How to Improve Your Hotel Website Conversion Rate

How to Improve Your Hotel Website Conversion Rate

If you have ever looked at the traffic analytics for your hotel website, you may have noticed that there are a number of website visitors that simply don’t convert into bookings. Depending on your site, this could be a surprisingly large number of people that don’t book direct.

Taking a look at the conversion paths that your visitors take and provide insights into how people are spending time on your hotel website. For user pathways in this industry, most people aren’t booking a room the first time they land on a booking page.

Instead, they’re going to be shopping around, comparing prices, and looking for the best place for their upcoming trip. Since the path to a room booking is multi-channel and multi-device, you can’t rely on a single customer acquisition strategy to work every time.

Assuming your hotel website has traffic coming in from different sources, the next best thing to focus on is conversions and conversion rates. Once somebody has landed on your site – you need to think about how you can get them to take action by booking a room, making a dinner reservation, submitting their email, or something else. 

In this post, let’s take a look at how to create a hotel website with relevant pages that are designed to turn website visitors into bookings or conversions.

A Quick Look at the Hotel Website Booking Funnel

Generally, it’s not difficult to drive traffic to your hotel website. There are plenty of avenues for driving traffic such as SEO with organic search, PPC from paid ads, social media, etc.

The important thing to remember here is that traffic is a vanity metric – unless it converts.

At the bare minimum, there are a few requirements that your hotel website needs if you want to achieve the average conversion rate:

  • It should load quickly and be easy for website visitors to navigate. Don’t forget to ensure it’s easy to use on mobile devices, since most people are using their phones to browse hotel websites and make a room booking.
  • Plenty of helpful content should be available. This includes images of your hotel, information about the location, specifics about the services, lists of amenities, and so on.
  • Your hotel website needs a simple and streamlined booking platform. They should be able to check travel dates, see the different rooms available, and quickly check how much their stay is going to cost them.
  • In 2022, the website needs to be secure (SSL certificate) with an equally secure method of taking payment details or visitor inquiries.

This is just the bare minimum and missing out on any number of these requirements means you could be losing potential customers. Now that you have a better idea of how to set up the website for your property, let’s take an in-depth look at the hotel website booking funnel.

With any website and sales funnel, it’s expected that you’ll get some user drop-off at each step. This means users will click back or exit the page any any stage in the funnel.

There are a lot of opportunities that your potential customers would have before they decide that they’re not interested in staying at your property. For example:

  • Slow loading website? They’re going to exit the tab or click back to the search results.
  • Room descriptions aren’t easy to find? They’re going to exit the tab and check out one of your competitors.
  • Shady looking booking system? People are careful with their credit card details and will simply spend their money elsewhere. 
  • The price is hard to find or travel dates aren’t available? There’s another drop-off.

For your sales funnel, some of these experiences are completely normal for your users. People price compare, if the dates aren’t available there’s nothing you can do, and the smallest thing could turn a user off of your site.

However, if the site is driving steady traffic, from users that are actually interested in your property offer – then you’re looking at higher chances of a booking! Isn’t that the goal?

The strategy here is to optimize your hotel website for the people that are most likely to book. Let’s take a look at how to get that done.

How to Optimize Your Hotel Website for Conversions

The best way to start optimizing your hotel site for conversions is to get family with the booking funnel of your users and potential guests. 

Top of the Funnel Users

It’s at the top of the funnel where you’ll find the largest number of people that are mostly likely to result in a booking – if everything goes right. These are the people that will find your website through your hotel SEO efforts, social media, word of mouth, Google reviews, or from any other part of your digital marketing strategy.

It’s these users that are in the earliest stages of planning their trip. They’re looking for inspiration, dreaming about destinations, or making some tentative searches for somewhere to stay.

Middle of the Funnel Users

These are people that are actively starting to plan their trip, or are deep in the research phase.

Assuming you’re taking advantage of good SEO (working with an SEO agency for hotels, for example) and you have a hotel content marketing strategy, you’ll be getting a lot of these users on your site.

With these people, it’s likely they’re going to be adding their travel dates, checking availability, and price comparing between properties and booking platforms. Since we’re still in the middle of the funnel, many of these users still won’t continue through with a booking.

Bottom of the Funnel

At the bottom of the funnel is where you’ll find the people most likely to book. You’ll still see some drop-off here, but these users are probably going to follow through with a booking.

To start improving the conversion rate of your hotel website, you need to find where your website visitors are dropping-off and why it’s happening.

Determine Where You’re Losing Customers (And Why  it’s Happening)

Tracking key performance metrics, such as traffic, user interactions, and conversions, is one of the most important features your hotel website needs. 

Even with an amazing website theme, none of it matters unless you know how many people are visiting your website, how they’re finding you, and what they’re doing when they’re on the site itself.

While there are a number of analytics tools you could be using – Google Analytics is what your hotel website needs, at the bare minimum. If you don’t have any analytics set up, you could reach out to us for help or contact your developer/web team to get it installed.

Tracking Conversions and User Pathways with Google Analytics

With Google Analytics installed, check to make sure it’s configured to track conversions. Don’t worry – reach out to us for help if you’re having trouble with the conversion or data tracking.

Google Analytics, or GA, makes it easy to get a visualization of your hotel website booking funnel. You can easily see where your traffic is dropping off the most – and can react to make improvements. 

To get started, visit the GA dashboard. From here, navigate to Conversions (on the left-side menu), then select Goals and click through to Funnel Visualization.

This will give you an accurate visual of your hotel website booking funnel. You’ll be able to see exactly where drop-off is happening in the booking process.

Keep in mind that there are some normal patterns you can expect in your funnel. Some of the patterns you’ll see here could include:

  • People landing on the hotel home page and immediately bouncing (leaving). A slow loading website is one of the main reasons for this. Another common issue could be the overall design – it just didn’t grab their attention above the fold.
  • Visitors that browse the website, spend time on multiple pages, and still leave. It’s possible they didn’t find the information they were looking for to help them with their booking decision.
  • People that made it to the ‘check availability’ page and dropped off might have found the price too high or thought the booking experience was shady.
  • Don’t forget to check traffic source as well. Visitors from organic social media posts are likely looking for more information on the content you shared (and not necessarily interested in booking).

Improving Your Hotel Website Conversion Rate

After looking at the traffic metrics, you likely noticed some patterns with how users were acting on your site. To improve conversion rates, you need to address the pain points your users are experiencing and provide relevant solutions.

Take the time to review your hotel website. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does every page have a purpose?
  • Does every page fit somewhere relevant in the hotel sales funnel?
  • Do website users have a logical next step on every page that leads toward conversion?
  • Are the pages on the site properly optimized with the right hotel SEO keywords?
  • Are there any additional common barriers to booking on the site?

Does Every Page Have a Purpose?

In most cases, it’s not the homepage that people are going to land on when they find your hotel website. You probably don’t want that to be the case either.

If you’re using content marketing to drive traffic, then you’re going to have a number of different category pages and blog posts where users are landing on the most. This would be pages on your site such as specific rooms pages, the dining or restaurant page, helpful blog posts, Etc.

Somebody landing on the dining page, for example, is likely interested in the hotel restaurant, one of your promotions, or something related to dining at your property. From here they should be able to easily access a menu, book a table, or find out how to contact you without having to go back up the funnel to your homepage.

Does Every Page Fit Somewhere Relevant in the Hotel Sales Funnel?

On the topic of the dining page, the purpose of this page is probably not going to be to encourage a room booking. In some cases, the restaurant or dining pages could stand on their own and would even require a localized marketing strategy to target diners or local visitors to visit.

For the hotel itself, the dining page would be more of a compliment to your otherwise traditional resume Pages or blog posts. It’s not like there is a ‘right way’ to approach this strategy when it comes to your hotel sales funnel.

However, the important thing to remember is that you always need to keep the end goal in mind – conversions, in this case. From here you can work your way back up the funnel to determine the content you need to create to help get those customers booking rooms.

Do Website Users Have a Logical Next Step on Every Page That Leads Toward Conversion?

Since conversions are your goal, what’s the next step? What is your call to action (CTA)?

One of the hotel copywriting mistakes I see most often is that many properties aren’t using a clear CTA where it should be used.

Let’s take a wedding business, for example.

Many hotels look to attract wedding business when they’re putting together their annual marketing plan. With weddings, there are room blocks, catering services, and plenty of incremental revenue from showers, post-event meals, rehearsal dinners, and other add-on events.

Ask yourself – how do people plan and book their weddings?

It’s similar to the way people plan and book vacations and leisure travel. There are a number of steps along the decision-making Journey, such as researching and planning, before a booking is made.

However, it’s important to note that the needs and pain points are quite different. 

A property that’s optimizing wedding-related website pages for conversions would be looking for a request for proposal to be submitted or looking for a sales team to be contacted directly. This is a big difference from a room booking as a conversion.

Are the Pages on the Site Properly Optimized with the Right Hotel SEO Keywords?

Moving on from all of these conversion examples, I want to talk about another one of the most useful acquisition strategies.

When you’re taking advantage of digital marketing to drive traffic to your hotel website, it’s important that the traffic is high-quality. This means you want to be ranking as high as possible on Google for the valuable hotel keywords that you’re targeting.

We have a lot of content here about driving website traffic for hotels and finding hotel keywords that you can check out if this is an area you’re stuck with.

There are three things that make a keyword ‘high-value’ for your property:

  1. Enough people are searching for it (volume),
  2. It’s possible to rank for it (low competition)
  3. The intent of the search term aligns with your page (relevance).

The last one, “intent”, relates to user intent and is something that needs to be considered for every page on your hotel website. This is something to keep in mind when you’re looking to improve or increase conversions.

For intent, what’s the problem that the visitor needs solving? Subsequently, what’s the action that you want the website visitor to take when they land on your hotel website? 

As long as these two questions have the same answer, you know that a page is properly aligned with user intent. 

Are There Any Additional Common Barriers to Booking on the Site?

Finally, we’re at the final piece of the hotel website conversion puzzle and we can tie everything together.

When it comes to Common barriers, where on your website are you losing the most customers? Take a look at your website traffic analytics and see where most people are dropping off.

This will give you the best idea of what needs to happen so that you can win the conversion.

Some of the most common barriers to booking include:

  • Targeting the wrong keywords, poorly designed hotel website, or you’re looking to convert the user too early in their buying journey (dropping off at the top of the funnel).
  • The website is too complicated for a user to follow the next logical step towards a desired conversion, the page content is missing key information, or there isn’t any social proof for a positive trust factor (dropping off in the middle of the funnel).
  • The booking system doesn’t feel secure or the price and availability doesn’t match up with the user’s expectations (dropping off at the bottom of the funnel).

When you have a hotel website that’s easy for the customer to use, find information, and make a booking – that’s when you know that it’s optimized for conversions. 

When to Start Optimizing Your Hotel Website and What to Test for Optimizations

Now that you have all of this information, the most important thing to do now is to start testing.

Without a doubt, the best way to improve your hotel website conversion rate is to test and react, once you know what works. 

Start taking advantage of split testing or A/B testing. This makes it easy to compare two different variants or layouts of your hotel website so you can get a better idea of what works. 

Some examples of split testing for a hotel website could include testing different headlines, using a pop up versus not using a pop up, trying out different call-to-action layouts, using different buttons or different colors, Etc. There are plenty of opportunities for split testing depending on the outcome you’re looking to achieve.

If you’re interested in learning more, there are plenty of helpful and in-depth guides online about A/B testing that you can check out. I recommend checking out this A/B testing guide from Hubspot, which will give you a more advanced understanding of how you can properly optimize your hotel website for conversions using split testing.

You can also split-test with your hotel email marketing campaigns and your hotel newsletter – another area of improving conversions that you shouldn’t gloss over.

Final Thoughts

While it looks good to have a lot of traffic, none of that traffic matters unless you’re getting bookings. I like to call traffic a ‘vanity metric’ unless it’s actually converting.

As long as you know how the hotel booking funnel works, you’ll be able to improve your hotel website conversion rate. When you understand where you’re losing people, you can make the right changes to address those common barriers to bookings.

If you’re having trouble improving the conversion rate of your hotel website or you need help getting more bookings, don’t hesitate to contact us. We love working with hotels and we’re happy to make some recommendations for your property.

Hey! I'm Alexander - the founder of Wizard of Tourism!

About the author

Alexander has been working with business in the travel and tourism industries since 2012. With over a decade of experience, Alexander and Wizard of Tourism strive to help those in the travel industry grow their business online.