, it is relevant to their needs.
Something else to think about when looking at understanding just who is coming to your site is that the true ROI of analyzing web site user feedback in the hospitality sector comes from converting users of lesser value into more valuable users and increasing for example a site's "look to book" ratio or moving first time users to repeat users.