Currently, about 57% of all travel reservations are made online. Being able to tell your hotel’s story and guide your potential guest through the entire experience of your hotel is critical to your success. It’s an important factor in building an online conversation and increasing engagement with your business via your website.
Creating original, compelling content is a challenge. Some people find it an overwhelming task, but it’s critical to your success. Remember, your website plays a key role in creating perceptions and influencing prospective guests’ decision to book with you or not. The excellent Donald Miller calls this the “grunt test”. In effect, could a caveman understand what your web page is selling well enough to want it? If not, then your page doesn’t pass the grunt test! To read more about this intuitive metric for online content, click here.
The next question is how hospitality owners can adapt Donald’s theory for our world. I’ve written all about it below.
In this visual world, when someone sees an appealing product on sale, they buy it. The same thing happens in the hotel business. Quality visual content, such as photos and videos, is invaluable. Insufficient or absent visual content makes the customer assume that you have something to hide. This will automatically send your customer to tour competitors! Your website reflects your business. Missing out on proper presentation of online content is a fundamental error.
Select a design or theme that portrays your properties’ best features through imagery.
Show at least four photos of your accommodation. Remember to include the bathroom. Guests love to see what that looks like!
Invest in a professional photographer for pictures and videos. Don’t rely on your iPhone or your personal skill with a camera!
Keep your website updated. One of the primary errors hospitality owners make is not updating their website. Adding information during the website’s creation is not enough. That content will quickly age and attract fewer and fewer customers as time goes on. Designing a website is not the same as print advertising. You can’t just finish it once and leave it forever. Imagine how off-putting it would look if you had a photo of your building from the last decade!
Having outdated information, such as old special offers or particular festival menus, still running at the wrong time of the year will make your guests navigate away from your website. If your last blog post was, say, about 6 months ago, visitors are more likely to think that the business is no longer current. If you don’t have the time to update your information, outsource its upkeep! You must maintain your website as though it is a home into which you are welcoming guests. You wouldn’t want to make a first impression with a dusty and unkempt house. Don’t let your website get dusty either!
Create a special offer on your website and give that program a clear expiration date. Set reminders on your phone or computer to update this. (Incidentally, this is also a great use for IFTTT).
If you don’t have the time to update your website, outsource the work.
Unique Selling Point
Every successful business knows their USP, or “Unique Selling Point”. Establishing the USP is more difficult than many hoteliers think. However, once determined, it can be the difference between profit and failure. What are the elements that make your business different? You have to provide the customer with something so eye-catching and unusual that when your customers browse the net, your business stands out from all of the competition.
Make a list of unique services that you offer at your hotel
Make a list of attractions local to you
Once you figure out your USP, give your visitor a clear picture of what you have to offer. This alone will encourage your prospective guest to book with you.
If you can’t think of any USPs that you already have, then make some! One idea is to buy something to put in the guest’s room on arrival. This can be something particular to the area. For example, Scarborough-based businesses can collect Scarborough rock from the seafront in small bags and leave those in their guests’ rooms as decor.
Take advantage of your surroundings. Amelia’s Chocolates, for example, offers Chocolate Fish and Chips. This is a perfect treat that shows off a fun and different detail that a guest will remember for months to come.
Now it’s time to put these tips into action. I want you to open up your website. Ask yourself the following question: “Does my website pass the grunt test”?
Get training material on hotel marketing by clicking here.
Let me know how you get on!
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