Okay, it’s time. Step numero 3!
Once again, we are talking about the five steps of a guests booking process: the physiological route that your customers take before deciding where to spend their money. In the last two posts, I covered the first two steps: PLAN and RESEARCH. If you haven’t read those entries yet, I recommend doing so prior to this post so you can get up to speed. If you’re already caught up, read on.
(Check out first stage of guest booking process here.
Here’s the second stage of guest booking process.)
Step 3: DECIDE
Our next step, DECIDE, happens when the guest has narrowed down their choice of hotel to maybe one or two properties. They’ll have two tabs open on their browser or have saved a couple favourites in an OTA. They could be looking at your property, hovering over the “Book Now” button, as you read these very words. (CLICK IT, PLEASE! CLICK IT!)
What makes them click BOOK? And, just as importantly, what makes them not? Read on to answer these questions.
At this step of the guest booking process, the potential customer should be 80% ready to DECIDE in your favour, if you’ve done the first two steps right. Usually, there are two or three other properties in the mix that the potential guest is deciding between.
This is where your USP needs to shine!
Boast about your Unique Selling Point (USP) to tip that customer over the edge! A USP is what you do better than anyone else. Some examples of possible USPs include:
- The views from your property
- The fantastic customer service
- The food
- The price
- The amenities
- Money-off vouchers
- Free welcome drink
- Afternoon tea
A gift, like fancy toiletries, a chocolate box, or wine
Whatever it is you do best has to be clear to the potential guest.
How do you present this to a guest? On your website, it’s easy.
The Power of Pop-ups
You can use a pop-up ad to showcase your USP on your site, and more importantly, on the hotel accommodation page. Pop-ups are annoying, yes, but they work!
The purpose of pop-ups is to interpret and capture the attention of your customer. Combine this with an added value offer and you are on to a winner!
You can time pop-up ads to appear at exactly the point where you need to get the guests attention.
- When they scroll down to a particular part of your page
- When they were just about to hit the “exit” box
- When they have been on your page for a certain amount of time
Let’s look at that last one. If someone has spent a good minute on your hotel accommodation page, then you know they have a good interest in staying with you. If they spend more than two minutes, it means they are looking for more, something that will help push them over the edge toward hitting the book button.
Say a pop-up were to appear at minute two with a beautiful reminder of your free welcome drink or money-off restaurant voucher. That reminder gives your customer the little bit of extra encouragement that they need to go ahead and book with you.
Pop-up adverts are easy to set up. My recommendation is to check out SumoMe, which can be located via a Google search. This service provides stunning ad templates and has the best customer service team on hand to help.
What if the guest isn’t on your website and is instead looking at your property on an OTA, like Booking.com? Well, make sure you are taking full advantage of all the features that the OTAs offer you. Booking.com features a VIP product called “Genius Benefits.” This means that any member of Booking.com gets extra benefits at properties. Make sure you check this out because you can offer these features to their members, and in return, you’ll appear higher in the search ranking. Your USP will be visible to more people.
I wrote more about how to get more about of Booking.com here. Click the link to read all about it!
Step 3 is an important part of the booking process. If you mess this part up, then you’ll lose the reservation. If you find that you get a lot of people clicking on the accommodation section on your website, but not a lot of bookings, then this is why.
Crack step 3 and you will increase your direct bookings.
Check out my training videos for hospitality marketing here.