Written by: Gala Kulakova
Conversion rate is one of the main metrics that hoteliers use to analyse the performance of their marketing efforts. While all marketing actions have significant importance, there is no question about the importance of the conversion process.
While it may sound obvious, more leads do not always mean more conversions. In order to increase your conversion rate rather than trying to get more leads, work on attracting better leads. Lead generation can be tricky, and your goal here is not to attract as many users as you can, but to attract the right users, that would be interested in the content you are offering and that would be likely to make a purchase decision.
We already know that better leads mean better conversion rates, as the users you attract are already predisposed to booking a hotel room, and they are not only searching the web looking for nice pictures. But how to attract better leads? First and foremost, you need to do your studies. Defining your buyer personas and their traveler’s journey. By defining the profiles of your ideal customers and mapping their journey as consumers of travel products, you will prepare the ground for your content marketing strategy that would reflect the goals of your efforts. The content you then design and distribute would attract the right people that are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, which increases the probability of them making a purchase and becoming the guests of your hotel brand.
The second strategy that will help you increase the conversion rate is working on the quality and usability of your website. The hotel website and the user experience (UX) play vital role in the success of marketing campaigns and they have a direct impact on the conversion rate. While it has been discussed for decades, often hoteliers fail to acknowledge the importance of a quality website.
The design of the hotel’s website should be functional, and it should reflect the latest technology trends. That is, if your website design is more than 2 years old, chances are you need to redesign your website, as it probably has not implemented the latest best practices in technology, design and UX. When thinking of design of a website, it goes without saying that it should be mobile-friendly and responsive, as over 50% of website visitors access it from their mobile devices. Also, the structure of a website is paramount, and a sitemap would be a strong asset.
Imagine having to wait for 5 seconds to access a regular page on a website, what would be your first impulse? To leave the page, probably. Google reports that 53% of visits are abandoned if a web page takes longer than 3 seconds to load on a mobile. Fast downloading speed of your website on both mobile and stationary computer has a significant impact on improving the user experience and it increases the motivation of a user to interact with the website.
Image: Moose Photos
Booking engine should provide a seamless booking experience in order to create the perfect conditions for users to make a purchase decision. A booking engine should strengthen your website, provide a good product presentation and UX. The speed of the booking engine is a significant aspect to take into consideration, along with design and UX.
Today, customers value and even demand personalization from hotel brands. Studies show that the website normally have around 8 seconds to catch the attention of a user, and in these 8 seconds, a visitor needs to see something he/she can relate to. Personalization can be implemented in personalized content of promotional nature that can be achieved by using real-time tracking of user behaviour.
Market and rate parity should be a constant attribute of a marketing strategy of a hotel. The rates of the hotel should be comparable to the competition, and should be in parity across all distribution channels. One way to ensure competitive advantage is to offer your customers special offers and promotions that will persuade them to book your hotel instead of the other one.
Consumers always look for juicy promotions and offers that would reduce the cost of their holiday. An implementation of personalized offers or unique benefits would add value to the purchase and would have a strong impact on a conversion rate of a hotel. The experience you offer your future guests should be truly meaningful and compelling, so the packages, offers and promotions you create should clearly transmit the added value.
Image: Moose Photos
One of the most effective ways to retain your clients and to increase the repeat rate (and with it, a conversion rate) of your hotel is working on creating a quality Guest Recognition or Reward Program. Today, travellers are so used to having loyalty programs for hotels and other travel companies, that they are expecting such offers to come from the brands. These loyalty programs show that the guests are truly valued and they make them feel special. It was found that 79% of direct bookings on hotel website are made by users that belong to a hotel loyalty program.
Loyalty programs are very effective when it comes to hospitality industry, as they add to the emotion factor a consumer’s perception of a brand. Guest recognition programs create long-lasting relationships with your clients and build connection and trust by conveying the beliefs of the brand to the audience. Nowadays, people stay loyal not to companies, but to beliefs and purpose of brands, so make sure to transmit the mission of your brand through the loyalty program you offer your customers.
Also, personalization of your loyalty program is vital, as your clients are expecting to receive offers that would be beneficial for them specifically. Segmentation of your database and a CRM would allow you create specific email campaigns for different groups of customers and to nurture them so that they make purchase decisions based on the offers you send them.
Improving the conversion rate of your marketing strategy is not an easy task, and it requires time and research. The decision of what approach to choose would depend on the current marketing and sales strategies of a hotel, on the available resources and the direction that suits a hotel better. But that being said, the best results would be achieved if all three strategies are combined, as they all impact the conversion process and affect the rate. Marketing is ever changing, and your strategy should evolve, following the latest trends and best practices.