Is it possible to ensure every visitor to a hotel’s website converts into a booking? Do innovative tools exist to make this goal a reality?
Despite all the resources that hoteliers are investing in digital marketing, not every visitor to a property’s website will convert. Statistically, only 1 in every 100 visitors will book. Indeed, it would be near impossible to reach a conversion rate of 100% – but there are new, innovative tools to encourage more customers to book direct. Here, we run down 5 strategies to turn browsers into bookers.
1. Activation widgets: Create a sense of urgency
Activation widgets are dynamic components on a webpage that show messages to increase interaction. For example, many hoteliers and tour operators will use shopping activation widgets. These small pop-ups display messages like “just booked!” or “only 3 left!” to instill a sense of urgency in the customer. With the implication that the price may rise or the hotel may become fully occupied, the message encourages the visitor to make the booking then and there.
2. Outstrip the competition: Real-time comparisons
OTAs are a blessing and a curse – although they are great for exposure, they can funnel direct bookings away from a hotel. Therefore, a useful tool to draw direct booking is to install a real-time price comparison widget. Although it contravenes most OTA rules to offer a cheaper price direct, hotels can offer perks. So, for instance, the widget on a property’s website could read: “$200 per night with Expedia – or book direct and receive complimentary welcome drinks”.
3. Shopping basket recovery: A gentle reminder
Shopping basket recovery windows are special pop-ups that will appear to stimulate interaction. For example, if a user is idle for an extended period, then the widget will appear to remind them they have a product waiting at check out. Alternatively, these widgets can also be programmed to appear if the user closes the website. Providing the user opts-in to cookies, these notifications can also be used for remarketing.
4. Messenger tools: Your digital concierge
Chatbots and messenger widgets are innovative tools that can engage a customer on a personal level. By introducing a level of human (or human-like) interaction, it is possible to establish a relationship with a potential client before they book. Coupled with offering exclusive deals, messenger tools and chatbots can create a more personalized experience, which is more likely to lead to a conversion.
5. Remarketing: Reel them back in
Most visitors to a hotel website will not book on the first time they land on the page. Through a small piece of code known as a cookie, it is possible for companies to send visitors targeted adverts, on the proviso that they opt-in. These will appear on search engines and social media, reminding the visitor about the hotel. Remarketing strategies are powerful and innovative tools that encourages visitors to return and complete the booking.
Innovative tools for an integrated digital marketing strategy
The effectiveness of a digital marketing and data strategy should not only be based on search engine traffic. In addition, there should also be innovative tools within the site that encourage conversions. Although each of the tools described here offers something slightly different, each one can be used to generate more conversions – generating a higher return on a property’s marketing investment.