To drive more direct bookings and optimize revenue, hotel websites should offer experiences to their visitors that will convert them into customers.
Web visitors need to be inspired when looking for their next holiday, they aren’t just looking for a hotel, they are seeking a great experience in the destination. A beautiful and modern design helps to sell that kind of experience by combining hotel offers with local attractions. Key for your successful implementation of your direct distribution channel is a easy to understand, fast, responsive and modern website.
Once your visitors get inspired, they should be navigated seamlessly through the website and booking process to optimise their overall shopping experience and your sales.
What holds many small independent hotels back?
Top of the list is certainly the little know-how towards modern technology, how to find trustworthy support, limited amount of time and a small budget. However, in this article we have defined solutions for those problems, hotel websites should no longer be considered a “set and forget” initiative.
For too long, independent hotels have made use of their websites as digital online brochures without dedicating the time and resources needed to optimize their performance as a distribution channel. They always found it easier to get the OTAs do the job for them as they could do it more efficiently despite the high cost of distribution involved.
Today, technology enables hoteliers to obtain the same e-commerce performance as the OTAs in their hotel website which would become their distribution channel with the lowest cost. Opportunity is there for the taking.
Digital Transformation is easier than you think
Digital transformation for an independent hotel will simply consist in converting their hotel website into a high-performing e-commerce platform or, in order words, an effective low cost distribution channel.
Further to the savings in distribution costs that can be obtained by getting more direct bookings, hotels will also gain an additional important factor: Guest Information. The Guest Data will enable Hoteliers to communicate directly with their guests, learn about their needs and preferences, obtain feedback and retarget customers after their stay. The three golden terms to follow are:
Guest Engagement: Get your visitors to engage with you via Social Media and your Website to get them excited about your products.
Guest Acquisition: Provide a seamless digital shopping experience so that website visitors can easily be turned into actual guests.
Guest Retention: Make use of your Guest Data and turn ex-customer into returning customers.
The main challenge to succeed in this with those rules comes from the fact that hotels traditionally source their booking engine from one partner and their website from another. If these two parties are not aligned, which happens most of the times, the hotel website will most likely fail to convert visitors into customers.
So what could be the overall solution?
The best solution for a small independent hotel is to find a partner that can provide both technology that meets your specific needs and furthermore has industry expertise under one single point of contact. This kind of partnership will not only save time on coordination, it will also be adapted to the budget and also ensures that the hotel investment obtains the best return.