How to Scare Off Online Prospects... Without Really Trying
By John Federman CEO, eStara | January 27, 2012
Hotel operators have been, for the most part, aggressive and smart in offering potential customers information about their properties online. In fact, the Web and e-commerce play such a central role in attracting customers, we often don't think about how a Website might actually turn off prospective clients.
I'm a frequent traveler - hundreds of flights, countless hotel rooms and entirely too much time spent with unhelpful online booking services. The frustration has driven me to be disloyal to many well-known brands. My profile makes me the exact target customer that all of you are trying to reach. I travel all over the country several days a week. So I have a few helpful tips that might help you create stronger, more loyal relationships with frequent business travelers like me.
Hotels in the U.S. generated more than $105.3 billion in revenue last year. That number is expected to grow according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. That said, here are five Website missteps that that are sure to turn off your customers, before you've even spoken with them.
1) DRIVING THE PROCESS DOWN A SINGLE PATH
Many hotel websites make the mistake of assuming to understand every possible objection customers may have and refuting them. How so? By making the customer proceed down one path without offering any options as to when or where they can book or contact you for information.
According to Jupiter Research, cost reduction strategies for hotels include encouraging direct online bookings, yet consumers making bookings still prefer online travel agencies (OTAs) and hotel phone reservation systems to hotel websites. Why is that? Because they're more flexible when it comes to working with the booker's needs.
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