This is a guest article from the Founder of Boostly, a powerful marketing solutions platform for busy hospitality owners.
Your website is a one-page wonder, a stylish and user-friendly marvel of modern web design. You’ve spent so much time on it, perhaps even hired someone to build it for you. So why are people still leaving your website?
After becoming curious about this question myself, I did some research. Hotjar published an interesting post which breaks down exactly why potential customers are leaving your website, and what you can do to keep them on your site. Here’s what I learned.
1. You only have three customers…and you can only convert one.
Yes, there are only 3 people you need to worry about when you use your website for your business. The first one, according to Hotjar, are called“Just-Browsing Wanderer.” They’re not going to book with you, for whatever reason. Don’t worry about them, maybe they’re just on your page by accident.
The second is called the “Determined Hero.” They always book, always. Nothing can be done to stop them. They go through great lengths to book with you. If your website isn’t working, they’ll look up your phone number and call you to book. No need to worry about them either. They take care of themselves.
The third and final customer is the one you really need to care about, the “Undecided Explorer.” This customer doesn’t know if they want to book with you yet. Maybe they’re just researching and are in the research stage or their booking process.
This customer is vulnerable, especially to problems with your website – not just major technical issues, but minor inconveniences and design flaws. They are the entire reason why we say we need to convert customers. Most people who come to your website are undecided about your business. They may want to book a room, but they don’t necessarily want to book your room. They need to be converted into true believers who specifically care about your business.
First of all, you need to make sure that your website is as functioning the way it should. You should know what pages people are bouncing off. Make a note of your bounce rate as much as you can through design changes. That brings us to the next reason why potential customers leave your site…
2. Your website needs work
Shane Barker wrote an article about bounce rates, which cites a stat claiming that you can’t really reduce this number below 20%. You are doing great if your bounce rate falls between 26% and 40%. Anything between 40% and 50% is probably fine. If it is more than that, you’ve got an issue.
You need to determine what that issue is.
One of the biggest reasons for a high bounce rate is that your website loads slowly. You can use this Google tool to check your load speed for free. If that’s the reason why potential customers are leaving your website, then your fix might be upgrading your hosting plan and that’s easy.
The next step is to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. This is true for all websites, but in the hospitality industry, it’s twice as important. That’s because most of your potential customers are going to try to book on their phone, and if your BOOK NOW button loads off the screen, they’ll abandon you rather than try to figure out your website. If you haven’t gotten a one-page design, you should do that now.
Web design and good copy is another key to your website’s design. You can hire experts to handle but your words and your coding.
The last step is to watch your site analytics. This can help you determine from what pages, or even menus, your customers are leaving your site. This will help you determine your problem and you can start avoiding them.
If your web design and everything else is already top-notch, according to every tester and expert, then there may be another problem. That’s a problem that you, the hospitality professional, will have to handle on your own.
3. You just don’t stand out
Hospitality has never been a more popular field. Just try logging onto Airbnb and enter your address. Every property that pops up on this site is an amateur who is competing (usually successfully) for your customers. If you don’t stand out, your customers will go for a more affordable, more unique, or more convenient experience.
Your web page needs to proudly and loudly emphasize your USP, your Unique Selling Point. This is what makes your hospitality stand out. If you’re pet-friendly, showcase pictures of your dedicated dog run. If you run daily art or yoga classes, splash that across your homepage. Do you support a unique experience, like a wine tour or personal shopping? Make it a big deal. Those are things that the average Airbnb host won’t or can’t provide.
If you don’t have a USP or yours is already taken, then be ready to generate a new USP. Airbnb is also now offering experiences, such as guided culinary outings and historical tours, which can make finding a USP even more challenging. You could potentially look for community partnerships that would be difficult for average people to build and maintain. For example, not many Airbnb hosts could afford to hire a ballroom dance instructor to teach their guests to tango one night a week. That is something that you, the established, professional hospitality, could provide – just make sure your website advertises it. Your unique selling point needs to be so exciting that it converts Undecided Explorers into loyal fans.
If you would like more tips on how you can increase your direct bookings, then please reach out. I have a free 5 step blueprint on how you can cut down on commission costs and increase your heads on beds. Or, please reach out on Instagram.