Category Archives: Online Bookings

Mobile First Index for Hotel Website: Reinforce Your Efforts to Foster Rank & Bookings

Hoteliers!
Do you have a hotel website?
And you try to get more visitors there?
As well you pay attention to online website bookings?

Well then, it’s time you have to listen to what Google has to say. Why? Because, recent announcement from Google demands change in the way you have been building up your hotel website and online bookings.

Just a couple of days back, Google declared that they are going to carry out an experiment that would transform entire search results we get for our queries (of course, to provide better search experience)! Tech gurus call it ‘Mobile-first Indexing’. According to announcement, the ranking system that currently looks at desktop versions of a website, will now primarily consider mobile version of a website to rank it in search results.

What does this mean?

In a nutshell, Google will consider what does your website look like when viewed from a mobile device in order to rank it in results. (I know you just picked up your phone to check it ) System will bring those web pages higher in search results that provide most useful content and superior user experience on mobile devices.
Mobile First Indexing for hotel website

Mobile First Index: Game-changer enters the spotlight now!

Following this announcement, Google is introducing latest ranking system that is mobile-friendly and is mindful of content that performs better on smaller screens. Mobile-optimized web pages are indexed and used for displaying search results for both mobile and desktop users.

Why hoteliers need to pay attention to it ?

Well, since you have a hotel website and you always try to keep it on higher ranks in search results; you need to pay a close attention to this.

What hoteliers can do to stay firm in this transition from desktop to mobile websites?

  • Square one: Are you present there in mobile world?
    If you are already up-to-date with mobile-ready website, you do not have to change anything. Still you better how does your hotel website appear on smaller screens!
    Well, if you don’t have a mobile-optimized website yet, get a one ASAP. Preferably, you need to pick a responsive web design for your hotel website.
    This means, your website will adjust itself according to screen size and type of device to deliver uniform experience; without having to build different website for different screen sizes. Relieving, isn’t it!
  • Load time and relevance do matter, because
    Load time and relevance do matter
    To check load time of your property website, you can try using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. You can even get Custom Recommendations to increase your website’s speed. For more information and tools, check this out: How to Create a Better Mobile User Experience
  • What about content?
    When people say Content is King, it holds true always. Ensure that your website contains up-to-date quality content that helps it rank better. It is recommended to keep the content and links of mobile version similar to desktop version. You can use Read More links to put adequate content on smaller screens.
  • Don’t have a mobile site? Don’t mess it up in hurry, take your time to make an accurate one!
    Never launch a broken or incomplete mobile site, it would only hamper your search result rankings. Take good time to properly build it.

Mobiles bring in-store revenue: How this index shifting affects Bookings for a hotel website

Your website is a mechanism that popularizes your brand and transforms visitors in guests; a source of revenue that you cannot afford to bypass.

Google is aiming to make web browsing easier and well-suited for mobiles, by introducing this index. At bottom line, it helps businesses increase mobile visitor traffic on their website. Your mobile website will be primarily used for search engine indexing, which clearly implies that if you don’t have a mobile friendly hotel website;
then your rankings will be affected and consequently ‘bookings’.

Moreover, you might even face reduction in website traffic, also, even guests who reach your website on mobile will not convert and abandon booking process due to poor experience.

It is high time for you to measure the impact of mobile searches done by bookers.
Run the test here to see how does your website appear on mobile

Researches have shown that hotels with mobile friendly websites have higher chances of boosting mobile conversion rate to 5% or above. At such times, an excellent (Responsive!)Booking Engine can prove to be a booking booster. Read how-

  1. Clear and simple booking process and forms
    A quick 3-step booking process to instantly and easily book a room at your hotel from smartphones.
  2. User-driven appearance and UI to fit mobile browsing
    A responsive booking system that blends beautifully with your website theme and contains responsive structure, would provide matchless user experience.
  3. Instantly loading on smaller screens
    It should take no time to load and work smoothly, giving splendid booking experience to mobile bookers.
  4. User Engagement
    Compelling user friendly booking environment makes a visitor stay longer on website, thus reduces chances of booking abandonment.

Alternatively, if one website (your own, of course) is not enough for you; if you want to get more visibility; then you must consider flaunting your inventories on Online Travel Websites. Trust it, this way you can attract global traffic of guests at your property. Wondering how you can do this? Simple, get a Channel Manager and get set with all those highly popular travel sites right away.

Importantly, though started on a small scale, this whole update is in Testing Phase as of now. Hence, you might see the minimal effect initially.
It will take a couple of months for Google to completely launch this index. Meanwhile, you can prepare and arm yourself with knowledge and tactics to rank higher in Mobile First Indexing.

Behind the scenes: Where this all started

Mobile is incredibly changing and dominating the way people access web content. In recent times, the number of people hitting a Google Search from mobile devices has already surpassed the number of desktop searchers. When you want to know more about something you right away look at that smart-phone next to you, don’t you?
Well, Google knows it all. Hence, to make search results more useful, Google is now emphasizing ‘mobile-first factor.’ Therefore, if your website delivers poor user experience to mobile visitors, warning bells should ring in your head.

How mobile is taking over: These stats are enough to say it all

This recent research by Google makes it very clear what role mobile plays in shopping behaviour of millennials. They are more likely to shop for hotels and accommodation on a smartphone right away. These figures tell it all,

2/3 of young travellers plan antire trip on smartphone

64 millenial travellers book a hotel room from smartphone

66 millennial travelles search for flights and hotels on smartphone

Leisure Travellers & Business Travellers

(Source: Millennial Travelers: Mobile Shopping and Booking Behavior)

Now, you cannot overlook power of smaller screens anymore when it comes to capture the Let’s-book-it moments of millennial travellers.

The End Note

For industries like hospitality, dependent largely on digital consumer channels; very soon mobile will be everything. The way number of mobile users in bookings and travel shopping is booming, you should definitely pay heed to your digital appearance on mobile devices to keep up momentum.

Afterthought:

Right now, somewhere your guest is looking at your website from his smartphone to book at your property. Go and see for yourself how does your website look on that smartphone!

[This article originally appeared on ezeeabsolute.com/blog/]

Hoteliers – do you want to surge direct bookings? Learn the Amazon way!

Hospitality segment accounts for 9% of global GDP, and there are still enormous scopes to grow business in this ever growing sector. The tourist population has increased twofold in past 20 years and is expected to increase at the same pace for the coming two decades. This is why now it is an exciting opportunity for the hoteliers to bank upon this tremendous growth and the changing face of travel and tourism industry. For this, they have to figure out new and innovative ways to attract more travelers to their properties.

With Google and TripAdvisor adding the ‘Instant Booking Function’ it will be easier for hoteliers to facilitate bookings directly on their web portal

With Google and TripAdvisor adding the ‘Instant Booking Function’ to the myriads of other services they offer, it will be easier for hoteliers to facilitate bookings directly on their web portal. It will be similar to booking from an OTA website. However, in order to reap the benefits, the hoteliers will now need to create a smart plan to keep up the pace with competition for direct bookings.

Of late,with the intrusion of OTA’s and middlemen, a feeling of compromise has germinated within independent hoteliers. The OTA’s spend heavily on online marketing and customer acquisition, leading to their stronger presence, due to which there is a growing sense of anxiousness for hoteliers. In this scenario, the hoteliers- in most occasions- have to give huge commissions to them and eventually compromise with their room tariffs.

A majority of travelers these days conduct an online research on the internet for their travel planning with search engines like Google

Google and TripAdvisor contribute significantly in the decision-making process of the travel planners. A majority of travelers these days conduct an online research on the internet for their travel planning with search engines like Google. TripAdvisor helps them further to have a concrete assessment before finalizing the entire trip. With Google entering the instant booking segment, it has a direct competition with its giant advertisers. TripAdvisor, so far, had claimed to be an independent review aggregator which may now not hold true as it has entered the direct booking segment too.

3

Now coming to Amazon, it depends largely on user generated content with the prime objective of fostering sales.

Let us see how Amazon manages this so efficiently:

THE STRIDE TO TRIUMPH IN AMAZON STYLE

Be the owner of your own user generated content

Amazon does not rely on or allow other agents to participate in collecting user-generated content (UGC). This automatically paves way for a direct relationship with customers by procuring their data for direct communication. Similarly, as an hotelier, you can find multitude ways to gather UGC. The front desk staff can politely request the guests to contribute in UGC capitulation activity. In addition, the hotelier can grant access to the connection on signage across the premises for the guests to participate and share.

Empower the customers to share content effortlessly

Amazon gives the customer a platform to share their experiences in the form of text, photo, star ratings, video, etc. This allows the customers to generate a genuine review quickly in a manner which they are comfortable. Just like Amazon, even hoteliers can pleasingly appeal their guests to share their story without imposing unnecessary hiccups.

Channelize reviews to attract organic traffic

With the increase in a number of reviews on the website, more visitors are likely to land up on the website. Amazon masters the art of sharing these reviews quite effectively providing value addition for website visitors. Hoteliers too can utilize this approach and work towards receiving direct feedback from the guests so that the management can assess the shortcomings and improve on them.

Independent hoteliers will have to pay more attention to website and content layout

The procured database of new guests will certainly be the most valuable assets for the hotel. Demographics, purchase behavior and buying preferences of the guests available from the data can take the management far in preparing strategies to deliver higher conversions on their future campaigns.

Google and TripAdvisor have recognized a new revenue generating way that goes hand in hand with their existing specialties. In contrary to that, the independent hoteliers will have to pay more attention to website and content layout in such a way that it ultimately compels the guest to book.

Do’s and Don’ts for enhancing online hotel booking conversions

Over the past few years, hoteliers have adapted to various sources to receive maximum hotel bookings. Although various studies suggest that more than 20% of hotel’s revenue is sourced from OTA’s (Online Travel Agents), bookings can come from any where, it could be from online travel giants such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, InstantBooking, hotel’s own website or even the hotel’s Facebook page. Thus, eZee has accumulated few guidelines of do’s and don’t that will help hoteliers receive more booking from the online world.

ezee-tips

Below are a few of things to ‘do’ which will enhance hotel’s online reputation:

blue-check-mark-th  Dazzle your guest with lucrative Visual Content:

To enhance online visibility and increase bookings, let the visitors view exactly what they are booking. With various high definition images and instant gratification of a descriptive video displaying the best features of the property, the guest will be able to easily view the type of room they require. Additionally, visual content will enhance hotel’s visual appeal which will further draw the guest in.

blue-check-mark-th  Accurate and Compelling Room Description:

It is essential that you provide a compelling room description, that will extensively describe the room and amenities offered by the hotel. The detailed room and hotel description will enable the guest to make quick and informed booking decision.

blue-check-mark-th  Optimize room rates and enticing booking packages:

The room rates are the most important information the traveler is looking for. In the very competitive hotel industry, the best way to attract more bookings is to offer the most optimized and competitive room rates and attractive booking packages. Additionally, while describing the packages, use appealing descriptions like the best room with complimentary breakfast instead of simply mentioning hotel room with a continental package.

blue-check-mark-th  Decorate your services and add a little extra:

Appeal to the guest by offering a few complementary add-ons like free WiFi and airport pick up. At times, some travelers who are booking from OTA’s visit the hotel website for to get for information on the hotel. At this stage, you can even draw the guest in by providing enticing deals and packages on booking directly with the hotel.

blue-check-mark-th  Seamless connectivity with distribution channels:

Get a dynamic and robust channel manager that provides 2- way XML connectivity between the channels and hotel’s front-desk. The seamless connectivity will result in efficient distribution and diminish the risk of overbooking. The captivating and swift booking experience will enhance the guest interaction with the hotel and build up the guest relation.

blue-check-mark-th  Target your audience and provide them an exceptional booking experience:

Offer your guest a dynamic and efficient booking engine that is flexible yet simple to use. Every hotel has a specific target demographics, to get the maximum output select a booking engine that offers a variety in GUI, which is alluring to your target audience. Moreover, a smooth and efficient booking experience will further enhance guest loyalty because the guest may not remember the price he paid, but rest assured he will always remember the ease and efficiency he experienced while booking with you.

blue-check-mark-th  Responsive website and mobile friendly booking engine:

As an hotelier, you have to comprehend that the modern traveler is quite tech-savvy and demand the best service on their finger tips. Therefore, it is essential that hotels provide a responsive website, which is compatible with all type of devices and a booking engine which is secure and mobile friendly.

While the above points are things hoteliers can do to boost revenue, there are few issues that can drive the traveler away from booking at your property. Avoiding these issues will ensure you make the most of the online resources and lead to increase in bookings.

Below are few arrangements to avoid to increase online bookings:

avoid in hospitality  Broadcast correct data at right place:

Make sure the information you are publishing is appearing in the appropriate panel. Displaying room description under cancelation policy is not the correct way to go and will simply confuse the booker with chances of him starting to look for other options.

avoid in hospitality  Be direct and transparent about hotel policies:

One of the driving forces to book a room is the easy availability of complete information such as nightly rates or hotel’s terms and conditions should be easily accessible. Transparency in hotel policies like cancelation and refund procedure helps the booker to have faith in the hotel and make the booking readily.

avoid in hospitality  Keep it simple and savvy:

Since travelers can be from any part of the world it is not necessary for all of them to comprehend The English language. Avoid using a lot of jargon or abbreviation while publishing description or policies. (like CXL for cancel or PAX for number of people). keep the language brief and simple to understand.

avoid in hospitality  Shun away from using uncommon symbols and unnecessarily terminologies:

Avoid using infrequent symbols like (•) in the descriptions, rates or policies as they can make it difficult for the booker to understand your content. This can confuse or mislead the booker or may even head them towards abandoning the booking.

avoid in hospitality  Don’t ignore a negative review, instead start engaging with the guest:

According to many hotel industry experts, one should always respond to an online hotel reviews irrespective of it being positive or negative. This will minimize the damage and refurbish hotel’s reputation. Furthermore, hoteliers can even acquire recurring business by responding a review with supplementary discounts or packages for next stay.

Conclusion

While the do’s of the list are essential to attracting guest, the don’t of the list have a pretty critical implications as well. In the midst of the competitive hotel industry, it is vital to stay abreast of the upcoming trends, prioritize strategy and work towards the methods that drive exponential bookings and upsurge hotel revenue.

This article was originally published on ezeetechnosys.com