Designing for Conversion in the Booking Tunnel

By Drew Rosser VP of Business Development, Whiteboard Labs | July 01, 2010

There are so many ways to engage a potential customer or a repeat customer. Any Web site must combine technology, content and creative in order to lead the consumer into the Booking Tunnel. It is how you apply the integration of these to support a guest experience focused on conversion at every phase in the consumer buying cycle. I would work on creating more of a vortex than a tunnel.

I am still amazed or maybe a better expression is frustrated with hotel sites that still have the online brochure approach to their design, content and technology use. In this age of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor, Yelp….. you would think that hotel sites would begin to take note and design their sites to engage the consumer in a way that they try to do on these various other sites. Creating that feel of communication is very important coupled with a design that engages and entices. Draw people in and have the stickiness to keep them and convert them. Once that sense of loyalty is established you must not stop there. That moment is one of the most critical. You must continuously engage your loyal consumers in order to keep them interested in you and promoting you.

First and foremost, you need to get eyeballs to your site. There are a myriad of basic best practices to be used in order to do this; solid search engine optimization, a well implemented internet marketing strategy (do not do the shot gun approach), email marketing, word of mouth and so on. Now that you have someone on the site, stickiness and conversion are the things you want to happen. Keep in mind conversion does not just mean putting heads in beds. Your conversion opportunities need to address more than just that. Convert viewers to loyalty program members, to sign up to receive your monthly e-newsletter, send video post cards to friends and family, buy from your online store.

Here are the steps or the path you want your viewers to take:

  1. Pedestrian to Web Visitor
  2. Visitor to Researcher
  3. Researcher to Buyer
  4. Buyer to Guest/Promoter
  5. Guest/Promoter to Participant
  6. Participant to Fan
  7. Fan to Member

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Every step has a purpose. You build enthusiasm and confidence along the way. By step 6 and certainly 7 you have secured what should be a life long user of your product as well as someone who be promoting you.

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.