Many hotels fail to tailor their websites to the season—choosing instead to keep the same design and offers for the whole year. But every season has its own dynamics. Summer is just around the corner and travellers are looking forward to their vacations.
COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates are slowly lifting and many places are getting ready to welcome tourists again. As the world comes to a new normal, hoteliers should expect an increase in the number of guests, more spending and longer stays than pre-pandemic. People want to make up for lost time and there are new trends emerging. This gives you a great opportunity to reach new audiences.
Here are 5 ways you can optimise your website for the warm season to get your website ready for summer travellers.
1. Update your informative messages
Restrictions are being lifted, allowing more flexibility for travellers. However, some areas still have restrictions in place while others do not. This can make travelling confusing and stressful, adding to the pre-existing low confidence and need for support when booking holidays. This summer, shift your focus from restrictions to building confidence and easing travellers' concerns.
It can be challenging for potential guests to get the most accurate information. Feeling stressed and needing a helping hand when booking international trips is common among the majority of travellers post-Covid. In addition, as the travel environment is still unstable, people also expect flexible bookings and lenient cancellation policies. Make sure that your website is up to date with accurate information, such as regulations on local public transport, public spaces and your updated cancellation policies.
Using date targeting, you can show your guests the most relevant information for their summer vacation. For instance, if mask mandates will be lifted at a date further in time, any bookings before that date would be displayed a personalised informative message. Looking at dates further ahead, a different message would be shown.
2. Highlight special offers and events
Offering a value-add is a great way to encourage visitors to book directly without having to heavily discount rates. Use your website to offer appealing summer vouchers for direct bookers. With inline technology, you can make sure the experience remains seamless for your visitors. Here are a few ideas of how you can use inline voucher messaging this summer:
- Targeted offers. Give your ideal customer a reason to choose your hotel for their vacation with summer theme offers or vouchers. People enjoy something different—if you target families with children, summer theme packages full of children’s activities might draw families’ attention to your hotel.
- Romantic packages. Offer couples a romantic dinner included in their booking. If couples are your focus guest type, bundled activities like an ocean cruise for two, a romantic sailing trip on the lake, or design a nice cocktail or an ice cream voucher to sweeten their direct booking experience.
- Wellness packages. If you offer wellness services, you’ve already tapped into one of the biggest trends of 2022. Make sure to nudge people into adding a day at the spa to their stay, or even turning their spa trip into an overnight stay.
- Long-stay offers. Long-stay trips are another one of the key trends for this year, and the summer season is no exception. With increased flexibility, many remote workers are choosing to work from warm locations. This gives endless opportunities for the offers you can highlight on your website. Fast WiFi, room facilities and laundry services, are all attractive for long-stay travellers. During the booking process, you can also push these customers to be flexible with the dates of their stay.
- Local events. If there are local events coming up, like outdoor concerts or farmers' markets, highlight them on your website. You could also offer to help with reservations if it’s required to attend the event. If there are other facilities nearby your hotel, such as water parks or sports centres, you can use inline messaging to share a promo code or discount so that direct bookers are getting the best out of their experience at your hotel.
3. Refresh the colours on your website
Colour has a proven psychological effect on people. Using the principles of colour psychology, you can influence website visitors to quickly become customers. In only about 90 seconds, customers form an opinion of a product - between 62% and 90% of that is determined by the product’s colour. It’s therefore important to use colour in your favour when designing your website to bring together branding and product offering in a comprehensive overall message.
By following the core principles which are: right way, right time, right audience and right purpose, you can also decide which emotions you’d like to encourage with the colours of your website. Thoughtfully choosing your seasonal offer colours and using bright, summery imagery, can visually communicate the excitement of summer on your website.
4. Optimise for mobile bookings
Don’t forget your mobile website. Mobile usage is constantly growing and in order to catch mobile visitors and convince them to make a booking on your mobile website, there are a couple of things to do as well. Up to 80% of last-minute bookings are made on mobile devices. OTA mobile booking numbers are driving much of this through apps and mobile user experience and so tend to trend higher than direct mobile bookings.
To increase your direct mobile bookings, here are a few things you should do:
- Improve the mobile user interface and simplify the navigation
- Ensure your design is responsive, regardless of screen size
- Make sure the images are clear and clickable
- Ensure the buttons—and especially your CTAs—are large enough to tap
- Make sure the text is readable without needing to zoom in
- Simplify the mobile booking process by not requesting unnecessary information from visitors
5. Target last-minute bookings
Summer generally has a more immediate booking window, with large numbers of guests booking rooms days or sometimes even hours before arrival. It should be expected that with easing restrictions and increased willingness to travel, this will only be magnified this summer. Guests browsing for last-minute bookings make up a considerable portion of both OTA and brand.com search traffic. In fact, many OTAs market themselves to hoteliers based on this fact, as a way of shifting distressed inventory.
By using Hotelchamp's booking window targeting, hotels can now directly offer the same sorts of discounts or incentives that these late bookers are looking for. By targeting guests browsing just a couple of days before arrival, hotels can offer the same sorts of deals to guests at the cost that they would have surrendered in commissions to an OTA for the same booking.
Start getting ready for summer
This summer is a great opportunity for hotels to attract new customers eager and ready to travel freely after a couple of hard years. To get your hotel’s summer season off on the right foot, our team is here to help. Contact us at email@example.com or, visit our website to learn more.
Editors note: This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been refreshed and updated for accuracy and new best practices.