Websites For Hotels: 5 Tips To Gain More Direct Bookings.

With a never-ending release of new plugins and elements to enhance your hotel’s website design, it is important to recognise what is most relevant and necessary for you.

A well-designed website is the most important marketing channel you have.

The website of your hotel is not only meant for potential guests to make direct bookings, but it is also a way to reduce the 15% - 30% commissions you are paying to OTAs. But your potential guests will not magically stumble upon your hotel’s website just because you have developed one.

So how do you get noticed by your ideal guests? How do you get them to make a booking with you instead of their preferred OTA? How can you equip your website to accommodate the new landscape of travellers?

Let us get started on how you can leverage these tips to increase direct bookings in the coming year.

Responsive Design

Research shows that 90% of all travel searches are online and 51% of which are on a mobile, so gone are the days when hotels could get away with a website that isn’t mobile-friendly.

But what does it mean to have a responsive design?

Responsive Design is when the content of your website is dynamic and responsive to different screen sizes.

If your website is not optimised for different devices, the rest of your marketing plan will fall flat. Unresponsive web design also eliminates any possibility of a future relationship with your potential guests.

Responsive web design is also a ranking factor in search engine algorithms, so a website that caters to all different devices means better chances of being discovered by your ideal guests.

We recommend using this free online tool to determine whether your existing website has a responsive design:

Optimising on-page SEO

SEO has to be one of the most important pillars for any hospitality marketing strategy.

Maybe you have always wanted to learn more about SEO. Perhaps you are afraid of the complexities of optimising your content for search engines like Google.

Regardless, SEO is the practice of improving the quality and the quality of traffic to a website through organic search results. But SEO strategies are often long-term, cumulative and industry-specific. In other words, an SEO strategy for an e-Commerce brand should not be the same SEO strategy for your hotel.

A good place to start developing your hotel’s SEO strategy would be keyword research. By determining what keywords your prospective guest is likely to search, you are able to create more valuable content regarding these keywords to appear in front of them.

If you are interested to know more about how you are able to optimise your website based on hospitality’s best SEO practices, check out ‘5 Digital Marketing Strategies To Market Your Boutique Hotel’.

Branded Photography

Beautifully shot images are essential for any good website design. Simply put, the survival of your hotel is largely dependent on your guests' feelings towards it and nothing builds strong positive feelings towards your hotel like high-quality images showcasing your premises.

Your hotel photography will not only live on your website, they can be repurposed for Instagram, Facebook, Google and Email.

These hotel images need to align with your hotel's brand and also revealing in all the best ways, from the bed to the Nespresso machine. Potential guests will appreciate having the interior view, especially for more detailed travellers who prefer to know exactly what they will be getting before booking.

Here is a quick rundown of all the essential shots you need to have of your hotel: The exterior, the hotel lobby, your rooms, wedding & events, dining options, the spa, pool or other amenities.

Are you opening a new hotel or just finished a renovation? Schedule a call with our photographers at KOVA Collective to produce visuals that are consistent with your hotel and follows brand guidelines across every channel.

Website Load Speeds

Speaking of high-quality images, they often can slow down your hotel’s website when not uploaded in the correct dimensions or file format.

With the attention spans of website visitors getting ever shorter, you will need to ensure that your web elements are optimised to avoid your potential guests from waiting too long.

The best hotel websites load up within 2 - 3 seconds.

Here are some considerations to optimise your photos or videos on your website to speed up your load speeds:

  • Hosting your videos on YouTube or Vimeo while embedding them on your website can dramatically reduce the file size

  • Images intended for large displays should not be larger than 1MB in file size

  • Images intended to be full-screen, background images should be around 3000 pixels wide

  • Images should be saved as JPEG while design elements and logos as PNG

Also, we recommend using this free online tool to determine your existing website’s load speed:

Email Marketing Integrations

While increasing direct bookings is the main goal of your website, not all conversions are room reservations. You may have other goals like increasing events & meeting inquiries or even restaurant reservations.

A good strategy to achieve all of these goals is by collecting the emails of your potential guests and clients.

This provides you with a rare opportunity to directly communicate with your potential clients.

How do you collect your ideal clients’ emails? A common way is a ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’ call-to-action (CTA), but an even more effective strategy is a free offer. A free offer is something that your ideal clients will find helpful or valuable.

Final Thoughts

Again, this is a non-exhaustive list of tips to consider when equipping your website to accommodate the new landscape of travellers. Other elements like having a hotel blog, a live chat function or a direct booking engine are also essential. Such components are often overlooked by hoteliers when developing a website to increase direct bookings.

Unsure of where to start optimising your hotel's website? Schedule a call with one of our experts at KOVA Collective. We work with hoteliers like yourself to enhance their existing digital presence to drive more direct revenue and connect with more potential guests.

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We provide done-for-you branding and digital marketing for hospitality businesses to increase their brand awareness, stand out from the competition and get more leads.

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