Six Tips to convert Website Lookers into Bookers
Converting lookers into bookers is no rocket science and you only need to put yourself into the shoes of your website visitors, apply common sense and get a good website designer who knows what to do.
And remember, you only have about 10 seconds to get people's attention before they get distracted, or simply decide to leave your site. This means that first impressions matter more than ever. Visitors need to immediately understand what it is you do, and how you can help them. This is your unique value proposition.
The value proposition should be focused on what your target audience values. Simply describing the features of your establishment won't be enough to motivate the traveller to book with you. A strong value proposition should be specific, short and useful. It is the first thing that makes people decide to find out more about your services or click the back button.
Now imagine 1000 people walk into your reception but only 10 end up staying and all the rest walks out again. Spells disaster and calls for an emergency meeting to rethink strategies, isn't it?
Few hoteliers tend to look at a low online conversion as a critical problem to be dealt with and don't even realise how much money they lose every day.
But your own website is the most critical marketing and sales tool you have at your disposal and needs to be well planned, strategized and executed. The goal for the website strategist is twofold – one is to increase "lookers" on the website and second is to convert maximum possible "lookers" into "bookers".
1. Check your website performance today
To begin strategizing, first take a measure of the conversion rate that the website is achieving right now. The industry average conversion rate is 3%. If your conversion rate is below 3% then this is a cause of worry and opportunity to increase revenue exponentially. Good accommodation establishments with well planned websites are able to achieve up to 10% conversion.
Feature attractive graphic design and easy usability
For obvious reasons the most visible characteristic of a website is the design. Although it is not a decisive factor in a booking-oriented website it is certainly the first connection of the visitor with the establishment, therefore it influences their "looking" behaviour.Studies indicate that images are the second factor right behind pricing in terms of influencing the choice of establishment to stay in. With today's technology, taking a good picture is easier than ever. With a good website design any picture can look good and you don't need to spend money in a professional photo shoot. But you need to make sure your images transmit what you want to sell to your customers.
Having an easy-to-use and user-friendly navigation on your website can be a decisive factor for how long your visitors will stay on your website. Bad navigation and usability can lead to visitors abandoning the website within seconds thus not converting into bookings. It is important to keep the navigation of your website simple and to the point, preferably just one level of navigation with a clear menu that features items that users recognize.
Be responsive for mobile, smartphone and tablet users
Market numbers today show an increase in the number of customers who book online using their smart phones / mobile devices. If your website is not designed "responsive" enabling all devices to display your website properly then this is the first strategy that needs to be implemented to improve conversion rate.
4. Run promotions and special offers
It is important to provide incentives to website visitors so they choose your property over the competition. Creating special offers on your website can help you sell distress inventory in a way that it doesn't cannibalize your regular sales. As an additional benefit these ever changing offers help optimize your search engine ranking by offering fresh content on your website. Make sure your promotions are visible on every page of the website and promote your special offers in different social channels.
5. Rates, availability and online bookings
Two factors are always included in the decision of travellers: price and availability. It is critical that the website displays prominently, on every page, the ability to check rates and availabilities for the travel dates.
Moreover, many travellers nowadays have flexible dates and are actively bargain hunting and willing to trade off some convenience for a better price or package. Make sure your calendar overview displays a longer-term view of the rates and availabilities so travellers can choose the perfect vacation or business trip according to their needs and possibilities.
Of course your online calendar needs to facilitate INSTANT online bookings as this is crucial to decrease the abandon rate and increase online bookings. You must make sure that your website booking engine offers an easy and quick online booking process for guests to book a room.
Provide a trust mechanism
Providing security and privacy to your website visitors is crucial for the success of your online business. You must guarantee visitors that their personal information will always remain private, this will provide them with the confidence to book a room directly on your website.
Your website is your best sales representative, therefore it is important for it to provide the proper tools to engage lookers and turn them into bookers. But keep in mind that a sales-oriented website will only generate results if it has bookable offers!
Need a little help?
You don't have a website or need a new design - the "Africa Adventure Website Starter" package is suitable for most companies in the tourism industry ranging from accommodation to activity providers and from tour operators to restaurants. The package includes the yearly domain registration .com (existing or newly registered domain), hosting, design and implementation of up to 5 pages as well as regular website updates - just talk to us!
Not a member of Africa Adventure?
If you provide quality services to travellers within the listed countries of sub-saharan Africa and agree to adhere to our code of conduct including relevant government & travel industry regulations as well as all statutory requirements you are welcome to apply for membership to Africa Adventure.