Put Yourself Into The Shoes Of Your Shopper
When is the last time you updated the content on your brands website? Your OTA’s? When is the last time you put yourself in the shoes of the people booking your hotel? In today’s ever-evolving online landscape, many factors can impact the buying behavior of potential future guests. Spending time to evaluate your image on the web is crucial, and sometimes it can be as easy as going back to basics.
Your Own Brand Website
The ultimate goal for all properties is to drive as much traffic to their own website. But what happens when someone comes your page? There are many questions to ask yourself regarding the appearance of your website:
- Is the layout intuitive and easy to navigate? Don’t over complicate things, nor put too much clutter
- Does it appeal to your target markets?
- Does it tie into your brands vision and messaging?
- Do the colours make sense?
- Can I easily book a reservation?
- Do I use a lot of high res, quality photos? Do the pictures paint a realistic representation of the property?
- If I have a restaurant, do I have the ability to make reservations for the restaurant?
- Is my website mobile responsive? What does my property look like on an iPad, iPhone, Android, or other devices?
- Are you actively monitoring traffic and conversion?
- Is the information accurate and up to date? Are there any grammatical errors?
- What is your competition doing on their website?
Much of the above may seem like common sense, but many websites are still very outdated. Be smart with your selection of photos. Guests don’t care that you have a couch in the lobby. They want to see the rooms, the amenities, the restaurant and more. Remember, your goal is to entice them to book. Make it easy for them. Don’t bury the “book now” button so that they cannot find it.
OTA’s and Other Sites
The online travel agencies spend a great deal of time and money on monitoring consumers buying decisions. They will invest a lot of time into product testing via rapid experimentation. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing the colour of an icon, or perhaps moving a button from left to right. They always measure this back against traffic and conversion to see how consumers reacted for those changes.
Below are some questions to ask when looking for your own property on other channels:
- Compare the information across all channels, is it accurate?
- Is what is written as the description of the property aligned to your own website? Are they mentioning true selling features? Is the information accurate?
- Google your property name. Are any of the results surprising?
- Ask your market manager about rapid experimentation, and what the OTA has been doing to get the consumer to book?
- Ask your market manager more about statistics regarding traffic and conversion. How does this stack up against the market? Are you getting your fair share of clicks? Are you visible?
- Have you looked at meta-search sites such as Trivago and Kayak? Often these sites list affiliations of the larger OTA’s and some sites you may have never heard of. Often on those sites, content is inaccurate
- Are you ensuring on all channels that you are maintaining the same rate?
It is important for properties to take the time to put themselves in the shoes of the customer, and frequently. Unfortunately it is often a task that gets pushed off, but can have heavy impact on the customer’s decision in making that reservation.