Most of today’s hotels boast functional websites with various features to help the consumer experience. Some of the basics include a landing page, general information about the property’s amenities, and a description of rooms. However, technology is rapidly evolving. Any hotel website that hasn’t been updated recently may be lacking critical functions.
Critical Hotel Website Features
Here are four hotel website features your hotel must offer in order to stay competitive:
While having a “book now” option isn’t a completely new concept, many hotel websites still don’t properly utilize the feature. Remember, direct bookings improve hotel margins by avoiding Online Travel Agencies (OTA) commissions. Hotels that encourage direct bookings also avoid the risk the consumer changes their mind by stumbling across a competitor.
Ensure your hotel’s website provides liberal access to “book now” buttons on multiple pages. At a minimum, this should include the landing page, photos page, and room description pages.
Pro Tip: Provide a “book now” incentive to add urgency! Options may include a free bottle of wine, complimentary pool cabana, or dinner credit.
“Social proof” is a major motivator for today’s consumers. The importance of positive reviews cannot be understated. While most hotels have review histories on outside platforms, many don’t take advantage of them on their own websites.
All hotels with positive review histories should directly embed them into their own website. The “Reviews” page should include positive scores/feedback from all major industry players, including TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Hotels.com.
It’s hard to overestimate the significance of pictures in modern marketing efforts. Although they’ve always been important, the world of social media has facilitated a hyper-visual culture. It is no longer sufficient to simply embed a couple of property photos on the landing page.
Effective hotel websites must now dedicate an entire page to pictures. Research shows photos of the guest rooms are usually most important, followed by restaurant amenities. But, a trendy property in Palm Springs may prefer to prioritize pictures of the pool area and cabanas.
Social Media Buttons
Many hotels embrace social media marketing, but that doesn’t mean they’re all using it effectively. When it comes to your website, you should ask, “How do I get a user or hotel guest to entice their friends and family to visit my website?”
It’s great to have hotel Facebook and Instagram accounts. But, they must be connected to your website through properly embedded buttons. At a minimum, these should include a Facebook “Like” button and an Instagram “Follow @” link. You may also add a reference to an Instagram hashtag specific to your hotel for picture sharing.
It’s great that your hotel has a website. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Hoteliers who remember the ultimate purpose of a website will always explore features that result in more bookings.
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