For those looking for a hotel, your website is only one potential stop along the information superhighway. And they may speed right by without ever realizing you’re there. But once you learn the secrets of how to increase traffic to your website, you’ll have the flashing neon sign that will help you stand out from the crowd, bringing potential customers to your doorstep and giving you the chance to make your pitch.
Here are a few tricks of the trade (10, to be exact) on how to increase traffic to your hotel website.
Discover the Top Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Hotel Website
1. Offer your best deals through your website.
Since you stand to make the most profits through direct booking, leverage one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox: your hotel website. With that in mind, it makes no sense to offer better prices or special deals through hotel OTAs or through centralized booking services.
Granted, these are go-to locations for most travelers and you need a presence there. But according to one study, up to 26 percent of potential travelers who discover you on an OTA will visit your brand-specific website before actually booking a room—and that’s when you can reel them in and cut the OTA out of the action.
2. Optimize your hotel site for mobile booking and viewing.
This is the ultimate no-brainer. Even the most brilliant ideas about how to increase traffic for your website won’t be worth it if mobile compatibility is lacking.
To get optimized for mobile use, make sure your hotel website:
- Doesn’t use Flash or other programs that aren’t synchronized for smartphones or tablets.
- Automatically adjusts photo and text sizes for smaller screens.
- Has enough separation between links so customers can tap and open without overlap.
- Loads quickly on mobile devices (about three seconds or less). Any longer and customers will become impatient and leave (that might seem hard to believe, but research proves it’s true).
Half of all hospitality bookings are made from smartphones or tablets these days, and that percentage has nowhere to go but up.
3. Fill your hotel website with interesting content.
Minimalism in art has its virtues, but on hotel websites it’, a trip to Nowheresville.
The options for content are endless: articles, hotel blog posts, guides to local tourist attractions, hotel visuals such as virtual tours and photo galleries, videos, and beyond. These types of substantial content will attract return visitors and strengthen your performance on search engines by deepening and diversifying your website’s storehouse of information. Long-tail keywords (four words or longer) are responsible for 80-90 percent of Google searches now, and you’ll be able to fit them in naturally and easily if you offer a bounty of long-form content. Learn more about hotel content marketing here.
4. Sign up for a free listing on Google My Business.
This service is free and it will get you featured status on Google Search, Google Maps and Google Plus—the whole package, in other words.
Among its many benefits My Business is mobile-friendly and lets you spruce up your listing with videos, photos, phone numbers, prices, reviews, GPS coordinates and a link to your web address. In general, the more personality you give your listing, the greater your chances of making connections with potential customers.
5. Create engaging YouTube videos that promote your hotel brand.
Here’s a fun fact: YouTube is the Internet’s second most popular search engine, dwarfing the action of Bing and Yahoo. So why not take advantage of this by creating and uploading some fun and informative videos that introduce your facilities, your staff and/or any nearby local attractions visitors might enjoy?
When you take the YouTube plunge be sure to put a link to your website at the top of your video descriptions, and label your videos with clear, search-friendly titles that will attract attention and make your content easier to find. Try collaborating with local film school students or accomplished YouTube veterans to make your videos as entertaining and information-packed as possible, enough so that visitors may decide to subscribe to your channel even if they aren’t planning to stay at your facility anytime soon.
6. Stay active on your hotel’s social media pages.
Needless to say, you should be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and anywhere else your audience is. Your competition will certainly be there, too.
But too often hotels neglect their social media pages. And stale hotel social media pages are not only a lost opportunity but can actually have a negative effect on booking stats, since they give the impression that hotel staff are just “phoning it in.”
Avoid this pitfall by updating often and you can leave your more slothful competitors in the dust. On your Facebook page, for example, cultivate fresh discussions whenever possible, provide links to interesting articles your customers might care about, offer video tours of your hotel (including Facebook Live videos) and let potential customers know all about the great deals you have available for those who book rooms directly through your website.
7. Give future guests an indoor tour of your hotel with Google Business View.
With the addition of the Business View option, Google Maps Street View has now come in out of the cold.
For the price of a photographer, Google Maps Business View will give interested parties a complete, 360-degree tour of your hotel’s rooms, venues and amenities, using the familiar Street View navigation tools. Access can be made available on Google Maps, on Google searches and on Google Plus business pages, as well as on your website if you choose to have it embedded (which you should, of course).
8. Use hotel customer reviews to your advantage.
When figuring out how to increase traffic to your site, customer reviews provide a great to do so. Adding a review option to your website will give you another way to lure visitors, since studies show most travelers won’t book unless they’ve checked out a hotel’s reviews first.
Regardless of where reviews appear, you should read and respond to all of them if you can, either with a simple “thank you” when the reviews are positive or with an apology, explanation or offer to make things right if they are negative. Searchers will expect to find some negative reviews and won’t hold that against you if they see you’re taking steps to address any problems. In fact a friendly, proactive approach with negative reviewers may help convince travelers to give you a try, since they know you take customer service seriously and are anxious to correct mistakes.
9. Don’t miss opportunities for offline promotions.
Your primary goal is to convert digital visits to real ones, but reversing the process makes sense as well.
Place your web address on customer invoices, receipts, and any other literature you hand out. Include web-redeemable coupons and other special offers with receipts, and give customers the chance to sign up for email alerts that can connect them with future website-based offers. If your customers enjoyed their stay, the chances are good they will hold on to anything you give them.
10. Bottom line: be creative to increase website traffic.
Indulge your imagination! As a rule, the further outside the box your creative inspirations carry you the more likely you’ll be to find success.
Listening to the advice of others is fine, but you have a lot of experience yourself and your instincts may be your most reliable guide.
An attractive, accessible and user-friendly website can give your hotel the edge over the competition. But to convert visitors into paying customers you must get them there first—and intrigue them enough to get them to stay, and eventually book.
Wonder no more, hoteliers, on how to increase traffic to your website. Are there tactics we left off the list? Share them with us on Twitter.