270 of the Best Hospitality Conversion Rate Tricks to Beat the 2.27% Industry Average – PDF Included
Online our customer’s and guest’s expectations have grown exceedingly through the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with waiting transparency around cleanliness and sanitization standards. Digital savviness advanced for every generation, as Gen Z, Gen X, Millennials, and Boomers were all forced to turn to online outlets like Amazon, Walmart and even adopt online grocery delivery throughout the quarantine. These websites and apps are also continuously refining in their customer experience and influencing customer expectations and behaviors. It’s important as a resort hotelier or owner that you understand the need to now satisfy this elevated customer demand regarding their digital experience to effectively increase hotel bookings and occupancy rates.
We find that it is often difficult to fully understand the guest experience that you’re providing through your website when you’re looking at your own hotel or resort. Far too often we see hoteliers provide incredible guest experiences at their hotel, have immaculate designs, and delectable dishes but all of that never really translates to their online presence to attract and allure guests – at least not in a way that does them justice. This is a guide for hoteliers and owners that are wanting to look at the new trends and various ways that are most prone to providing the best online customer experience. The principles that are needed are an engaging design, having powerful messaging and positioning, creating social proof for validation, and incorporating conversion-oriented functionality at a high level.
Minimal Clicks to & Through Booking Engine: To create an online guest experience that converts, your design should be oriented around how to create an experience that simply reduces the amount of clicks it takes someone to select a room and book a stay. If, right now, you’re at eight clicks through the experience for someone to book a room, how can you reduce that to five or six for a stay to be booked. It’s important to look at where the experience may be too bulky and where you are losing customers. If you can make the process as seamless and as beneficial for them as possible, you’re going to reap the rewards of selling more products because you were intentional about facilitating a guest experience that was of value to them. You’re going to win.
High-Quality Photos & Video: Leave it to their imagination to see them in there 80% of the time. Let the images and videos do the storytelling for you. It’s important to show room features and amenities for them to see at a glance, rather than having to scroll through a description. Choose really great pictures with good lighting and angles to fully capture details like the size of the rooms. Photos and videos of the resort’s property, the destination, and the local area’s activities should also be included to ensure your guests have a good sense of what their hotel experience would look like.
Show Variations: The design should also include showing all the different room variations and views. Display all room orientation options (garden, partial oceanview, oceanfront, 1BR vs Studio). Showing variations allows for guests to compare rooms and potentially make the decision to upgrade to something nicer than they were originally intending. Also, show any packages that are available for purchase and the value of each. Local partners and activities (diving, local tours or airport transportation) will enhance your packages and detailed descriptions and images of what’s included will encourage guests to book.
Proper Category / Inventory Display: Because your hotel or resort is selling multiple variations and types of rooms, it’s important to decide how to organize and display your inventory. Include a category with any featured packages, deals, or promotions. You should consider the most intuitive and best user experience to showcase your rooms and amenities to your guests. Classifying your rooms by size, views, amenities, or duration of stay will enable your guests to easily find what they’re looking for.
‘On Brand’ & Engaging Call to Actions: The design components on your website should reflect the stylistic elements of your hotel property for consistency and an enhanced experience for guests. Call to Actions should also be included throughout the experience with unique icons or style elements that are different, memorable, and authentic.
Powerful Messaging & Positioning
Clear Benefits to Value, Experiences, and Activities on Property and Surrounding Area: Clearly articulating the benefits of your rooms and hotel to overcome a consumer’s pain is going to be the fastest way for them to book. Communicating the advantages of your hotel or resort through your website allows potential guests to understand the experience that will be provided to them. Humans won’t buy anything or take any action without first knowing how that purchase is going to benefit them. Be sure to describe the variety of programs, activities, and restaurants that are available both on property as well as the surrounding area.
Amenities, Features Add Value: There’s a difference between a hotel’s amenities and the benefits that help alleviate pain. Amenities and benefits are often coupled together, but the amenities are more about the hotel’s functionality and/or components that enhance it and differentiate it from other hotels and resorts in the industry. These features will encourage guests to choose your hotel over competitors.
Combined with Lifestyle & Product Photos & Video: These benefits and amenities should be combined into your lifestyle product and photography. Having motion graphics or visuals on top of your photography and videography can help in conveying your hotel and its benefits for people to quickly understand. This is especially important for hotels that are tailoring to the extended-stay guest who needs to know if the resort will work for them for multiple weeks or months.
Cause Marketing & Aligned Values with Donations: If your hotel donates to philanthropic causes or gives back in some way, how is that articulated? Clearly indicate if a certain percentage of funds go towards an organization and show guests how their stay will be making a difference. This is a great way to convey to your guests that we’re all able to come together and make a larger impact for the community.
Social Proof for Validation
Reviews & Testimonials: There are lots of ways through your website to create more influence and social validation for your resort and brand at large, two of them being reviews and testimonials. Although coupled together, a review would be about a room or service while a testimonial is more about the brand and the experience. These help potential customers get a better feel for the hotel and experience, and more trust is formed because the previous guest created social proof for the brand.
“As Seen On” Carousel: Various media outlets picking up your hotel or article creates immediate validation. Whether they’re hospitality, tourism outlets, or large notable ones that we all recognize like the New York Times or the Washington Post, it will build some of that trust and validity right off the bat.
Badges & Certifications: If your hotel has badges and certifications, include them on your website. This could be if your resort is LEED-certified, has sustainable practices, is committed to zero waste, partners with the local community, or anything similar that your company has spent their time and money on to be recognized for. This helps build social proof and shows that you’ve hit certain criteria that give you credibility. Your hotel and experiences uphold the values that society is demanding.
‘Know Before You Go’ or Map PDFs for Guests: “Know Before You Go” documents help guests prepare for their stays. It’s important that your guests have information on local resources like transportation, currency, SIM cards, banking, health care, grocery stores, etc. Map PDFs for guests will also be beneficial for helping them locate the hotel destination and for navigating around the property.
Show when others Book with Pop-Ups: Popups that indicate when another user is booking the same room creates a sense of urgency for potential guests. These can be on desktop or mobile, as well as notifications on the website for people actively searching. It’s human nature to feel pressure or jealousy when seeing others purchasing a product that you were considering for yourself. Humans have a fear of missing out and that can be used to boost hotel bookings.
Videos of other Events, Groups and Organizations booking MICE: Including videos of previous or other events on your property will enable guests to see if it would work for theirs. Include a variety of types of these that fit their meetings – conference, award ceremony, association event, wedding, family reunion, etc.
Create a Sense of Urgency – Countdown Timers & Limited-Time Offers: Countdown timers and limited inventory banners are also great ways to create a sense of urgency. Even though we know that we can go back tomorrow, that countdown timer still adds pressure. It works, we are human. If your hotel or resort truly is providing more value than your competitors, then it isn’t a bad thing to encourage users to commit.
Add Value: There are a lot of various ways to add value to your hotel or brand online like with guest profiles, discount programs, memberships, a feeling community, etc. Adding value to your hotel will give it meaning to your customer and will encourage purchases.
Purposeful Popups & Email Capture: Create value for people that are interested in your hotel or resort with pop-ups and email capture. Feeling a sense of urgency will encourage potential guests to book the stay that they were considering.
Show Discounts or Savings Clearly: Be sure to clearly indicate if a room or package is on sale and be specific about the exact amount your guest will be saving. Clearly showing that a certain room is 20% off or $40 helps people understand what kind of MSRP versus your cost is and knowing what they’re saving makes them more prone to book.
Upsell Offers – Spa, Activities, Tours, Cars or Transport, etc: Conversion-oriented functionality upsells such as spa or activity packages, or providing transportation add value to what the guest is ultimately going to need anyways.
Powerful & Authentic Call to Actions: There needs to be an emphasis on authenticity and on not being too salesy. There are many fun and creative ways of employing engaging ways to invite people to book a stay at your hotel while staying authentic. These Call-to-Actions need to be strategically placed throughout the site and will then increase your desired outcome of conversions.
All of these are great tactics that will assist you in boosting conversions and increasing bookings. Focusing on an engaging design, powerful messaging & positioning, social proof, and conversion-oriented functionality will refine and highlight the user experience for your guests. As digital savviness continues to grow, it’s more important than ever for your hotel or resort to consider the user experience and to implement it into your site. It’s critical that hoteliers and owners understand the need to now satisfy this elevated customer demand as far as their digital experience. If you need help along the way, SoCap is here to help.
Download our Ultimate Hospitality Website Conversion Checklist PDF Here to beat the 2.27% Industry Average