One possible explanation on how you stumbled upon this article is most probably because your hotel does not have a website yet and you’re exploring the features that a good hotel website needs to have.
Before we delve into the details on what a good hotel website should have, let us start with why a hotel needs to have a dedicated website and where should a hotel website stand in bringing revenue to the hotel.
In relation to hotel online booking, a hotel website should serve as a tool for the hotels to generate direct booking revenue for their business. Hoteliers should be smart enough to make use of their website to benefit from the Butterfly Effect that describes a typical guest’s journey when booking a hotel online.
Having a hotel website just for the sake of having one will not bring any advantage to hoteliers. In fact, hoteliers need to ensure that the website they have is able to bring value to their guests and lessen their reliance on third parties like online travel agencies (OTAs).
Only by making sure that a hotel website is equipped with a value-added feature that motivates guests to book directly and not from a third party, a hotel will be able to find a balance between OTA and direct booking. Here we have outlined 7 key features of a good hotel website that can help hoteliers generate more direct booking revenue for their hotel business.
As technology is rapidly changing and evolving, more and more people rely on their smartphones to plan their travel including booking accommodation. A hotel website should be responsive, which means it can function perfectly across browsers and devices including desktops, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
If you already have a website, you can easily inspect how your current website is being displayed across devices by right-clicking on your website and click on the Inspect or just hit Ctrl + Shift + I.
If you’re engaging a website provider, be sure to also ask if they can provide you a secure website. Your website should use HTTPS instead of HTTP as recommended by Google. HTTPS ensures data such as passwords and credit card details that are being transferred between you and your guests are encrypted and safe from potential hacking attacks.
A website that uses HTTPS provides a sense of security to the guests and not just that, it will also help the search engine to recognize your website better.
Online Reservation System
A guest booking process should be as simple and seamless as possible. If your website currently only has a contact form, you may want to consider switching to an online reservation system. This is because the contact form usually requires the guest to key in quite a number of details which tends to shy the guest away.
On top of that, a contact form will negatively affect your hotel's reputation. First, guests will doubt that their booking is being received by the host and second, in the world where technology has been rapidly evolving, a website that does not have an online reservation system will come across as outdated and not credible.
Highlight Benefit of Book Direct
A good (read: fully optimized) hotel website should highlight the benefits that guests will enjoy when booking directly on the website as opposed to booking via third parties like OTAs.
To ensure that guests will get hooked on your website and reduce the possibility for them to return to the OTAs platform upon visiting your website, you should make it clear on your website what perks will they enjoy or what values will you provide to them if they decide to book direct.
Although the hotel needs to adhere to the rate parity agreement that they have with the OTAs, they can still play smart by providing a promo code or freebies such as Free Drinks, Free Upgrade, or Free Breakfast when guests make booking direct via their website.
Display Testimonies & Guest Reviews
In getting the guests to be enticed to book via your website, add a human element by displaying guest testimonies and reviews.
A good hotel website should have a section where it shows guest reviews, preferably somewhere on the homepage where guests can straight away notice it. Some website providers like Softinn allow their customers to manage and add guest reviews to their website via their Content Management System (CMS).
Sell Meeting Package
If your hotel has a meeting room or ballroom for guests to host events, make sure your hotel website is able to cater for that.
Ask your provider if you would be able to sell meeting and event packages via your website and whether guests will be able to send in requests for a quotation. A website that is equipped with a Content Management System (CMS) that allows the hotel side to manage content on their own is the kind of website that you should go for.
Upsell Hotel Extras
One of the features that are highly valued by guests is the hotel’s ability to upsell extras. This normally comes together with the reservation system that the hotel uses, however, not all providers are offering such features.
If you would like to bring more value to your guests and wish to outrun your competitors including OTAs, consider looking for a provider that can provide a distinctive feature like selling add-ons.
Lastly but most importantly, a good hotel website should have great content. Do you know that your website content can do wonders? Apart from providing the guests general hotel information such as contact details and addresses, you can actually have targeted content for a specific customer segment.
For example, by having content that talks about interesting destinations that guests can explore while staying at your hotel, you will be able to target leisure travelers. On the other hand, if you have content that describes more of the facilities that guests can enjoy and also the ease of transportation, you will be able to attract business travelers.
All in all, think back on the goal you would like to achieve from having a hotel website. Your website features should work towards achieving your goal, in this case, getting more direct booking revenue.
There are many website providers out there. Don’t get confused about their offer. Ideally, find a provider that can provide you all features in one package; from website development, booking engine, content management system and other functions that can provide value to your guest and your business.
Check out hotel websites done by Softinn. We provide our clients a responsive website design with a CMS system, a smart booking engine and a secure payment gateway.