5 reasons your website is costing you bookings

Create a seamless online user experience that quickly allows visitors to research and book with you.

A company’s website is its first opportunity to make a positive impact on a prospective client.  While a great website is no guarantee of a booking, a bad website can dramatically impact your reputation and business bottom line.

Here are five reasons your website may be costing you bookings:

1. Poor Navigation

We all want to stand out and be creative, but your hotel’s navigation should not be the place you start; save that for the design. When it comes to navigation keep it simple. There should be a logical path to each piece of information that your customer seeks. Internet users have grown accustomed to browsing the web a certain way and too much deviation from the norm causes confusion and frustration and typically results in the customer leaving the site.

2. Missing Information

Old, out of date, irrelevant and “missing” information is the last thing a traveler wants to find when they visit your site. Content should be fresh, timely, easily scannable and lead visitors to your desired call to action, whether that’s making a reservation, signing up for a loyalty program or otherwise. Photos are great to help site visitors visualize the experience, but should not completely replace key information outlined in text. Amenities included, specials, location and surrounding area descriptions, directions and most importantly rates and special taxes and fees should always be up to date and easy to find. These are details that are more likely to influence a traveler’s decision.

3. Hard to Find Contact Information

If a visitor is still interested, but can’t find what they are looking for or have additional questions, they’ll likely try to make contact. Centralized booking numbers are great, but also include a local phone number and an e-mail address or contact form. Don’t make it hard for them to connect with you. These details should be easy to find and accessible from any page of your website.

4. Too Many Distractions

A nice selection of music can help communicate the mood and ambiance of a property, but it’s an unwelcome distraction in the browsing experience. The same goes for videos that auto start upon landing on a page and too many pop ups and advertisements. Keep the extra bells and whistles at a minimum and remember to just say no to flash introductions and animations.

5. Not Optimized for Mobile Devices

The proliferation of travelers, both leisure and business, who research and book travel via mobile devices continues to drive changes in website design and functionality. According to the 2012 Traveler Study by Google and Ipsos MediaCT, 40% of leisure travelers book from a mobile browser. These users are typically looking to quickly make same or next day bookings. Of the top 7 reasons travelers don’t book using mobile devices, four are directly attributed to the website quality: hard to read/navigate, slow response time, inability to book and too cumbersome. Ensure your website is responsive and offers a consistent experience on smart phones and tablets. Don’t miss out on these easy booking opportunities.

While it’s impossible to convert every visitor to your site, it’s important to create a seamless online user experience that quickly allows visitors to research and (hopefully) book with you. Your website is likely one of your biggest and most profitable sales funnels so don’t waste the opportunity to increase your conversion rates and convert random visitors into loyal customers. Create user experiences that keep your ideal clients in mind and avoid these five website pitfalls.

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April D. Thompson

April D. Thompson

Travel Blogger

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Last Updated: November 6, 2013