In today’s digital world, your website is one of the first places prospective guests go to learn about your hotel.
Let that really sink in… Long before guests step foot into your beautiful lobby or are greeted by your smiling front desk personnel, they pass judgment on your brand based on your digital presence. If they don’t like what they see online, why would they want to book a visit?
From your website’s informative content to its user-friendly design, online visitors want stylish, functional, easy-to-use domains. And how could you blame them?
When it comes to making improvements to your website, let your visitors’ desires guide your updates. Here are a few traveler trends from 2021 to create a better performing hospitality website:
1. Focus on your online booking features.
It’s no secret that the younger generations are the most tech-savvy audience the hospitality industry has ever seen. People who grew up with the latest and greatest technology not only want it, they expect it.
According to Expedia Group’s 2021 Travel Trends Report, Millennials and Gen Z will be traveling the most out of any age range this year— and it’s up to you to accommodate their needs.
This generation is most likely to book online and wants reliable, trustworthy booking functionality options, both on your website and on partnering booking sites. That means that you can’t just streamline their experience on third-party booking engines, you must equally invest in your own website’s booking functionality.
Can guests easily schedule stays on desktop, tablet, and mobile? Is your booking process secure, so guests can rest easy when sharing credit card and banking information online? Dig deep into your online booking features functionality and user experience to make it user-friendly and safe for everyone.
PRO TIP: Give your website visitors opportunities to book all throughout your website by adding call-to-action buttons on other webpages, within blogs, and anywhere else appropriate beyond just a page on your navigation bar.
2. Make your hospitality website mobile-friendly.
Did you know that two-thirds of Millennials are comfortable planning and booking an entire trip on a smartphone (compared to just one-third of people 35+), according to Millennial travel data collected by Google?
That’s right! Youths are booking their entire trip from their phones. For hoteliers without mobile-friendly websites, you are behind the curve. Not only do people want to book their stays this way, but search engines who serve your website want your website to be mobile-friendly too. It’s so important, mobile readiness is a direct ranking factor for major search engines like Google.
If your property’s website doesn’t currently have a responsive website design, your mobile search engine ranking could be at risk. Learn more about responsive design here.
3. Personalize your travelers’ website experience.
Online travel statistics show that over 90% of travelers want personalized online experiences. And who could blame them? No one wants to be just one fish in a sea full of marketing nets.
One hospitality trend you can’t skip is personalizing your guests' experience, whenever possible. But when you deal with hundreds or thousands of guests, how could you possibly reach them all, personally? By utilizing a property management system (PMS) that integrates with a client relationship management (CRM) tool, of course.
Through the power of this symbiotic integration, you can leverage personality tokens from your CRM right on your website. Instead of having a static website that looks the same for everyone that views it, you could make your web pages dynamic, wherein the content of a page differs for different visitors. From serving unique content to different personas to adding small callouts like someone's name right on your web page copy, the customization possibilities are nearly endless with the right HTML configuration.
4. Provide self-support tools.
When you need help from a company, do you get excited about contacting their support team? Chances are, that’s a big no. Not only can it be frustrating trying to get a hold of someone to get your answers, but it’s disruptive when you need a solution now.
You’re not alone. An astounding 79% of individuals surveyed say they expect organizations to provide self-service support tools to help customers find answers without having to contact support.
Your business can grant guests the autonomy they need to get instant answers by incorporating helpful self-support tools right on your website. See the proof for yourself by exploring all the reasons self-service check-in features are a game-changer for properties.
Another way you can incorporate self-support on your hotel’s website is by implementing a chatbot. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, these savvy bots can answer common questions instantly, without any of your front desk workers ever needing to answer the phone or reply to an email. While your chatbot will help boost your conversion rates, communicating with your guests is more than just automated responses, so be sure to review all the best forms of communication here.
5. Show off your social media presence on your website.
Social proof posted online is especially poignant when it comes from people yours guests know and trust. In fact, 86% of people have become interested in traveling to a particular destination specifically based on friends’, family, or peers’ social images.
But who said social media needs to stay separate from your hotel website? Since many potential customers rely on social media and an online presence when making their booking decision, showcase your positive online presence right on your domain.
Try including user-generated content like images in a slider bar on the bottom of your home page— with your guests’ permission, of course— to show would-be guests what they could expect in real life. While professionally taken stock photos can be useful, let guests see what others are experiencing through their own lens, both literally and figuratively.
Your website is also a great place to showcase your great social media reviews and testimonials. Either sprinkle this social proof across your site by shuffling reviews between other content or devote a unique web page solely to your reviews.