Don’t Make These 10 Common Mistakes on Your Hotel Website

By Tema Frank CEO, Frank Reactions | December 07, 2014

Hotels owners worldwide are frustrated by the huge bite online booking sites like Trip Advisor and are taking out of their profits. Only 65% of bookings are now made directly on a hotel or hotel chain’s website and for many small hotels the number is probably even worse, so you can’t afford to snub these sites. At the same time, you want to encourage as many people as possible to book directly with you, so you don’t have to pay those nasty commissions. One way to do that is to make sure you’ve got a great website.1) Sadly, too many hotels are still making basic mistakes on their websites that are undermining their chances of getting customers to book with them directly. Here are some of the main ones:

1. Not Mobile-Friendly

Even sites that have already got all the basics of a good website covered are often messing up on mobile. If your website isn’t set up to work well on cell phones and tablets, you are going to miss a growing chunk of business. Mobile devices are already being used for 21% of online hotel bookings, and then number is increasing quickly.2)

When it comes to something as complex as booking a hotel, a mobile site that is just a shrunken version of your regular site won’t work. It has to be easy for people not only to find the information they want on a small screen, but also to click links and enter information easily. You don’t want them getting frustrated by the “fat fingers” problem – pressing the wrong links by mistake because everything is bunched too close together.

Make sure your site has been tested on all the major types of devices and display sizes. Often things that work fine on your regular site, like a chat box, or a photo, may totally mess up the layout on a cell phone. It may end up covering the crucial parts of your site that they need to see and use to book. There are free sites like Screenfly ([][1]8(1)) that can help you test. It is good to try it on more than one test site, though, because results may vary.

With new screen sizes coming out all the time, you need to check again every few months. One of the biggest challenges facing designers now is the introduction of “smart watches”. Imagine having to make your website work on a watch-sized screen.

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.