Conversion Rate Optimization: The “Other” Hotel CRO

You’ve been studying your hotel web site analytics, and you’ve discovered a disturbing trend. Visitors are up, thanks to your SEO and edistribution efforts. Some visitors are even starting to book a room—only to abandon the process halfway through. Even more visitors never start booking a room at all.

What gives?

You’re looking at an opportunity for hotel CRO or conversion rate optimization.

Why No Bookings?

If you’re looking for reasons why an uptick in web site visits are not translating into increased bookings, the first area to scrutinize is the site’s landing page. This could be the home page or any page visitors tend to land on first when coming from other places on the web—search engine results, social media, or travel-oriented web sites.

Take a hard look at that landing page, trying to see it from a customer’s perspective. Better yet, ask a few people whose opinions you trust to look at it and pass along their impressions.

Chances are, all your hard work making it easy for customers to find your hotel web site is going to waste. Why? Once they land on the page, you aren’t making it equally easy to book a room. Ask yourself:

  • Where is your “book now” link or button? It should be in a place of honor at or near the top of the page—big and easy to see, not a wimpy text link or worse, located so far down the page the customer has to scroll to find it.
  • How quickly can customers go from web site lookers to room bookers? Are you requiring them to click through several account creation screens first before they can even look at available dates? That right there is a big bottleneck you can eliminate by allowing visitors to one-click register with an existing Facebook or other social media account.
  • How simple is your pricing structure, and how easy is it to find and apply a special rate that a customer might have originally spotted via a pay-per-click ad elsewhere on the web?

Test Different Alternatives

Once you think you’ve pinpointed the issues, develop two or three alternative page layouts to test. Watch the looker-to-booker conversion rate carefully to see which layout resonates best with customers. Bring your “beta lookers” back for another round of viewings and critiques.

Another useful tool to consider is a survey that pops up before a visitor leaves the site. Though many will skip it, enough will take the time to offer some valuable insights.

Finally, don’t be surprised if what you feared might require a major web site overhaul turns out to only require a few minor changes. Little tweaks can have a big impact.

Want to convert more lookers to bookers? We can help with hotel CRO. Contact us today!

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