Making Your Website Drive Traffic That Converts Into Bookings
By Pedro Colaco CEO & President, GuestCentric Systems | January 27, 2012
Website sales focus: the conduit to success
In the last article of this series we discussed tips for having success in online visibility and driving traffic to your site. The second indicator to ensure e-commerce success is making your website sales-oriented i.e. ensuring your website engages users and drives willingness to book. A sales-oriented website incents "good" visitors to book and filters out "bad" visitors.
The questions to ask about your website are:
- Is the website design representative of your property and the experience you sell?
- Is the website navigation easy and what the visitor expects in a hotel website? Do you keep visitors on your website or are you incenting them to navigate away from your property?
- Is the website a "brochure" or is there an actionable sales/book/contact message?
- Do you provide trust mechanisms to the visitor, e.g. do you embrace your TripAdvisor reviews?
- How many visitors are looking for rates and availability?
- Can you launch special offers without a 3rd party intervention? How can you react to demand changes?
Match site design to property experience
One of the most visible characteristics of your website is the design. This will be one of the more debated elements, and although an important one, it is not the decisive factor in a sales-oriented website. Hence, choose colors you like/dislike and a simple web design that matches the experience you convey at your property: charm, boutique, corporate designs are examples of styles you should choose from. Then, leave it up to the web designers; they are the professionals.
Website navigation and usability
Travelers searching for hotels want easy access to the relevant information. Avoid complex navigation, typically associated with bad usability. Navigation is not the area to innovate and try to be distinctive as it can lead to more visitors abandoning your website and not converting into bookings.