Your hotel’s website is the cornerstone of your sales and marketing strategy. It is often the first port of contact for your audience before they engage with your team, book a room, reserve a table at one of your restaurants or ultimately complete a stay at your property. Therefore, it is vital that your website engages visitors with an overall experience that leads them to complete a specific objective (a.k.a. conversion) based on their persona.
That sounds simple. Nevertheless, it is prudent to remind yourself that your website should speak your guests’ language. This is more than offering content in different languages. It means your website structure should be set up to address the needs of your audience targets and the content should be created specifically to appeal to these, encouraging them to dwell on your site and take up a digital journey that is adapted to their profile.
Map your customer personas
Do you know who your guests are? Luxury travellers?Corporate or Business travellers? Families? Foodies? Spa and wellness aficionados? Mapping your target audience will help you to adapt the different pages and sections of your site to incorporate suitable content to connect with them. While your brand message is important and should be the focal point of your homepage, there should also be relevant content that will appeal to each persona. For example, business people may be drawn in by images of your meeting rooms and banquet facilities. Pictures of your children’s club or kid-friendly activities may attract families looking for a vacation spot.
Tone of voice
You can extend this appeal with the tone used in your descriptions and content. An informal, casual style may work for families or younger vacationers, while older travelers or businesspeople may prefer a more florid, formal tone. This should fit within your brand guideline but you should introduce some flexibility to be able to address in an adequate manner your customer personas.
Essential hotel website pages to engage guests
You have a lot to say about your hotel or resort. But what do guests or potential guests want to know? How should your content be organised based on your revenue streams? Here are the basics and a little summary of what visitors may expect to find.
This is usually your homepage where most people will enter your website. It will give your web visitors their first impression about your resort. Therefore it is paramount for you to brush up the content and overall look and feel. In essence this is where you build your brand positioning and describe your unique selling points and signature experiences. It is also a good place to list your facilities, offers and use your hero images/videos.
Althought the main objective of your site should be to sell rooms and drive direct bookings, it is important, however, to make sure that visitors can find their way to your F&B, Spa and MICE sections as these are such an important part of a hotel stay experience and will play a key role in the decision process of your audiences. Likewise, if you do have a loyalty programme, make sure it is properly highlighted.
Last but not least, make sure to take advantage of your social media community. Listing your different social media accounts is important to build up followers but people that previously stayed at your resort or hotel are powerful advocates for your business. User-Generated Content will help you drive further interest in your offering and increase conversions. Similarly, to have an integration with review sites such as TripAdvisor would help to display positive reviews and increase the sentiment of your hotel/brand.
It’s no secret that the industry is a highly competitive environment. Price is king and people that are in the market for a stay in your destination will be looking for the best deals. Most hotels will offer special rates for early bird and last-minute bookings or long stays (staycations/work from hotels were a popular one during the pandemic). Alternatively, you may create packages inclusive of F&B and /or SPA treatments.
Be creative with your offering and make sure they relate to your target audience. These will serve your revenue strategy. The special offer page which lists all your promotions is typically the most visited page of your site after the homepage. It is also a premium choice as a landing page for your advertising campaigns. Every incentive, including your loyalty benefits, should be clearly visible.
Make sure to offer an intuitive browsing experience. For instance, if you have a large number of offers, layered navigation or filters will help web visitors to find easily offers that match their interests.
This is usually the main attraction for visitors, so make sure you cover the best angles. Have every room category listed, along with their unique selling points and amenities. The more images the better. As a rule of thumb, for every room category you should have at the very least the following shot:
- Room Overview, taken from one corner, showcasing the whole room
- Room amenities
- View from the room
Additional pictures could cover:
- Balcony, patio or terrace (if any)
- Kitchen, dining or lounge areas
- Interesting interior design/decor features
If your booking engine allows it, you should have BOOK NOW call to action that embeds the room ID. This will isolate the room in your booking engine, personalising the journey of the user. Likewise, if you are able to display your different available rates and promotions specific to each room that would considerably help with conversions.
Restaurants & Bars
The F&B experiences you offer at your property will be a key selling point for your web visitors to book a stay. Not only should you list all of your available outlets but also provide as many details to build up a story that will elevate the overall digital journey on your site. For instance, each restaurant or bar page should list practical information such as
- Opening hours
- Cuisine type
- Dress code
- Private rooms
- Children’s menu
- Price Range
- TripAdvisor Rating (if your outlet is listed)
In addition to the above, make sure to tempt your web visitors with mouth-watering food shots and pictures of your signature dishes. Having a bio section about the chef with an action shot of slicing and sauteing, could also be of interest to your guests and help you to build the outlet’s brand perception. And don’t forget to add a contact form to take reservations if suitable. Alternatively, if you work with a restaurant booking and guest experience platform such as TableCheck, be sure to integrate the widget.
Spa & Wellness
The spa is indeed a core experience of the hospitality business and your web visitors should be able to access exhaustive details about the treatments you offer as well as a mean to book. However, please note that guests are increasingly concerned about their health and wellbeing. Does your property offer healing treatments? Diet and nutrition plans? Or wellness retreats? If not, you might want to bolster your wellness offering.
Furthermore, make sure to highlight all key details related to the wellness experience at your resort such as:
- Number of treatment rooms
- Couple treatment availability
- Sauna & steam rooms
- Fitness center & personal coach
- Yoga classes
- Pillow menu
Location & Contact
While most of your interaction may be through your website, you still want to keep all lines of communication open. So, provide relevant contact details in case guests need to get in touch with your hotel in person. Also, a good map of your location is ideal, perhaps with different types of directions – by car, by public transport, etc. Here you could also offer additional USPs and services, such as airport pickups and free shuttles to points of interest.
Contact pages are also the ideal spot to have a contact form as well as a click-to-chat call to action if your hotel has subscribed to a chat solution such as HiJiffy, Quicktext or LiveChat. Do also reference your social media channels as younger generations may find it easier to contact you via these.
Important points to ensure maximum usability
More people are relying more on their handheld mobile devices than desktop or laptop computers. Particularly in South-East Asia, more than 65% of web visitors will discover your content for the first time while they are on the go. This means that your website must have a responsive design so that it displays perfectly no matter the size of the screen. Furthermore, the full experience, from browsing to booking, must be consistent across devices and operating systems. You do not want to miss out on a booking because buttons were not visible or did not work.
As of 2022, around 85% of travel bookings are made online. To avoid losing that potential revenue to commission charged by online travel agents (OTAs), you need to offer direct bookings on your website. Gone are the days when people were willing to call a reservation desk. They want a smooth online process that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A booking engine will help capture this business. But make sure that it is easy to use and seamlessly integrated with your website. This means that a date selection calendar and BOOK NOW buttons should be visible and accessible throughout the site. But also, if your booking engine provider permits, integrates rates and availability right on your room and offer pages.
You have a lot of information to share with visitors to your hotel website. They will still want to access details about your rooms, amenities, and services, but they will also demand that they can navigate from room to reservation with ease. So, you should have an intuitive flow between all these points, with booking options only a click away. Your calls to action (CTAs) should stand out and use catchy text. Consistent page design is also key to ease of navigation, making sure that headlines, key points, CTAs, and so on are located around the same area so visitors do not have to waste time searching.
While you may think this goes without saying, it does need to be said. You could have the most engaging website in the world, but no one will see it if it does not load fast enough. User experience is key, and a website optimized for speed and responsiveness will keep users clicking. In fact, it has been demonstrated that there is a close relation between page load time and conversion rate. 0 to 4 seconds is the ideal loading time. Beyond this, your conversion rate will drop significantly.