New Year; New Website? Do Your Need to Alter Your Site – If So, How?
Should you feel – or you know – your website isn’t delivering as it should for your hotel than it’s clear it’s time to make some changes. A new design? A new booking engine? New content? Or a complete overhaul and whole new website? If you’re ensure how exactly to proceed, but know you need to do something; read on…
What’s the role of your website?
Before drawing up a plan for any drastic alterations to your site, it’s important you establish what your business actually has to get out of it. For an independent hotel, it’s fundamentally pretty simple (but something you need to bear in mind all the way along the process); your site is your business’s point-of-sale – effectively its cash register. If your hotel’s not part of a chain, the website’s primary aim is to produce direct bookings. To that end, it needs to fulfil that basic function and, to aid that, support and integrate with all your other marketing efforts – organic search, social media, review management and, of course, all offline marketing.
How to increase conversions?
So if you are looking to make changes to your site (design alterations, migration or mobile-optimisation, for instance), pretty obviously they should be implemented to boost revenue through improving booking conversions. How to go about this? You need to ask yourself further questions. Does the site need better content, either copy (more informed, persuasive and keyword-rich text for SEO) or visuals (imagery and video of your hotel’s exterior, interior, rooms and the local area)? Does it require functionality to integrate social content from the likes of Facebook and Twitter (via social plug-ins or other tools)? And what about the customer booking journey? How easy and efficient is that for the user? How good is the booking engine you’re relying on?
How’s the site currently performing?
Heavily related into the above point is finding out how well the site is currently performing and understanding why this is the case, so you can prioritise areas for improvement. Google Analytics is a big friend here. You should deploy it to check the rate for unique visitors (say, each month – it should be under 40%); how long users are actually spending on your site; the quality and efficacy of your content’s keywords and what they’re delivering for organic search and, tied to this, how many user visits are actually down to organic search.
Finally, make sure you’re aware of your site’s device breakdown; that is, how many visitors are accessing it from desktop/ PC and how many from mobiles/ tablets. With handheld devices slowly beginning to dominate online usage, the need to appeal more and more to such users is tantamount. Is your site mobile-optimised? If not, it’s surely time to put that right. You’ll find an agency such as Digital Hotelier is expert at creating a properly mobile-optimised web design for hotels.
Inventory and analytics FTW!
Once you’ve planned your website redesign and/ or improvements and implemented them, it’s time to go live. However, before that, you need to ensure you can measure your new site’s performance. For this, you should make sure a site (or road) map is created, including every page of the site; an inventory of all its pages, images, videos, blog posts and all other copy. Again, Google Analytics is key here. It’ll help you work out from the off which pages are performing best and which not, so you can keep tabs on them all and make tweaks from this point on.
Be sure to benchmark improvements
Finally, be methodical and organised when it comes to your approach to future improvements. This means ‘benchmarking’ them for the likes of SEO, duration of site visits, bounce rates and completed bookings. To that end then, it’s worth pointing out that, of course, a website is never finished; it’ll always require improving and altering in line with the evolution of digital technology and changes in the hotel industry.