To say the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the travel industry is an understatement.
result of shelter-in-place orders and travel restrictions, hotels worldwide have seen bookings
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that 75 million
travel related jobs are at risk, and the downstream effect on some of the small-to-midsize
businesses remains unknown.
The industry may be at a standstill, but it certainly won’t last forever.
Our hotel partners are
already setting social media and acquisition plans in place. To be ready for recovery, boutique
hotels can lay the groundwork to ensure their digital ecosystem is in order before opening day -
and a healthy digital ecosystem starts with your hotel website.
Here are four ways to perform housekeeping on your hotel website.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all your actions tied to the tips below should keep COVID
recovery in mind. Consumers are apprehensive to travel.
To ease that apprehension the travel
and hospitality industry must work to offer reassurance.
Tell your customers and prospective
travelers what you’re doing to ensure their well-being while they’re on site. Detail cleanliness,
staff procedures, and any other policies you’ve put in place to create a safe and healthy
experience for your guests.
Another way to be COVID-conscious is offer booking flexibility. In uncertain economic times,
consumers need to be confident that they can change plans, or even cancel, should
Consider offering lenient cancellation policies and value-adds, such as
hotel or food and beverage credits, along with competitive rates.
Not only will that give
customers peace of mind, they’ll have the opportunity to explore your other amenities when they
do come to stay.
Get back to basics
You have 15 seconds to keep a traveler’s attention when they click onto your website. In those
15 seconds you have to present the right message so your prospective customer will book.
only way to capture a consumer’s attention is to have a modern, clean, easy-to-use website.
When designing, or redesigning, a website, it’s important to keep the six key principles of
website design in mind: including simplicity, easy navigation, information and design
consistency, usability, and brevity.
The six key principles should influence everything you do. For example, your homepage should
be free of clutter and navigation should be simple. Consider a collapsible menu or even a
navigation style that only displays the sections most consumers have come to see.
should be up to date and consistent, including pricing, hours of operations, offers, and more. In
addition, your travelers should have access to the same experience regardless of whether they
use a mobile device or desktop, which is possible using responsive design.
Talk the talk
Website copy can be compelling or confusing. To avoid it being the latter, it must be clear,
enticing, and unique.
Travelers should be able to instantly understand the purpose of the copy,
so avoid unnecessary word usage. For example, “Air-conditioned rooms” is clearer than “Each
of our 145 exquisitely designed bedrooms come with top-of-the-line packaged thermal air-conditioning technology.”
Subscribe to our newsletter below
Copy should make your travelers curious to learn more or complete
your call-to-action (CTA). “In-built workstations and high-speed wifi make our rooms ideal for
business travelers” is more enticing than “Our rooms are perfect for business travelers.”
copy to show how you are different than your competitors, such as highlighting awards or other
unique features. COVID recovery tip: providing specifics on your cleaning and social distancing
processes will be important to highlight.
One of the most important parts of website copy is the call to action, or CTA. A CTA can drive
people to book or drive them to book elsewhere.
In a CTA, it’s important to use action words,
create urgency and scarcity, and minimize risk. Focus on the value you bring and highlight
Depending on when you will be open, or expect demand, your CTA may be softer to
create comfort in booking now (with flexibility), but staying later.
Speed and optimize
One factor Google uses to determine search results rankings is the speed of your web pages. In
addition, travelers using mobile to search are much more likely to leave a page if it takes longer
than three seconds to load.
For all these reasons, use the Google Speed Test tool and contact
your website developer to rectify any issues affecting your website speed.
Page speed issues
can also help you identify other issues on your website, like large image files that need to be
compressed, code bugs, or outdated plugins.
Pinterest increased SEM traffic and sign-ups by
15% by increasing their website speed by 40%, and increasing your website speed
can help you achieve similar results.
In addition to website speed, now is the time to check website metrics to see what’s performing
and what’s not.
Website traffic is likely slower than normal, enabling you to test on smaller
audiences so you don’t waste valuable opportunities when traffic increases at a later date.
everything, such as CTA options, text, and imagery over a long enough period to give it
statistical significance. If anything nets a positive change the answer is simple: keep it.
Your website is the window that gives potential travelers a view into your hotel. Right now it’s
the only thing they have to make booking decisions, making it one of your most important
Take the time to make the right changes so you can be ready to ramp up your marketing
- and bookings - when travelers are ready to make plans.
About the author...
Kurt Weinsheimer is chief solutions officer at Sojern