As a marketer, there are a whole host of things you can do with your website to ramp up engagement and increase the chances of getting your visitors to convert: From pop-ups to overlays, notifications to banners, live chat to nudge messages, there are a wealth of tools at your disposal which are primed to make the most of your (often hard-won) traffic.
Though common practice throughout much of the ecommerce landscape, implementing these engagement tools can be a challenge for a hotelier. Non-standardized systems, siloed data, and lack of access to a website's CMS (content management system) all combine into a headache-inducing set of obstacles for a hotelier to overcome.
Addressing these challenges and implementing on-site marketing is crucial to bringing a hotel website up to par with the tailored ecommerce experience that consumers have come to expect.
Tips for successful user engagement
While it can be easy to fall into conversion 'tunnel vision' - where your sole focus is to push people over the line into making a booking - it is useful to remember that providing a helpful and welcoming experience on your website will pay dividends in the long run. Targeting your visitors with engagement tools such as messages and nudges doesn't have to just be about transactions; it can be about helping the guest and humanizing the experience. Examples include an unobtrusive "Let me know if I can help you with anything!" via live chat, or sharing noteworthy information based on a user's browsing behavior ("Bringing children? Our kids' club is open 9-5 and free to under 12s!").
Some tips: on-site messages should be targeted and smart in terms of format, content and trigger. You want to show the right message to the right visitor at the right time. For one visitor, it might make sense to display a '15% off' promotion in a nudge message once they've landed on your booking engine. For another, it may be more helpful displayed as a pop-up exit message on your homepage. Knowing your audience and having a strong understanding of their historical behavior is crucial to successful on-site engagement.
On-site marketing messages should highlight your hotel's unique selling points and explain the key benefits a guest will receive if they continue to make their booking directly with you. They shouldn't be generic or flat; if you are asking for a guest's attention, the message should be worthy of that attention. On that note, overly intrusive messages are also a no-no. Unnecessarily obstructing a user's navigation of your site is likely to harm your conversion rate.
Your on-site engagement efforts should be targeted, contextual and helpful. If in doubt, think of the way you would approach and talk to guests in your hotel. Your online messaging should replicate that experience, creating a digital equivalent of your hotel lobby.
The challenge for hotels
We understand, though, that these things aren't easy. Personalization is hard, and we see that in the way that many hotels still treat all website visitors exactly the same. Data is often siloed across disparate systems and held in a non-standardized format. Smaller properties in particular can lack the manpower required to cover key skills such as design, engineering and data analysis.
Besides, improving your website conversion rate often relies on conducting multiple small experiments rather than just making one big change. Hoteliers need the capability to make swift updates based on new data or learnings. Outsourcing brings with it the risk of hampering any kind of agile iteration of your site.
Addressing these kinds of problems is central to product development at Triptease. The ability for hoteliers to quickly edit and hone their websites based on user behavior is fundamental to our engagement feature, Message Porter.
Message Porter: Built for hotel websites
Message Porter allows hoteliers to segment and target their website visitors with messages designed to help, engage and convert. Designed to work across both website and booking engine, Message Porter offers hoteliers a wealth of targeting parameters to achieve that all-important personalized feel for every potential guest. Website visitors can be targeted by:
- length of stay;
- check-in date;
- booking lead time (early bird, last-minute);
- the URL they're visiting;
- and language, with more flexibility being offered all the time.
Message Porter is strengthened by its integration with the rest of Triptease's Direct Booking Platform, including Price Check, Front Desk live chat and our unrivalled data insights. The learnings we garner from observing user behavior on over 17,000 hotel websites are fed straight back into the platform, making it more powerful for everyone. Price Check and Front Desk ensure that the guest always sees the most helpful message for the point they're at in their booking journey, whether it be checking prices against the OTAs at the point of search or asking those final make-or-break questions just before booking. Utilising all elements of the Direct Booking Platform together allows hoteliers to bring their hospitality online and engage potential guests from the very first search.
This article originally appeared on the Triptease blog. Triptease's Direct Booking Platform is built to help hotels drive direct bookings and boost guest relationships.
Find out more on their website, or follow them on Twitter @triptease.