Imagine your hotel website as your digital reception desk and that your traffic is potential customers walking into your virtual lobby. With this analogy, it is easier to understand why and how your website conversion can be improved. The average hotel website has around a 2% conversion rate. Two percent! Imagine 100 people walking into an unstaffed hotel lobby and only two staying.
How do you welcome your digital guests?
Beneath all the fancy web KPI's such as CPC, Conversion & Bounce rates are real people who are crying out for more personalization in the online booking process. Shouldn't the hotel service experience start in the research and booking phase?
Guests care about the things that make their experience better; otherwise they might as well book via OTAs. OTAs save time and, because of their brand recognition, are trusted by the consumer.
In order to win direct bookings, hotels need to offer something the OTAs can't; otherwise there is no reason for the consumer to change his or her booking habits.
Travelers demand more attention than before. Say hello to Conversational Bookings 👋
What's a Conversational booking?
Why would a guest book direct? Most guests aren’t aware of the industry, commissions, etc.—nor do they care. We must go from "Direct Bookings, us vs the OTAs" mentality to Booking-as-a-service mentality.
The hotel website should be designed to serve all kinds of guests. No matter if they want to book a standard double room, ask about parking facilities before they book, or make a more complicated booking eg for a family or group. All types of guests should feel welcome once they arrive in your virtual lobby. Sit down in your real hotel lobby once in a while to analyze and observe what kind of guests visit your hotel. Envision how you are serving these guests on your website.
Did you know that at the average hotel 20% of all bookings are bookings for families, groups, events, conferences, add-on services or other “complicated” bookings? Did you know that the value of these reservations is significantly higher than a standard booking?
These are is conversational bookings and these are the types of bookings you will see from a conversational interface.
Have you ever checked how your booking engine responds when guests want to book something a bit more complicated? I have checked hundreds of websites and found that most booking engines either 1) result in an error message when I enter 3 adults and 2 children or 2) show no availability. In both cases, the hotel is open for business but is missing revenue opportunities.
Hotels often miss out on revenue-generating booking opportunities because guests think they aren’t available and can’t accommodate them. Make sure this isn’t the case for your hotel. Start by testing your booking engine for several different inputs, not just standard ones - what happens when you input something a bit more complicated?