If you only provide your potential guests with a phone number or a form for a follow-up call to book, they don’t get the instant gratification of booking online, and you risk losing revenue from the click. To drive revenue from website bookings you need to have a way to convert online. If your business does not have a way to convert online, you’ll need enough staff on hand to convert guests over the phone or via email, and given the staffing shortage these days it may not be effective to operate this way, especially possible in a 24/7/365 world. With our Future Proof® Website Demo, you can learn how to increase bookings on your website through online conversion or schedule time with a team member to get started.
Now that we have covered why it is important to have a way to convert online, let’s dive into some ways to driving more revenue from website bookings.
Clear & Consistent Messaging
Our first tip is to driving revenue from website bookings is to communicate clearly and concisely with messages that are relevant to your potential guests, including your call to action (CTA). This means not only having compelling language in your CTA but also not having too many. Your goal here should be to have the potential guest focus on one action that leads to an impactful conversion. It is important that the potential guest sees exactly what you want them to do, and that they have a way to easily complete that action. For example, if you send out an email promoting a book four nights, get the fifth free package, your website content should feature that package prominently and provide an “easy button” to get it.
Once the potential guest has clicked the CTA, it’s important to have consistent messaging across all of your platforms and landing pages. If a potential guest clicks on the CTA in your “book four nights, get the fifth free” email but they land on a page with no mention of the promotion, they may not take the extra step to figure out how to redeem the promotion to book at your accommodation. Making booking easy shows you care about the customer experience from the start and therefore helps you drive revenue from website bookings.
Minimize Clicks to Convert & Make the First Step to Conversion Easy
Next, you’ll need to minimize the steps or clicks for your potential guest to convert. As mentioned in the last section, your conversion rate will suffer if you don’t have a clear CTA and accompanying messaging. Your potential guests don’t want to take the extra step of clicking around your site or calling your accommodation to find out how to redeem the offer or convert. Fewer clicks, more revenue!
Additionally, if you’re using a form to convert online for your accommodation and it is several pages long or requires a lot of in-depth information, the potential guest may get overwhelmed by the task and put it off until later. By using a long, in-depth form it also makes the first step to convert more difficult. You’ll want the first step to be easy because according to the Zeigarnik Effect humans are conditioned to want to finish a task once they’ve started. So, by making it simple to get started, you will raise your conversion rate.
Position the Most Important Information at the Top of Your Site
Page layout is also critical to increasing your conversion rate — and driving revenue — from your website bookings. Historically, web development experts have said that people don’t scroll. However, given the dawn of the smartphone people are now very conditioned to scroll or swipe. This means that when you design a website, you’ll want to create something that entices potential guests to scroll; this could be as simple as slightly cutting off a content block. That all being said, the key to increasing conversions is to take the work out of converting for the potential guest, so, it’s best to put the information or offer you want visitors to act on at the top of the page. Of course, it’s encouraged to have compelling content throughout the page as well as at the top, but the key takeaway here is to grab their attention at the top of the page and keep them engaged throughout the page with relevant messaging to increase conversion.
Reduce Navigation Elements
As we continue to discuss page layout and site design, keeping navigation elements to a minimum should be top of mind. When a site menu has multiple rows, obscure categories, or too many options in one category, the potential guest can get overwhelmed and be driven away from conversion. The key here is to focus on sections that involve booking, contacting you, or browsing properties as these will be the most likely paths to conversion.
Don’t Send People Away from Your Website
Another common mistake we see is that people send potential guests off your website. For example, we often see websites linking potential guests to another site’s list of attractions or activities in the area. It is always important to consider the path on which you’re sending potential guests. Here are some questions to consider to help guide you:
- Are you sending your visitors to your direct booking engine at a stage in their journey where they’re likely to convert?
- Is there a path to conversion for the potential guest from your landing page?
The answers to these questions should always be yes. If the answer is no then you need to re-assess the journey you’re creating for potential guests.
Most People Start Their Search on Mobile
Mobile is seeing explosive growth. Today most travelers start their search on mobile, even if they might switch to desktop to convert. This means that your mobile site is foundational to enhancing conversion. One key part of your mobile design needs to be a click-to-call feature since travelers tend to start research on mobile but then decide to call to book so it is vital to your revenue health to have that option.
Here are some great examples:
Notice the search bar that directs potential guests to take that first step in the conversion process: browsing properties. You’ll also notice the buttons at the bottom of the screen which gives the viewer the option to contact you and potentially convert that way.
In the Esmeralda Inn example here, you will notice their site is customized to their brand but with those same main features:
Create Compelling Content and Add-On Offers at Checkout
Now that we have discussed several ways to increase conversion rates, it is time to talk about how to increase average transaction rates. One great way to do this is by creating irresistible upgrades or add-ons at checkout. This could be something that will bring in revenue in the future, such as prompting the guest to book a reservation at the on-site restaurant, or it could be something like offering them a discount on an extra night to prolong their stay or offering champagne in the room for a fee. Checkout is also a great time to offer the guest an upgrade to another level of your accommodation.
After checkout, the guest enters the pre-stay stage of the Guest-Life Cycle which is a fantastic time to continue marketing to them and driving revenue. For example, in our Guest Life-Cycle tool, we have touchpoints in this stage to build excitement, create more offers for add-ons and upgrades, and encourage the guest to extend their stay.
There you have it! You’re now ready to accelerate revenue generation from website bookings! Recently, General Manager Nancy Connolly hosted a 20 Minute Takeaway on this topic, if you would like to take a deeper dive into the topic, if have any questions about the material we covered in this article, or need help with upgrading your website to fit our recommendations, please do not hesitate to reach out!