It’s become very common now for travelers to book their vacation accommodations through online booking websites. For resort owners and hoteliers, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as having your establishment listed on one or several online booking sites is a surefire way to gain more revenue for your business.
However, there is a little bit of a downside to having most of your bookings going through online reservation sites. Your direct interaction with your prospective customers is reduced, which can prevent you from maximizing your sales pitch and sealing the deal.
In some instances, searchers may only be canvassing for accommodations by looking through online reservation sites. After all, this provides an easier way for them to compare several options at once.
If you want to increase your revenue through direct online reservation while also enticing new patrons, the first thing you should do is to have eye-catching, cohesive web design for your resort, hotel, bed & breakfast or hostel. Many travelers look at the websites of resorts and hotels, and if available, even of bed & breakfasts and hostels before making a reservation. These websites can provide all the information a traveler needs to make an informed decision on where they’ll be staying for an upcoming trip.
To make the most of every sales opportunity, you may want to consider these few pointers:
Many travelers are taken in simply by seeing the images of an accommodation. This means photos of the business’s facade, front desk, lobby, guest rooms and suites, and even adjacent amenities like the pool. Additional pictures of conference rooms, event halls, restaurants, and bars allow guests to imagine what their stay would be like at a given establishment.
Images of the best views from the rooms and suites can also be included, as these will demonstrate to new customers that you have the best vistas in the area, which will add to their enjoyment and satisfaction.
In addition, be sure to include in your collection photos of nearby famous places, to let prospective customers know about the nearest tourist spots they can visit from your location. After all, proximity to places of interest is one of the key points travelers consider when deciding on the perfect accommodation.
Have a professional photographer take the photos if you haven’t already, and then have a website designer arrange them into a beautifully flowing slideshow. Ideally, have the designer lay out the design with the slideshow being one of the first things a new customer sees upon landing on your website. Take note, however, of the number of photos you want to include on the slideshow. If you inundate your visitor with images, or run the slideshow for too long, you might wind up with the opposite of your intended effect, and drive away viewers.
If you have more photos you want to showcase on your site, have a separate photos or gallery page set up. And if you have a separate page for your rooms and suites, don’t forget to include a picture of the room or suite with its details.
Visitors of your website are looking for one thing: information. Giving potential guests an overview about your rooms, amenities, and services allows them to picture themselves while at your establishment, and if they like what they see in that picture, they’re more likely to book with you.
You may want to include information about room types and the amenities available in each, as well as the room’s size and number of people it can accommodate. Knowing the number of people that can fit in a room right away is important for someone booking for a group.
If you have adjoining rooms available, have that information available immediately. After all, when it comes to someone booking for a family, especially one with children, it’s important for them to know whether you have connecting rooms: these make it easier for parents to be with or attend to their kids.
Make sure to also have separate pages for amenities and services that are available to all, even guests who aren’t staying with you.
Your business’s address and contact information should also be located easily on your website. Ideally, have these available at the top of the site, so your new customers can see them immediately should they need to locate and contact you for reservations.
Have a separate contact page where they can also get your fax number, find more secondary contact information, or send an inquiry via email to you directly. Include a separate location or access page as well, where you can post a map of your location. You may also wish to provide more helpful information such as easy routes to your location, local weather conditions, or convenient public transport options near your area.
Finally, it’s not a bad idea to have an “About” page that informs people about your business, such as when it was started, who owns and manages it, years of operation, and other business facts. All this makes you more credible in the eyes of your prospective client.
Not all viewers may be able to read English. In this case, you may want your website to be multilingual, enabling it to be viewed in different languages via a dropdown menu on the top of the page. Of course, you don’t have to put all the languages of the world in your website. About three to ten languages may do the trick, depending on the town or city and country you’re located in.
Enabling different languages for your site will show international travelers that it will be easier to stay with you, as there will be no language barriers to overcome, easing the burden of communicating in a foreign country.
If you often have new or recurring promos for your business, have them posted somewhere noticeable on your main page, or add them as a pop-up page or icon whenever your site’s opened. You can even have a separate page for them.
These promos will entice new and old patrons alike, if they’re noticed right away or presented in an interesting way.