How to Digitally Prepare a Hotel Website for Reopening

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the travel industry is an understatement.

Due to shelter-in-place orders and travel restrictions, hotels around the world have seen bookings drop exponentially.

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 and medium-sized businesses remains unknown.

The industry may be at a standstill, but it certainly won’t last forever.

Our hotel partners are already implementing social media and acquisition plans. To be ready for the recovery, boutique hotels can set the stage to ensure their digital ecosystem is in order before opening day – and a healthy digital ecosystem begins with your hotel’s website.

Here are four ways to clean your hotel website.

Be aware of COVID

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of your actions related to the tips below should keep COVID recovery in mind. Consumers are afraid to travel.

To allay this apprehension, the travel and hospitality industry must strive to provide reassurance.

Let your customers and potential travelers know what you’re doing to ensure their well-being while they’re there. Itemize cleanliness, staff procedures, and any other policies you have in place to create a safe and healthy experience for your guests.

Another way to be aware of COVID is to offer booking flexibility. In times of economic uncertainty, consumers need to be confident that they can change their plans, or even cancel, if circumstances change.

Consider offering lenient cancellation policies and value-added offers, such as hotel or food and beverage credits, as well as competitive rates.

Not only will this give guests peace of mind, but they will also have the opportunity to explore your other amenities when they come to stay.

Back to basics

You have 15 seconds to hold a traveler ‘s attention when they click on your website. Within those 15 seconds, you need to present the right message for your prospect to book.

The only way to capture a consumer’s attention is to have a modern, clean, and easy-to-use website. When designing or redesigning a website, it is important to keep in mind the six key principles of website design: including simplicity, easy navigation, consistency of information and design. , friendliness and brevity.

The Six Key Principles should influence everything you do. For example, your home page should be clutter-free and navigation should be simple. Consider a collapsible menu or even a navigation style that only displays the sections that most consumers have come to see.

Everything should be up to date and consistent, including prices, hours of operation, offers, etc. In addition, your travelers should have access to the same experience whether they are using a mobile device or a desktop computer, which is possible thanks to responsive design.

Speak the speech

The website copy can be compelling or confusing. To avoid it being the latter, it must be clear, attractive and unique.

Travelers should be able to instantly understand the purpose of the copy, so avoid using unnecessary words. For example, “Air-conditioned rooms” is clearer than “Each of our 145 exquisitely designed rooms is equipped with high-end thermal air conditioning technology”.

The copy should make your travelers curious to learn more or supplement your call to action (CTA). “The integrated workstations and high-speed wifi make our rooms ideal for business travelers” is more appealing than “Our rooms are perfect for business travelers. ”

Use a copy to show how you are different from your competition, such as highlighting awards or other unique characteristics. COVID Recovery Tip: It will be important to outline the details of your cleanup and social distancing processes.

One of the most important parts of a website copy is the call to action, or CTA. A CTA can entice people to book or get 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 the offers.

Depending on when you’ll be open or expected demand, your CTA may be more flexible to create booking comfort now (with flexibility), but staying later.

Speed ​​up and optimize

One factor that Google uses to determine the ranking of search results is the speed of your web pages. In addition, travelers using their 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, such as large image files that need to be compressed, code bugs, or outdated plugins.

Pinterest increased SEM traffic and signups by 15% by increasing its 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 is working and what is not.

Website traffic is likely slower than normal, allowing you to test on smaller audiences so you don’t lose out on valuable opportunities when traffic increases at a later date.

Test everything like CTA options, text, and images over a period of time long enough to give it statistical significance. If something makes a positive change, the answer is simple: keep it.

Your website is the window that gives potential travelers a view of your hotel. Right now, it’s the only thing they have to make booking decisions, which makes it one of your most important assets.

Take the time to make the right changes so you’re ready to ramp up your marketing – and bookings – when travelers are ready to make plans.

About the Author…

Kurt Weinsheimer is Director of Solutions at Sojern.

About Jean R. Manzer

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