25 Features of Successful Hotel Websites
A hotel website gives the facility a chance to interact with potential clients wherever they are in the world. As powerful as that sounds many businesses in the tourism industry rarely enjoy that benefit from their website.
As people are planning their trips, they rely heavily on the information they find online to make decisions and solidify their plans. The last thing any hotelier would want to hear is that they missed a booking because they couldn’t present themselves well. Honestly, most hotels in Africa do a disservice to the facility.
As an experienced digital marketing consultant, I have decided to share with African hoteliers the features that they need to make their websites sell the service well. There are a number of features that can help a hotel website become more successful. In this post, I have broken down 25 of those features into three distinct groups: Client convenience features, Sales Features and Visibility Features.
The first group of features is in line with what the website allows people to do. If a client comes to your website what can they achieve?
Features that make a hotel website more convenient.
1. Easy booking process.
The ultimate action we want a hotel website visitor to make is a booking. All websites for hotels which do not have an easy booking process are missing the point of having the website.
The common mistake around booking processes are:
- Having a complex booking system which customers need the training to use. People have no time to learn complex booking procedures. They want a normal booking system.
- Having strange payment methods. Hotels should be expecting international payments. Having no VISA, MasterCard, American Express and services like PayPal is a sure way to reduce the number of bookings the hotel will get.
- Having unclear cancellation rules.
- Asking website visitors to contact you for bookings is a nice way to make it harder for them. Make the booking process as simple and as direct as possible.
2. Dynamic personalisation.
This is creating websites that activate or deactivate some features, information and images depending on the location of the website visitor. Hotel websites are meant to ease the process of planning a trip for potential patrons. A website visitor coming from China to Africa will not need to see a local mobile money service as a payment option for example. The dynamic personalisation makes it possible to show hotel room features based on the visitor’s gender.
3. Live Chat.
No matter how much we feel that our content is comprehensive, people do not easily get it. Making it easy for people to ask questions and get answers right there is crucial. Live chat has proven to increase website conversion rate by up to 45%.
4. Interactive Map.
We must not forget that people rarely travel all the way to just come and stay at the hotel. They have something that has brought them around. Where the hotel is located in relation to where their business is going to happen is important. Hotels need to provide interactive maps on their websites to increase potential customer convenience.
5. Virtual tours.
If you really want to make your website stand out from the rest, offer a virtual tour of your hotel to your website visitors. Virtual tours are special videos, where you take your website visitors around the facility to give them a feel of the experience they will have if they decide to come.
6. Detailed descriptions.
It is important to mention all the features and services around in a hotel room, the dishes available in the restaurant and the type of meetings that the hotel has to offer. Don’t summarise your offering, every detail counts. That detail you leave out in your summary can be the last push for someone to book a room with you.
I was once in a hotel room with no square power plug. How frustrating that was! If only they had described this on their website, I would have come prepared. As hoteliers, there are little things that you feel are common knowledge. I would say go ahead and mention them still – your customers would love to be sure about you. We all don’t like unpleasant surprises.
7. HD images.
How can you say something is ‘magnificent’ in your description but the picture next to the text disagrees? The quality of your images determines the perceived quality of the facility. Those who see the opportunity in marketing their hotel online cannot do it without breathtaking pictures. Just to be clear, your mobile phone will not take great images for your commercial website. There is need to invest in a professional photographer with a great camera. That way, you avoid the ugliness of a stretched image across your website.
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Posted in Create a website, digital marketing