In this article Seekom will touch on five important things every operator needs on their accommodation website. Having a website is critical to securing direct bookings as an accommodation provider - direct bookings mean no commission fees to pay OTA's, repeat customers, direct reviews against your accommodation and better prices for your guests. There's many aspects that make up a great accommodation website, we've listed 5 of the most important ones to help you get started, or to help you identify where you need to focus your energy on.
Professional photos are one of the most important aspects to an accommodation website. A good image can be the deciding factor when it comes to a customer booking direct. Often the image will be the first thing that catches the potential customers eye - so it's always best to make sure you use a professional. With the technology we have today however, you may be able to use your own mobile phone. Just make sure the photos are taken in landscape so they can fit nicely on your website. Here's an article by iGMS that gives information on how to great photos yourself if you're that way inclined.
In conclusion - whether you use a professional or you do it yourself - make sure they're good! You can always send a few to Seekom and we can provide you with feedback. Trust us when we say we've seen a lot of property and room photos.
Now this can be hard for some operators depending on the country and type of accommodation (see: rate parity) However if you're able too - make your direct rate the lowest rate for your accommodation or room across all digital channels. Often users will do some heavy research on where to get the best price if they've chosen you as their choice of accommodation, if your price is the lowest on your website, guess what, you're getting that direct booking. Easy right?
Ah yes - the booking engine. You can have a fast website, great photos and an awesome rate for your guests, but if the booking engine doesnt work, is slow or hard to use, you can lose a lot of potential customers at the stage where add their payment details. Having a functional and easy to use system for users to book is essential. Not only will your conversion rates increase (thus earning more revenue) you'll make the guests life easier, which in turn can increase the review they leave you as the enter your accommodation already stress free.
SEO is another essential and important aspect of a website. SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimisation" - which in short means that your website is optimised to be found on search engines. The better optimised, the more often you show up in search results, meaning more bookings. SEO is a complex topic and requires a serious ammount of time to get right, however there's lots of tools out there you can use to assist you with it. Seekom recommends you use an audit tool such as Neil Patel's "Ubersuggest" to get started.
If you're using a WordPress website, the easiest tool to use that tells you what to do to each post or page would be Yoast.
You can also look at an agency or contractor to undertake this work for you, however make sure you get a few quotes to make sure you aren't being overcharged for the work.
Good UX (user experience) and UI (user interaction) on your website can also be the deciding factor to a user booking with you. The flow through from landing on the website, to making a booking must be easy, intuitive and simple for the user. Often we see simple websites actually performing better than really detailed fancy websites, as the user gets the information they are after in a clear way which they can understand quickly and make an informed decision right there and then. If you would like some examples of good website design - please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, see our website services by clicking the below button.