Dear Hotel Owner, Revenue Manager, Ecommerce manager,
If you are among those who believe in the fairy tale of potential customers looking directly for your brand’s website before booking, I have a bad news for you: this is a pure myth or legend, unless you are one of the biggest hotel chains in the world.
Indeed, a recent research, made by the World Independent Hotels Promotion, demonstrates in numbers, how long and how complex is the path that brings travelers to finalize their room reservation on independent hotel’s website.
Let’s take a quick look at what goes on during the booking process:
- Time consumed on hotel’s website: 14 minutes. Yes, apparently people do take their time to explore hotel’s websites, even more compared to travel booking websites where people spend only 11 minutes. What do guests explore more? The homepage of course, then come the rooms pages, the location and all other information;
- 6 Days and 18 hours is the average time that takes costumers, from the start of the purchase cycle, to the final booking. Within this time, the potential guest will visit at least 17.5 travel websites and 10 hotel brand’s websites, retourning at least 3.78 times to the hotel’s website before reserving the room;
- Around 73% of the people booking directly on hotel’s websites, specifically looked for that hotel on search engine;
- How do this people arrive to your website? 24% heard about it through family or friends suggestion; 20.2% searched on an OTA website but ended up on the hotel’s website to finalize the purchase; 16% landed from a reviews website like Tripadvisor; and the last 3.4% arrives from direct email marketing sent out by the hotel to his potential clients;
So what is the strategic bottom line that we can evict from this interesting research? The key point is to have a well designed hotel’s website and a pervasive distribution strategy. How can you reach that? There are multiple answers to this question. However we believe that the essential steps are the following:
- Assure a top quality customer service, pre and post guests’ arrival. The word of mouth is the most valuable tool for an Independent hotel
- Be on OTAs, Google and Tripadvisor: people have to be able to find you when they look for a specific location, you can’t afford to be autonomous.
- Have a mobile Website with a Mobile Booking Engine: Google’s new algorithm will heavily degrade your SEO ranking if your hotel’s website is not mobile friendly. Additional, travelers will immediately abandon your booking engine if it’s hard to use on mobile. (hotelRSV is ranked #1 with 100/100 points for Mobile User Experience).
- Work on your SEO, build a blog: Create valuable content for your website. Having a website is only the first step, building your position in Google is the real challenge, and it is possible. A good SEO strategy will surely pay off in time. Forget about old rules, one of the most important rules for good SEO is: have a blog that talks about your hotel, city and region.
- Partner up with a valuable, complete and reliable booking engine: hotelRSV guarantees the complete guest management cycle, from the purchasing moment till the departure of the guest, with Smart Reviews™ system.
If you want to discover more about our platform, don’t hesitate to contact us here, we’ll be happy to show you a demo and answer to all your questions.