Optimize Your Website to Take Back Your Online Customers
By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | May 22, 2011
2011 is the year that hotels start to take back their online customers. The trend today is to drive your customers away from commission-based OTAs and steer them back to a property's direct site – after all, they've been gone far too long.
While there are quite a few ways to bring customers back to booking direct, a hotel must make sure consumers stay "clicked" into their website and booking process. By whatever means a property gets them there, once they do arrive on the virtual doorstep, the website needs to reassure potential customers and sell them on booking with the property.
Accomplish this by optimizing the website to ensure that it's user-friendly and focused on creating bookers, rather than just lookers. Optimization involves using the best current practices – like the ones included in this article - to maximize user response to the website. Here are some of the best practices of hotel website optimization:
Update, Update, Update-Frequently
Some optimization "techniques" are not really techniques at all. These general optimization tips can be applied to virtually any hotel site immediately-they're simply tried-and-true website fundamentals.
Updating a property's website frequently to reflect changes in offers, packages, and amenities is of the utmost importance. It may not seem like a technical "optimization," but giving the website an up-to-date look and feel will assure customers that your property is up-to-date as well. Think of your website as online "decor": if your foyer was decorated most recently in 1999, customers will make the assumption that 1999 was the last time you changed bedding as well-unfortunate, but true. It's the same with your website coding and design; 1999 is so 20 years ago!