Ten Powerful Secrets to Improve the Web Site Experience

By Cid Jenkins Vice President, ATG's eStara | January 27, 2012

Below, I offer ten strategic secrets to help improve the customer experience for visitors to your Web site, and thus grow online bookings and increase your ability to strengthen longer term customer loyalty.

1. Be booker-friendly

Simply having a static Web site for your hotel is not enough. Your Web site needs to be able to easily handle online bookings for your guests. Both business and leisure travelers are looking to go to your Web site and quickly find what they are looking for. When a guest turns to your Web site, reservation information (including pricing rates, accommodations and any upcoming deals or promotions) should be readily available (and easily searched).

In the event that either a leisure or business traveler is pressed for time, you don't want to risk losing a guest because she can't quickly book her trip. Remember, the competition is just a click away.

2. Let your guests give back

Shoppers and travelers alike are increasingly influenced by hotel reviews and comments from their peers. Giving your guests the option to post reviews and / or comments to your Web site about their experience at your hotel allows your guests to form a community around your brand. It also gives your management team insight into issues that might require attention, and provides an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction by acting on and responding to customer feedback.

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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.