Improving Hotel Website Conversion Rates with A/B Testing

by Alyssa Fate

Your business is booming (or at least we hope it is) and you’ve built an impressive new website to help elevate your success. You briefly sit back, kick your feet up and suddenly realize that consumers are constantly advancing, so shouldn’t your website be, too?

The recipe to understanding consumers’ actions is a complex one, filled with a long list of fresh ingredients. From new technology to seasonality, B2C businesses are tasked with following the constant ebb and flow of a consumer-driven market. This means that B2C businesses must continue to adapt their websites based on their consumers’ ever-changing wants and needs.

A stagnant website will result in a stagnant conversion rate.

Aside from the indispensable value that you should already be providing to your consumer, there are a number of components (betwixt a long list) that influence conversion rate. Conversion rate optimization has become increasingly important in providing a frictionless website experience. A/B testing (comparing two versions of a single variable) can be used to help achieve the best conversion rate possible.

As digital marketers with an increased knowledge of the inner workings of a website, we cannot assume to know how a consumer might navigate.  A/B testing can improve the user-friendliness of a hotel website and streamline the conversion process. Whether your goal is to grow subscriptions, capture email addresses, gain survey responses, multiply video views or increase revenue, A/B testing has become essential in determining what drives the consumer’s decision-making process.

Businessman analyzes page data

Determining what to A/B Test on my Hotel Website

Our marketing experts have skimmed the surface of a sea of possibilities to provide the less experienced some good starting points among the immense depths of A/B testing.

1. Device Testing

2. Time Delay Testing

3. Testing Verbiage or Copy

4. Placement Testing

5. Color or Typography Testing

6. Testing Creative

7. Landing Page Testing

9. Testing Booking Process Variables

10. Form Field Testing

1. Device Testing

Consider your personal use of devices. Do you make use of your large desktop monitor the same way that you use your mobile device? Compare the screen size of your iPhone 14 to Apple’s new iPad Pro. Do the elements of your website look the same?

Consumers are now spread across an extensive collection of device types, sizes and even brands. Take this into account when setting up your test. Consumers on a tablet may have different intentions than those on a desktop device. Further – look at your data and determine where the majority of your traffic and / or revenue is coming from.

Does your test make sense serving all device types? Does it display neatly across all browser sizes? The same A/B test may provide different winning variants on separate device types.

2. Time Delay Testing

If you browse the internet you’ve most likely encountered a first-time visitor pop-up on a website. This tried-and-true method is deemed irritating by many, but is a marketer’s go-to in achieving a variety of goals. (Be sure to follow Google’s new mobile guidelines for intrusive interstitials).

One way to employ A/B time delay testing on your hotel website is to serve immediate and delayed versions of the same pop-up. The delayed version offers consumers a chance to check out what your website is all about and determine if the value you can provide is worth committing to. Make sure your value is clearly stated in the areas a consumer can search within the controlled time delay.

A good way to determine the delay would be to review the average time spent on a page. Try a 50/50 split where variant A receives the pop-up immediately and variant B receives the pop-up 20 seconds after being on the site.

3. Testing Verbiage or Copy

Testing website copy is a simple and effective method of improving conversion rates. Here you can test headlines, calls to action, length of copy and so much more.

Try switching it up and invoking a sense of urgency in your calls to action with words like HURRY and EXCLUSIVE. Or, convey value by incorporating words like FREE and SALE.

4. Placement Testing

Testing the placement of sign-up forms, buttons, links, navigation items and more can revive your website and improve your conversion rates. Take a good look at your data and establish your placement testing on the most active areas of your web pages.

5. Color or Typography Testing

Did you know that the colors and typography on your website could impact your conversion rate (and ADA compliance efforts)? Consumers often experience difficulty navigating hotel websites with hard-to-read fonts or low-contrast colors.

Review your goals and test colors or fonts based on what you want to achieve. Are you targeting families at the beach? Try testing a fun, legible font or bright colors that compliment each other and grab the consumer’s attention to make a lasting impression.

6. Testing Creative

We’ve already chronicled the importance of good website photography, but if you don’t believe us test it out! Testing a creative aspect of your website can include images, logos, videos and more.

Test complex versus simple designs or look to market trends to generate possible hypotheses. A recent trend that has piqued my interest is wielding UGC, or user-generated content, to improve conversion rates. Try testing traditional images against UGC that incorporate your product or service to help humanize your brand. Or, test still images against video content or 3D tours of your hotel accommodations.

7. Landing Page Testing

Another effective conversion rate optimization tactic is landing page testing. Set up an A/B landing page test from calls to action on your website to determine the most compelling content to increase goal completions.

Check out our four steps to success for testing landing pages.

8. A/B Testing Your Booking Process

If your hotel booking software supports it, we suggest A/B testing throughout your conversion funnel. Try testing

  • A variety of room image types
  • Test low rates against a strikethrough rate
  • Featured room type versus no featured room type
  • Room description verbiage
  • Test adding third-party software that introduce new features to your booking experience

9. Form Field Testing

Consumer data is invaluable if you can capture it online. Form submissions are one of our three most important Google Analytics goals for hotels. Once a site visitor has made it to a form, they could be turned off by the length of your form or the questions you’re asking.

Experiment with different form fields to maximize your submission rate and improve your data collection efforts.

Multivariate Testing for your Hotel Website

Combine any of the above elements, sprinkle in some magical developer dust and voilà: Multivariate Testing for your hotel website.

Multivariate testing is a technique for testing a hypothesis in which multiple variables are modified. The goal of multivariate testing is to determine which combination of variations performs the best out of all of the possible combinations.

An example of multivariate testing would be testing the color and placement of a new button.

  • Variant A would receive a blue button on the left.
  • Variant B would receive a blue button on the right.
  • Variant C would receive a green button on the left.
  • Variant D would receive a green button on the right.

Whether you’re testing two or more variants, testing can be tricky. Remember to always form your hypotheses around data and test in a high-traffic season to see the best possible conversion rates.

Hotel Website A/B Testing Graphic

A/B Testing Tools for your Hotel Website

There is an assortment of A/B testing tools, plugins and platforms available to help improve the conversion rate of your hotel website.

Here are our top five A/B testing tools:

  1. Google Optimize
  2. Visual Website Optimizer
  3. Optimizely
  4. OptinMonster
  5. Unbounce

You can also check out our top 10 WordPress plugins for hotel websites.

Looking for additional ways to improve and optimize conversion rates on your hotel website? Consider implementing Clarity, Microsoft’s revolutionary user behavior analytics tool.

Ready to set up your first hotel website A/B test? TravelBoom can help. Contact us today for a free evaluation or to learn more.

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