Despite your best intentions, you could be making mistakes on your hotel’s website that may cause you to lose potential bookings. The truth is, even the smallest website mistake can have a direct and long-lasting impact on the bottom line of your business. You can have the best-looking website in the world, but if you’re not creating a seamless experience for people to engage with your brand, what’s the point? A fresh and optimised website design can improve bookings, increase customer service, brand awareness, and even challenge your competition.
1. Not investing in quality content
Original and quality content is key for making your website stand out against competitors, establishing your credibility and authority, as well as improving your search engine rankings. Users get frustrated when they arrive on a website where the message is unclear.
It would be a mistake to ignore the power of storytelling. Creating communication that is compelling to your audience and connects with them on an emotional level is important in every aspect of your marketing. Your messaging has to bring inspiration from your brand vision, values and beliefs. Brand messaging should be framed to understand guests’ decision-making process and what value you bring. It’s a conversation that builds trust, which leads to more inquiries and bookings.
In addition, being able to balance between too much text and too little will be important as well. It’s important to get the message across with direct and engaging copy that explains who you are and what you do without confusing the visitor or losing their attention. A good writer will be able to craft a message in as few words as possible while still making an impact that converts.
2. Bad design decisions
Having a poorly designed website is like having an unattractive sign in front of your hotel. It’s an eyesore and potential guests are likely to look for another place to stay. Your website’s design should always be up-to-date with what’s currently trending so that visitors can trust your business with their personal information.
Much like outdated information, outdated graphics and styles will make it seem to visitors like you don’t care enough to update your pages. And if you don’t care enough to keep it current, why should your visitor? This is especially true if you are using design techniques that aren’t up to date with the current design trends. Designs that feature gradient and shadow-heavy web design is bound to look outdated. It’s probably safest to explore your styles around the flat design guidelines.
Another common design flaw on websites is text that’s too difficult to read. If your user has to focus more to read your website’s text on a mobile device, it’s time to revisit your text sizing decisions. If your hotel’s website has fonts that are hard for a user to read, they will have a difficult time trusting you and are likely to leave without booking. It’s important to make sure that all of your fonts are easy to read so potential guests feel confident to book from you
When it comes to hotel website content and design, imagery is equally as important. Ensure that photos and images are crisp, and do not use anything that is blurry or pixelated. If you need original photos to illustrate a product on offer, ensure that those images are of the highest quality, even if it means you need to hire a professional photographer. When a website has poor image quality, visitors are most likely to leave immediately, as they associate your brand with the quality of images you share. Make sure the images on your site are top-notch so people will want to book.
3. Confusing navigation
Often, visitors land on a website and struggle with disorganised menus, a confusing booking process or where they should click. Publishing a website that is difficult to navigate is like inviting friends to a party without giving them the address or directions on how to get there. One of the biggest mistakes marketing teams will make is attempting to predict user behaviour. Instead of trying to predict how they’re going to behave on the website, give them a solid structure of how to navigate it.
Your hotel website needs to allow for quick and simple navigation. A user should never become lost or confused. A clearly visible navigation bar should be prominently placed so that it can be seen on every screen size. Start with the most important information: Home, About, Services on the left, the less important ones in the middle and make sure to add a search box so visitors can quickly find what they're looking for.
Make it easy for visitors to reach out to you by including your contact information like email and phone number on your navigation bar. Many businesses make the mistake of not showing their phone number prominently in the header and footer–or on a dedicated contact page. Giving visitors an easy way to engage with your business adds credibility and builds trust, especially with those who aren’t familiar with your brand. If potential guests find it hard to get in touch with you in person, they might lose trust in your business.
4. Not having clear and strong CTAs
Imagine walking into a hotel. The lobby looks great and the entrance is welcoming. Then you look around in confusion. There’s no front desk and no staff to be found. How do I check-in? Unclear calls to action are one of the biggest website mistakes businesses make. And as a general rule, the least amount of clicks for the user can mean the maximum amount of conversions.
Whether it’s for a booking or merely an inquiry, it’s important to nudge your website visitors in the direction of the next step you want them to take. A clear and concise call to action will get visitors focused on what they should do once they are on your website.
Be very clear with your language on CTAs and keep your messaging as simple as possible. It’s always a good idea to make your CTA buttons stand out from the rest of the page so they are as obvious and readable as possible. Most optimised websites have CTAs in each section, which saves the user from even having to scroll up or down to see the button.
The key is to make it easy for people to take action without having to think much about it. Visitors can become confused if you don’t direct them to a single action to complete and might take a longer time to make a decision. Each page of the website should be pushing the user one step closer to making a booking.
5. Ignoring SEO & Analytics
The optimised design and functions of your hotel website will mean nothing if people cannot find it via search engines. This means that SEO should be factored into your hotel website design from the very beginning. At a minimum, ensure that all pages use a sequence of heading styles, use meta descriptions, and ensure you have a site map created and kept updated.
Even after you've created engaging content on your website, optimised, and converted traffic into bookings, you still need to track your website’s analytics to measure how it is performing. If your website is not converting visitors into guests, analytics will tell you exactly why. One of the biggest benefits of marketing online is having the ability to easily test, track, and adjust your strategy.
You can test and track with a metrics tool like Google Analytics. This can offer valuable information about user behaviours and allow you to set up goals to track your conversions. Analytics will help you better understand your visitors and how they interact with your site. You can then analyse the data you collect to make informed business decisions that will help drive your business’ growth.
6. Not being responsive or mobile-friendly
Most consumers worldwide are using their smartphone browsers at a higher rate than desktop. A visitor’s impression of your business is now dependent on what it looks like from their handheld device. If your website is not already offering a mobile-friendly experience, this should be a top priority for you. And since most people use their handheld devices to access the internet, it’s in your best interest to make your website responsive as soon as possible.
The best way to check whether you’re making this mistake is to open your own website from your phone or on a tablet. Think about how you’d like people to view your hotel website on their mobile device and if there’s anything in your mobile view that would prevent visitors from choosing to book with you.
Your hotel website needs to be responsive, which means that it needs to be able to load quickly and display properly on any screen size. If your hotel website can’t be viewed comfortably using a smartphone, you could potentially miss out on a significant amount of traffic and, ultimately, bookings.
In the end, it’s important to continuously optimise your website’s content as well as its functions. Make sure to constantly check that all links, forms and buttons are working. Dead ends, like error screens or links that don’t work, will more than likely turn visitors away and cost you potential business.
It’s also crucial to continue to update, optimise, and add quality content to your hotel website. Keeping your information up-to-date and sharing your newest offerings will show your customers that you care about the details.