What do Your Web Site Users and Customers Really Want?

By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012

Off-the-shelf behavioral tracking solutions can help you watch what your customers and visitors are doing but to really understand what is going on in their hearts and minds, you have to communicate with them. You have to listen to them and one of the best ways is getting feedback from them - feedback from potential customers as well from your most valued visitors - the online bookers.

On the net, the user is king and you should be using your site to engage them in a dialogue. You can't assume by simply watching what they do that you know what they are thinking. Even more important, every opportunity you give your customers and visitors to interact with you is another opportunity to extend your relationship with them and increase lifetime customer value. It builds goodwill and fosters a sense of community that is so critical if you want to increase visit frequency to your site.

There are many ways to listen to your visitors.

The first and most obvious is to ask users for input. You might want to think about placing a "feedback" button on every page of your site or in the site's navigation bar. Every touch point is another opportunity to collect user feedback. Depending on the nature and structure of your site, you may want to solicit customers, visitors, or both. If you do provide this feature you must ensure that people who have submitted comments or require feedback receive response within 24 hours. It is also an excellent idea to acknowledge their feedback, even by using auto-responder type e-mail.

Once you have this feedback in hand, you should be monitoring it on a weekly basis to identify potential problem areas with your site. Keep an eye out for new technology coming into the hospitality marketplace that will allow you to identify trends and issues based on the analysis of free form feedback. You'll be able to quickly and easily analyze open-ended comments from thousands of visitors to identify problem areas on your site or with your hotel.

Another option is to randomly select customers and request feedback on their most recent experience at your site. I suggest you invite them to complete an online questionnaire using a pop-up invitation or make the request from a section on your home page. Please remember that your visitors have other things on their minds and that if you want them to answer questions, make your questionnaire short, easy to complete and totally anonymous.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.