September 25, 2017 · Stuart Butler
Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 63 – How To Make Your Hotel Website More Effective By Answering Questions
Why do hotels need a website? Essentially, your website’s job is to close the uncertainty gap, which results in the casual shopper becoming a customer. In order to close the uncertainty gap, your website must anticipate and answer questions that the shopper is likely to have during the research and purchase process.
So, why do the vast majority of shoppers not convert to bookers? Conversion rate on a leisure hotel’s website can be 1-5%. Meaning between 95-99% of website visitors are not booking online during that session.
If you answer the shoppers’ questions effectively, you will likely see your conversion rate increase and the number of phone calls you receive decrease. The people who come to your site are obviously interested in your offering. It’s your website’s job to nurture those shoppers into bookers.
In this episode of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast, we look at the questions that your hotel website should be answering in order to help your website visitors become loyal guests.
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The 5 key goals of a great hotel website:
- Create a great first impression and make the shopper feel welcome
- Persuade the shopper that they would be comfortable and secure at your property
- Show the shopper the benefits of staying at your property and that you offer everything they need
- Remove any doubt or fear that the shopper may have and reassure them that they are making a good decision
- Make it easy for the guest to navigate the site and book (on any device)
The best way to accomplish these goals is to have a modern responsive site that is kept up to date and that anticipates and answers every potential question that may occur during the research process. Here are some of the key types of questions that your website should be addressing:
1. Is it the right location for me?
- What city and state is your hotel located in?
- What’s the relative location to specific landmarks (beach, shopping, attraction, etc)?
- What’s the immediate vicinity like and what’s nearby?
- How do I get to the property?
- How far is it from the airport?
- What are my public transportation options?
- Does the property offer shuttle service?
2. Is it the right property for me?
- Are the rooms clean?
- Are the public spaces clean?
- Is the staff friendly?
- Who are typical guests of this property?
- Did other guests have a good experience at the property?
- What do other guests like about the property?
- What are the water features like?
- What’s the gym like?
- What’s the business center like?
- What’s the spa like?
- What dining options does the property offer (especially breakfast)?
- Does the property offer room service?
- Where’s the nearest coffee shop?
3. What room should I pick?
- What are the room layout options?
- What do the rooms look like?
- How big are the rooms?
- How many people can sleep in the room?
- What’s the bed configuration for the room?
- How many bathrooms are in the room?
- Is there a shower or a tub?
- How up to date is the furniture?
- What’s the view from the room?
- What amenities are in the room?
- Does the room have an iron and ironing board?
- Does the room have a fridge/freezer?
- Does the room have a microwave?
- Does the room have a coffee machine?
- Does the room have a hair dryer?
- Does the room have internet connectivity?
- Does the room has a safe?
- What technology is in the room? (USB ports, bluetooth, etc)
- Is the wi-fi free?
- Is the room handicap accessible?
- Is the room smoke-free?
- Is the room pet-friendly?
- How comfortable are the beds?
4. Are these the right dates for me and is now the right time to book?
- What’s going on during my specific dates on property?
- What’s going on in the nearby area during specific dates?
- What can I get to eat/drink on property during specific dates?
- What time do things open on property?
- What’s the weather like this time of year?
- Will the room I want be sold out if I wait too long?
- Does the price change if I don’t book today?
- Does the price change if i change my dates?
5. What’s this going to cost me and am I getting the best value?
- How much does it cost?
- Do I get my money’s worth?
- Are there special discounts for seniors/military/teachers/government/AAA/…
- What is included in the cost?
- What isn’t included and how much will that cost?
- How is the price compared to other properties?
- Can I find the same property cheaper somewhere else?
- What’s the benefit of booking on this website vs. somewhere else?
- How much is due at booking?
- When is the balance due?
- What’s the cancellation policy?
- Is parking free?
- Is there a loyalty program?
- What are the payment options?
- Will the rates go up after I book?
- What did other people pay for the same room?
- What is the ______ (resort, city, etc) fee?
6. I booked, but do I regret my decision?
Once they’ve booked, you should still anticipate their questions and answer them. This will cut down on phone calls and also set expectations with your guest, which leads to a lower cancellation rate and higher satisfaction scores.
- What time is check-in/out?
- Where do I park?
- Is parking free?
- Where do I check in?
- Does the property offer mobile check-in?
- Who do I contact if I have a question?
- Is there valet parking?
- Where are the luggage carts?
- Can I use the amenities before check-in?
- Is there somewhere I can leave my luggage?
Each property and location will likely have it’s own set of unique questions. Talk to your reservation staff, talk to your guests, talk to your house keepers. Make a list of the questions that are asked and ensure that your website is answering all of them.
- Ask existing guests why they decided to stay with you and leverage that knowledge to entice new guests
- Address the main questions on every major landing page throughout the site
- Build an FAQ page on your site
- Use Social Proof, FOMO and other psychological tactics to persuade your guest
- Ensure that your site is easy to use and mobile friendly
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