These are tough times for the hospitality industry and many in the industry are looking to make their current resources work better and smarter.
Aspire, an international training and marketing company that specializes in offering solutions for the hospitality industry, has put together a list of the 10 most important tools to turbo charge your website and drive more revenues. These are low cost (in some cases just a bit of someone’s time), high impact steps you can take today to increase the traffic to your website and increased traffic means increased revenue capture.
Top 10 Steps to Increase Your Revenue Capture:
1. Current Information - Unfortunately, we tend to treat our websites like on-line brochures. We may only print brochures once a year, or worse yet, slide in a new rate card to the existing brochure. Websites are a different medium, where the average user wants, expects and demands current information. Are rates, packages, special events, hot dates/hot rates current? If they are not, your visitor is checking out your competitor’s website.
2. Navigation - The number one reason why people leave your website is due to poor navigation -this means they cannot easily find what they are looking for. The rule of thumb in the industry is that all information must be found within two clicks from the home or splash page. If they have to dig more than 2 layers deep, they are leaving your website. Remember, when they leave your website frustrated, they do not have positive feelings towards your property.
3. Book live inventory through your website - some hotels and resorts forget to offer live inventory on their website and assume that it is available since they are already working with their GDS provider for inventory to key commercial booking engines, e.g. Travelocity.
4. Register with search engines - The majority of new visitors to your website find your website through search engines, e.g. Yahoo!, AltaVista, etc. Most search engines are robots or computers. Your website provider probably registered your site with 100+ search engines, but somewhere along the way, you may no longer be registered. You or your website provider should check every 30 days to see if you are still registered with the search engines.
5. Key words - Every page of every website should have key words embedded in the coding. Search engines then take the key words we provide on our websites and they categorize them into different databases. In most cases, a search engine will let you have 40-50 key words on each page. The key here is to have key words on each page of your website and to think like a consumer when developing your list of key words.
6. Unique titles - Two ways you can help to stand out in the search engine’s list of possible website matches: give each page of your website a unique title and make sure these titles are enticing. By having a unique title on each page, you are basically telling the search engines that instead of one website, you really have 10 or 20 websites, depending upon the number of pages you have.
7. Enticing descriptions - The search engine displays the list of possible matches, including the title and URL (website address), along with a description of the website. The descriptions can change from page to page. For example, the home or splash page’s description should be a strong overview on your property, while the page discussing the rooms, should paint a picture of staying in the guest rooms.
8. Copy on the home or splash page - The search engines have a lot of rules and its up to your website providers to stay on top of the rules. One rule search engines use is assessing the copy you have on your home page. The search engines actually count how many times your key words match the copy on that page. If your key words include your hotel’s name, location, and other key information, you will want to make sure that this matches the copy on your home page.
9. Link popularity - With so many websites already on the World Wide Web and thousands more being launched every day, the search engines want to hang with the popular websites. You need to have other websites linking to your website. Check your industry memberships and see if you can have a link from your local CVB or tourism associations to your website.
10. Build and use a database - the beauty of the Internet is that you can customize your message to a lot of people quickly and easily. Through permission marketing, you will need to ask visitors to your website if they would like to be part of your database, and then send them quarterly specials and promotions that are only available to people that register on your website.
To support the hospitality industry navigate through these current challenges, Aspire, has put together Website Audit packages and other Revenue Recovery Resources?. These resources are specifically designed to help you rebuild and navigate your way through the recent business setbacks and challenges.