Hotels, retailers and most businesses spend considerable marketing dollars on branding, PR, social media and advertising to drive traffic to their websites. Of their total traffic, only 1-5% of users end up converting or making reservations. For hospitality businesses, website conversion rate directly impacts the amount of revenue a hotel or resort would generate.
Studies show that website conversion rates are often less than 5% and hospitality ecommerce managers spend considerable time boosting conversion rates. A marginal increase in conversion lift can have a huge impact on hotel’s bottom line and for that reason it is important to understand how to improve website conversion. So let’s dive in.
1. Mobile first design:
Most responsive web designs are desktop designs reformatted to fit on a smaller screen. But, to truly connect to mobile users, Milestone’s Mobile First designs are conceived principally with user intent and experience as the primary driver. Milestone spent hundreds of hours testing to understand how users interacted with mobile websites, especially for its target segments of Hotels, Retailers, and Financial Services companies. Through this research, it was clear that user patterns dictated a radical re-thinking of how our mobile sites are designed. The mobile first design offers the following:
- Based on user intent and task completion
- Simple, clear, and easy to use Calls to Action (CTAs)
- Intuitive forms designed for small screens
- Gesture-based user interface that prioritizes actions
- Easy to navigate photo galleries that download quickly
- SEO and schema enabled, to provide maximum compatibility with search engines
VIVE Hotel Waikiki: A Milestone customer, beat out over 70 other winners across dozens of categories to capture the best overall award for mobile website design at the 2018 Mobile Web Awards Competition.
2. Load your site as fast as possible
When it comes to mobile pages, speed and UX matter; the faster and more optimized the better.
Digital Marketers must keep people engaged on mobile by building quality mobile-first experiences. Although this might seem like a challenge for someone without a lot of web development expertise, there’s plenty of strategies you can implement to get started. Simply compressing images and text can be a game changer—25% of pages could save more than 250KB and 10% can save more than 1MB just through compression. Google’s analysis shows that the retail, travel, and healthcare sectors have the most room for improvement.
3. Content that answers users’ questions
Your Mobile First content should be prioritized by what is most important to users in micro-moments. It’s important that you create and publish content that answers direct consumer questions about your business or property. When creating content, focus on what’s happening near your business. Keep in mind that consumers always begin their travel search with activities and destinations in mind, not places to stay. Whether you are targeting business travelers, weddings, or vacationers, directly answer their concerns.
Give consumers of all types of content on what to do to increase brand awareness and get discovered early in their search. From a conversion standpoint, some pages matter more than others, like Rooms, Packages, Amenities, Photos and Location. So, it’s essential to make sure the content is current, informational and highlights key features of the hotel.
4. Deploy a booking engine abandonment strategy:
According to a study by SalesCycle, as many as 81% of travel consumers abandon their booking process*. Use shopping cart abandonment modules to capture partially filled forms and provide “incentives”. Give consumers a reason to come back by sending them “complete your booking” emails with special offers. Abandonment modules can also stop that user from leaving in the first place by giving an exclusive offer as the visitor is about to leave your site.
If you’re interested in shopping cart abandonment and revenue recovery products, Milestone’s award-winning CMS system has built in solutions for these challenges. You can learn about our CMS by clicking here.
5. Re-engage your audience with push notifications:
Mobile users are comfortable with techniques like notifications. The ubiquity of mobile devices makes notifications a great way to re-engage consumers. Progressive Web Apps (PWA) offer an easy solution for connecting and communication with customers quickly. A PWA-enabled website lets you send messages and incentives to android users to complete a booking or to message consumers with upcoming specials. Be careful that your PWA technology has been properly deployed. The open source “lighthouse” plugin is a great way of testing a PWA site to ensure your consumers get the experience they deserve.
- Retarget offers to engaged user: A consumer is likely to visit the website of their chosen hotel at least once prior to booking. Use retargeting campaigns to keep your brand “top of mind” as your future guests continue their research. Retargeting campaigns are great ways to provide “book direct” incentives. For more info on what Milestone can do for you in re-marketing our website.
- Offer direct booking incentives: Regardless of the delivery vehicle, book direct incentives remain a large part of the attraction of booking through your website and not a third-party travel site. Focus your offers to visitors of your website by providing valuable and tangible benefits. A free glass of champagne on arrival is nice, but complimentary Wi-Fi, free parking or a free breakfast might land that direct reservation.
Implementing these easy, yet powerful techniques will help your website generate more business and revenue. A mobile first design and content, fast download speeds, AMP and PWA, and recovery solutions are a few strategies that will drive engagement and conversions.
If you would like more information about the innovative products and solutions across the Milestone platform, our experts are here to help you. Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or at +1-408-200-2211.