The 1-2-3 of Conversion Optimization for Hotels
Reaching your conversion goals is arguably the single most important function of your hotel’s website. Yet the vast majority of properties fail miserably at it improving conversion rates. And, remarkably, we all think that’s OK.
Anyone who uses a relatively good analytics program is familiar with the conversion goals metric. You regularly check it to see how many times your goal is achieved. And you quite rightly pay attention to the conversion rates and boost your SEO or paid advertising to improve them. After all, the more times you reach your goal, the higher the return you get from your digital marketing.
However, despite the attention paid to conversion goals, and how important they are to bottom line results, online conversion rates wallow in the single digits. Most of us would be thrilled to get a 5% conversion rate.
The ecommerce experience underlines the sad state of online conversion rates. Average ecommerce conversion rates range between 1% and 5%, depending on the product category, the device type used by customers, etc. Yet average in-store, bricks and mortar retail conversion rates are in the 25% to 40% range.
That makes bricks and mortar rates an average of about 1,000% higher than online rates.
Why Are Online Conversion Rates So Low?
First, it’s a matter of course that online rates will have a tough time matching bricks and mortar rates simply because of the nature of the internet. When a person walks into your hotel or facility, they are somewhat “captive”. They can’t leave instantly, like they can do when they land on your website.
Unfortunately, you can’t really do much about the inherent flightiness of your online visitors. Regardless of where they are in a conversion funnel, when they are on your site, they might be distracted by an email from a friend, they might suddenly remember to check yesterday’s scores, or they might get the urge to check their step-count for the day – all of which will lead them away from your site, regardless of what you do.
On-Page Conversion Optimization: However, if you look at and work on the on-page factors that affect conversions, you’ll find lots of ways to dramatically increase conversion rates.
Three Fundamental Ways to Increase On-Page Conversion Rates
Entire books, websites, podcasts, etc., are devoted to conversion rate optimization. But, if you don’t have a formal on-page conversion strategy and don’t want to wade through all the advice, here are three fundamental tactics of conversion optimization:
- Create Personas – Before you can convince web visitors to take your conversion call-to-action, you need to get to know them better. Personas are composite written “sketches” of typical customers.
For example, if you were optimizing a landing page to attract corporate event managers to your facility, you would create a persona that represents many common characteristics of that target audience, potentially including:
- Age range
- Educational background
- Job description
- Typical personality traits
The more detailed you get, the more you will get to know your audience. In the vast majority of cases, you will need multiple personas for a landing page.
- Consider the Buying Stages – Different people arrive at your site and/or landing page at different stages of their buying cycle or travel shopping journey. Some may be just starting to think about a vacation, others might have done some research and are now looking deeper into their short-list of potential options, and still others might be close to making a reservation.
The more closely your landing page addresses where the visitor is in his or her buying cycle, the more relevant its information will be to them, and the more likely they will be to convert.
- Test, Test, Test and Test Some More – Even if you read all the conversion optimization books, attended all the webinars and listened to all the podcasts, you still would not necessarily have a conversion optimization strategy that is best suited for your particular business and conversion goals. And, even if you found one that worked really well and produced great results, it can always be improved.
AB testing, or multivariate testing, shows you how different elements on your landing page work towards improving conversion rates.
An ongoing program of comparing page elements through testing, and choosing the ones that perform the best, is the best way for you to continually improve conversion rates.
It’s a Never-Ending Story
There is no single answer for how to improve your conversion rates because conversion optimization is an ongoing process. Whether it’s testing or discovering more about your target audience, you can always do more. To learn more on how to optimize your path to conversion, watch our free on-demand webinar, “The Clear Path to Conversions.”