You’ve spent ages on your website. It’s a one-page wonder, a stylish and user-friendly marvel of modern web design. Maybe you even hired someone to build it for you. So why are your potential customers still leaving?
I was curious about this question myself, so I did some research. Hotjar recently published a great post that breaks down exactly why people are leaving your site and what you can do to keep them. Here’s what I learned.
1. You only have three customers…and you can only convert one.
That’s right! There are only three people you need to worry about when you sell on your website. The first is what Hotjar calls a “Just-Browsing Wanderer.” For whatever reason, they’re not going to book with you. Maybe they’re on your page by accident. Don’t worry about them.
The second is a “Determined Hero.” They always book. Always. Nothing can stop them. If your website is down, they’ll look up your phone number and call you. Don’t worry about them either. They can take care of themselves!
The final customer is the one you really need to care about: the “Undecided Explorer.” This customer doesn’t know if they want to book with you. Maybe they’re in the RESEARCH stage or their booking process. (For more about the 5 stages of the booking process, read my series of posts on the subject!)
This customer is vulnerable to problems with your website – not just major technical issues, but design flaws and minor inconveniences. This customer is the entire reason that we say we need to convert customers. Most people who come to your website are ambivalent about your business. They may want a room, but they don’t necessarily want your room. They need to be turned into true believers who specifically care about your business.
First of all, you need to make sure that your website is as functional as possible. Know what pages people are bouncing off of and take down that bounce rate as much as you can through design changes. That brings us to the next reason that people leave your site…
2. Your website needs work
Shane Barker wrote a great piece about bounce rate that cites a stat claiming that you can’t really reduce this number below 20%. If your bounce rate falls between 26% and 40%, you’re doing great. Anything under 50% is probably fine. Any more than that, and you’ve got an issue.
Your next task is to determine what that issue is.
One of the biggest reasons for bounce is that your website loads slowly. You can check your load speed for free with this Google tool. Go do that now! If that’s the reason that people are leaving your website, then your fix might be as easy as upgrading your hosting plan.
The next thing you need to do is to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. This is true for all websites, but in the hospitality industry, it goes double. Most of your potential customers are going to try to book on their phone, and if your BOOK NOW button loads off the screen, they’ll abandon you rather than try to figure out your website. If you haven’t converted to a one-page design yet, then consider doing so now.
Good copy is another key to your website’s success, as is proper web design. You can hire experts to handle all your writing, both your words and your code.
Finally, watch your site analytics. They will tell you from what pages – or even what menus – your customers are leaving your site. This will help you to pinpoint your problem areas and mitigate them.
If your website is already top-notch according to your experts and every tester you can throw it at, then there may be another problem. This is one that you, the hospitality professional, will have to handle all on your own.
3. You just don’t stand out
Hospitality has never been a more crowded field. If you don’t believe me, then log onto Airbnb and enter your address. Every property that pops up is an amateur who is competing – successfully – for your customers. If you don’t stand out, your customers will go for a more unique, more affordable, or more convenient experience.
Your web page needs to loudly and proudly emphasise your Unique Selling Point, or USP. This is what makes your hospitality specifically desirable. If you’re pet-friendly to the max, showcase pictures of your dedicated dog run. If you run daily yoga or art classes, splash that across your homepage. Do you support a unique experience, like personal shopping or a wine tour? Make it a big, big deal. Those are things that the average Airbnb host can’t or won’t provide.
Be ready to generate a USP if you don’t have one or if yours is already taken. Airbnb now offers experiences, such as historical tours and guided culinary outings, that make finding a USP even more challenging. Look for community partnerships that would be precipitously difficult for the average joe to build and maintain. For example, how many room rental hosts could afford to hire a ballroom dance instructor to teach their guests to tango one night a week? Almost none! That’s a package that you, the established, professional hospitality, can provide. Just make sure that your website advertises it. Your USP needs to be so exciting that it converts Undecided Explorers into loyal fans as soon as they lay eyes on it.
Still struggling with your bounce rate? I can help you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.