The age-old saying that “first impression is the last impression” holds very much true for the hospitality business. As such, providing hotel guests with a positive experience is quintessential, but not only when they arrive on-site. To impress your customers, you must invest in them before they even book a room with you.
Having an online presence for a hotel allows it to expand its reach, leading to increased sales. The possibility of constantly attracting new customers further gives the hotel an edge over its competitors, a fundamental necessity in an unpredictable commercial industry such as Travel.
Equally important, being online lets you present prospective guests with a memorable first impression, resulting in direct bookings and the opportunity to convert new guests into returning customers.
However, many hotels, especially smaller establishments, often miss capitalizing on their online existence. The process requires time and effort, and it is typically best to designate the task to a professional hotel marketing agency in the long run.
Still, it is crucial to know how to improve your hotel’s online guest experience so you can put into practice the necessary marketing strategies as and when required.
How to improve a hotel’s online guest experience
To make a positive impact from the beginning, one must indulge in a wholesome marketing plan covering all possible bases.
In short, your strategy to improve online guest experience should include the following;
- Accelerating the hotel’s brand value
- Making full use of social media
- Boosting organic website visits
- Enhancing user experience
- Providing customer care
Being visible is essential to improving your hotel’s online guest experience. Let’s face it, if your guests cannot find you easily, how will they interact with you, let alone book a room?
Most hotels now understand that a website is integral to any marketing campaign. After all, a majority of travelers check and compare several properties online before booking. And if you do not have an impressive website, the chances of enticing new customers decrease significantly.
However, being visible online includes not just your website but also social media. X (formally Twitter), Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are some of the leading social sites that are known to bring in hotel customers through paid and organic promotions.
Having a website or social media accounts is not enough. They will only serve the best purpose if you stay active on them.
Imagine visiting a hotel’s Instagram page or website and seeing content on top that dates back a year. It puts unnecessary doubt in the guest’s mind whether the hotel is even functioning.
If updating the website and social media seems like a tedious job, and it can be with frequent algorithm updates and changing trends, invest part of your budget in social media management through a hotel marketing agency like Adigital.
The vital point to remember is to be present everywhere possible so customers find it easy to connect and engage with you, leading to a positive online guest experience.
Have a professional website
We once again return to having that right first impression, and your website plays a massive part in it.
A hotel’s website is the first point of online contact between you and your client. How they perceive your business entirely depends on what they see and how they interact with your website.
Thus, a professionally designed website should have the following basic elements, at the very least, if you want to improve your hotel’s online guest experience;
- The website should be easy to navigate.
- Pages and photos should be optimized for fast loading.
- The website must be informative, answering all possible customer questions about your location, rooms, services, facilities, etc.
- It needs to have carefully curated photos and videos to present guests with enticing visual media.
- Your website should have special deals encouraging customers to book directly with you.
- The booking platform must be easy to navigate, reducing the entire process to a few clicks.
- A good website will have clear customer care options, making it more straightforward for clients to contact you via different modes.
- Having a blog on a website is underrated. A blog not only presents guests with extra information about the hotel and the city you are in but is also vital for SEO.
All of these points, individually and in total as part of your website, are integral to improving the online guest experience. More than likely, they are the deciding factors between a guest making a booking with you or not.
Seamless booking platform
Your hotel’s booking platform deserves a separate mention. That’s how important it is.
The last thing you want is to convince a guest to book with you, and then they get frustrated by the process and leave the booking in between.
So, what makes for a good booking platform?
- It should be as straightforward as possible, requiring only the most fundamental details.
- The guest should be able to book a room in as few clicks as possible.
- A personalized booking platform can further help improve a hotel’s online guest experience. Based on customer preferences, you can offer them deals or options they are likely to find interesting. However, do not overwhelm the guest with too many choices.
Email marketing is a brilliant technique that is low on cost and practical with new and returning customers. Moreover, you can use it for different purposes, from higher revenue generation to improving your hotel’s online guest experience.
A pre-arrival email is mostly a welcome message, confirming the guest’s booking and providing them with location details as well as contact information.
But a more impacting pre-arrival email will also have the following;
- Upselling options that range from early check-in deals and transfer possibilities to arrangements for any special occasion.
- Detailed information about weather, events on the property or nearby, and a city guide.
- Personalized recommendations based on guest preferences and Big Data collections. For instance, if you know the guest likes golf, you can offer them deals on golf sessions or check if they would like to book the course during their visit.
Email marketing continues even after a guest leaves the properly.
But how does it improve the online guest experience?
For starters, it allows you to thank the guest and build upon your relationship, leading to future bookings from them.
Moreover, a post-stay email is perfect for gathering feedback from the guest. It shows that you genuinely care about their visit and are eager to work on any shortcomings.
We’ve discussed different ways to improve your hotel’s online guest experience above. One aspect that brings all of them together is availability.
To create and leave a positive impression on guests, you must always be responsive to their comments, feedback, and queries. This includes conversations through your website, email, social media, in-person, or rating sites.
Ultimately, the more you interact with your guests online, be it a simple thank you for sharing a reel on Instagram or acknowledging their feedback on TripAdvisor, the better imprint you leave, positively influencing your hotel brand and reputation.