Hoteliers could convert more website visitors to customers by offering cleaner web designs and embracing mobile browsing, according to a hotel data expert speaking at the ITB in Berlin.
“You can pour more money into it to drive traffic, but that won’t work,” said Kristian Valk, Founder & CEO, Hotelchamp. “Design and mobile experience are key.”
Even “better hotel websites have trouble attracting traffic,” Valk added.
Almost 97 percent of hotel website ad spend “is really just lost traffic – it’s not just lost money, it’s a lost opportunity,” Falk said. “But it also doesn’t help the guest experience, or the way customers interact with the brand.”
Valk said getting it right online is urgent because guests who book directly via a hotel’s propriety website “spend more and are more loyal.”
For European hotel-chain hotel websites, “the first 100,000 visitors are just lost after looking at the homepage,” Valk said. “Independent hotels have lower traffic, but they’re doing a good job in conversions, which are almost 3 percent.”
Luxury chains “convert just 0.1 percent of visitors – hardly any,” Valk said.
Booking engines fair slightly better, Valk said, though they still lose 33 percent of visitors.
Valk said his company, Hotelchamp, which helps hotels increase direct bookings, analyzed data pools from around Europe. The company found that nearly all bookings on hotel websites start with awareness of the hotel, followed by interest, then desire to book, and finally booking action.
“The desire phase is when potential customers compare hotels,” Valk said. “The decision phase is critical: it’s when people decide whether to book immediately on their mobiles or later at home.”
Customers may click away if the mobile booking experience isn’t suitable, Valk emphasized.
Recognizing and then giving second-time visitors to a hotel an inventive to book again “could mean a 300 percent increase in second bookings,” Valk said, citing his company’s experience in advising London-based Strand Palace Hotel.
Moreover, the use of “urgency messages” helped the Amrath Hotel chain in the Netherlands increase bookings by 6 percent, Valk said, citing data from his own company.
This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted. Michael Scaturro is reporting exclusively for 4Hoteliers.com at ITB Berlin 2019 - www.4Hoteliers.com/itb.
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