It is approaching budget season for the hotel industry, and many may be considering redeveloping a website or looking for a new digital marketing partner. Here are a few things to consider to help make the best possible decisions with respect to delivering more revenue…beyond room nights mind you…gain greater market share and have a richer interaction with your visitors and customers.
One caveat – don’t be too overly-impressed with “techno-jargon” used by “experts.” I’ve often found that if questioned on a deeper level, many of these experts are at a loss to explain how much of what they hype actually performs. With that said, here is a list of terms that you should know, if you don’t already, and why they are important.
User Experience a.k.a. UX: This term relates to how a visitor interfaces, or uses, a website. Think of this as the BIG PICTURE. It involves visuals (images, graphics, video, etc.), navigation and ease-of-use, Calls to Action (CTA) and everything else that a visitor sees and interacts with on your site.
Navigation: These are the tabs and links that allow a visitor to explore your site and find new and interesting things about your hotel. You should make this as easy as possible for the visitor. It typically has two sub-types:
Global: This type of navigation relates to the entire site and usually involves About Us, Accommodations, Events & Meetings, Dining, Contact Us or some variation of that.
CTA: Think of CTA as your salespeople. These types of navigation links are designed to make the visitor do something you want them to do. Book Now, Email Club, Information Request and RFP are all examples of CTA.
A brief word about navigation: It greatly enhances conversion to separate your Global navigation from your CTA. Visitors often don’t book on the first or even second visit. The more times they return to your site, the more they are looking for specific information which is usually associated with CTA. Don’t make them slog through all of your Global navigation to find what they want.
Make it as easy as possible for visitors to move around your site. Make the location of your navigation consistent throughout the site. If a visitor gets frustrated, they will leave and will not return.
Call Outs: These are related to CTA in that they are selling for you. They are usually special offers or promotions. Call outs should offer a variety of offers with different images and on multiple pages throughout your site. Not everyone reacts to the same triggers nor are they ready to purchase when landing on your homepage. If you think of these as salespeople, you realize it takes seven requests for the sale before a purchase actually happens.
Some marketing firms include a link to their site on client websites. I feel this is a mistake. It is your website and unless they are paying you for the listing, it should not be there. If someone wants to know who created your site, they will call and ask you.
This is a basic start to some important hotel website marketing terms. It may seem very elementary to some, but hopefully it is useful.
If you have specific questions about your site, please post them in the comments section and they will be addressed in an upcoming post.