We live in ‘the age of information’. What does that mean for your hotel business? It’s vitally important to leverage the latest technology to stay on top of trends and stand out to potential customers in a crowded field. One of the best ways to do this is to provide an incredible user experience (UX) on your website. Why? More and more people are using the power of search engines to compare hotels and book direct. So, the better the UX they have browsing your site, the more likely they are to book with you.
1. Optimise the ‘booking flow’
First things first, the journey your users take has to be clear, logical and easy to follow, from first impressions all the way through to booking. Does your website make intuitive sense to navigate? Random features or irritating pop-ups of the food menu or local amenities might not be the very first thing you want your potential customers to see. An optimal booking flow means it’s made as easy as possible to navigate your site, explore the features of your hotel in more detail and access all the information they need – without feeling like they are trying to solve a puzzle. Something to bear in mind is that the optimal ‘scroll time’ for a hotel website page is around 15 seconds (according to the top UX designers in the business) – so the right amount of content on a page is critical.
2. Make sure you’ve got strong ‘calls to action’.
One of the best ways to maximise your conversion rate and increase your bookings is to make the UX as frictionless as possible. What does that mean? Leading on from the smooth journey your website takes the user on, we want to make it absolutely clear how to progress the order. Utilising a call to action (E.G. a ‘Book Now’ button) is a proven way to do this. First, the engaging copy and evocative story draw potential customers in – then, the call to action utilises that rapt attention to converting interest into revenue: statistics show that including a call to action button boosts conversion up to 120%. You can increase engagement even more by making sure your calls to action are a clear, distinctive colour that stands out, and ‘sticky’ – that is, as you scroll up and down, the button stays on screen at all times.
3. Include visual, interactive content to stand out from the crowd.
In 2018, simple text isn’t going to be enough to satisfy potential customers. TheNorth Yorkshire hotel market is crowded – it’s tricky to stand out. The data shows that people love powerful images: they’re much more likely to share and engage with visual content. Research shows that 4x as many people would rather watch a video than read about a product. So, consider including high-quality images and video interspaced throughout. Another way to differentiate your business and help make visitors to the websites is to include some form of interactive content. Conversion rates are more than doubled on sites including some kind of interactive content. A particularly cost-effective, impressive and innovative way to do that with a 360-degree virtual tour. These allow potential customers to explore the rooms, grounds and facilities to their heart’s content, highlighting what makes your venue unique, and allaying all their doubts. It’s a much more personal experience than scrolling through a gallery – and that’s what people want.
4. Help them experience your site from anywhere.
Increasingly, browsing (and booking) accommodation is happening via smartphones. Moreover, the trend is firmly in this direction – we’re not seeing a slowdown in mobile usage any time soon. Given that, the UX of your website has to work perfectly on both browser and mobile. Did you know that 40% of users abandon websites if takes too long to load? It’s critical to have a website optimised and ready to go regardless of the platform potential customers are using – if not, you could risk missing out on business.
5. Provide social proof.
Have you ever asked for a friend’s recommendation for a place to stay, or maybe where to go out for dinner? Of course, you have. It’s human nature. An excellent way
to provide a real sense of credibility and social proof for your venue is to link in reviews and connect other social platforms to your hotel’s website. Reviews and testimonials have been shown to increase conversion by around 34%. This effect is particularly pronounced when users feel like they can relate to the other reviews in some way – so any local knowledge around the Yorkshire area is bound to have a positive impact.
- Make it as easy as possible to navigate.
- Include calls to action to boost conversion.
- Don’t rely purely on text: visual, engaging content is key.
- Make sure your site is optimised for mobile.
- Show them social proof.