What is a hotel website conversion rate?
Conversion rate is a metric used across the digital sphere to describe the percentage of people who undertook a desired action.
In terms of hotel websites, a conversion is often defined as a customer taking the next step in the booking process or down the sales funnel. This means that the term ‘conversion’ could refer to any number of actions taken by a visitor: clicking on a link, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a digital asset, filling in a form, adding to their cart, or ultimately making a reservation.
Here we’ll look at a specific form of conversion rate: the percentage of your website visitors who make a booking.
Have you built a hotel website that is efficient and effective at converting visitors to customers? What is a good website conversion rate, and how does yours compare to other hotels? In this article we’ll answer all those questions and more.
How do I calculate conversion rate?
The conversion rate outlined above is calculated using this simple formula:
Number of website bookings / total number of website visitors/sessions = conversion rate
So, if 200 people visit your website on a given day, but only five people book a room, your conversion rate will be:
5 / 200 = 0.025 = a conversion rate of 2.5%.
The difficulty with conversion rates isn’t in the calculus. The first challenge is to capture the necessary data and analyse it in a way that generates valuable insights. Happily tools like Google Analytics and Little Hotelier’s reporting and insights feature make this every bit as easy as the maths.
The second and perhaps more difficult challenge is to understand exactly what a good conversion rate is, and how to improve yours. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered…
What is the average hotel website conversion rate?
Before we look at what a good conversion rate looks like, let’s first get a sense of the average.
Conversion rates can vary dramatically from industry to industry, so as a hotelier it’s important that you compare your numbers against those of other hotels.
A number of studies have come to the same conclusion: the average website conversion rate for hotels – the amount of website visitors who book a stay – is approximately 2.2%.
But even when we compare hotel against hotel, there’s a lot of nuance left unaccounted for. If a hotel ranks at the top of Google for relevant terms, such as “hotel [CITY]”, it will inevitably get more website visitors. But such a general search term will mean that many of these visitors will be at the very top of the sales funnel, at the awareness or discovery stages, so may not yet be ready to make a booking.
In this case the hotel is doing everything right, but their conversion rate nonetheless suffers.
What’s a good website conversion rate?
But what is a good website conversion rate if we put aside the variations mentioned above? Given the average conversion rate for hotels is 2.2%, a conversion rate of 3% or above can be considered good, though the higher the better.
Why is focusing on conversion rate important?
Conversion rate is perhaps the best metric a hotel has to measure the effectiveness of their website. It summarises how good your site is at driving direct bookings, which can make you far more money, while making you more price competitive, when compared to OTA bookings and the associated commission fees.
A focus on conversion rate will lead you to the practice of conversion rate optimisation (CRO): a set of strategies aimed at increasing the efficiency and lowering the costs associated with customer acquisition, which ultimately allows you to attract more guests.
Common reasons hotel websites miss out on conversions
Your hotel website is your number one salesperson. It shows your property off to potential guests, from all around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And like any other sales professional, its job should be to convert visitors into paying customers.
There are a few common reasons for a hotel failing to hit its desired conversion rate:
- A lack of upfront info: With endless information at their fingertips, the modern consumer wants to make an informed decision. If you don’t offer up all the info they’re looking for upfront, whether in terms of price, property details or anything else, they may soon leave your site.
- A long or confusing booking process: The further away the ‘BOOK’ button is, the less likely it is to be clicked. Long and/or confusing booking processes have a far higher cart abandonment rate than short and simple ones.
- No ability to book directly: This is the ultimate conversion rate crusher. If your site doesn’t allow visitors to book directly, and instead points them toward an OTA, you not only risk losing the business (as the guest might choose to stay elsewhere), if you do get the booking, you lose money by having to pay a commission.
- An unoptimised site: From loading speed issues to a lack of mobile optimisation, a slow, clunky, badly designed website can have visitors leaving in droves – even those who really want to book your property.
Tips to improve your hotel website content for conversion
A hotel website does many things: it forms the heart of your online presence – the place that everything from social media profiles to OTA listings link back to. It’s a place where potential guests come to learn about your property and understand whether it’s the best option for them.
So how does a small, independent hotelier increase their website conversion rate and increase its bookings? The following five strategies are a great place to start.
- Use a hotel-specific website template: Are you in the process of creating a hotel website, or are you considering a revamp? By choosing a tool like Little Hotelier’s website builder, you’ll be served up a wealth of templates built specifically for the job.
- Add direct booking functionality: A tool like Little Hotelier’s direct booking engine allows you to deal directly with the customer. Without it your conversion rate will sit at 0%.
- Review web page bounce rates: Look at ‘bounce rates’ across your site. Which pages do visitors tend to leave as soon as they arrive? Focus your efforts on understanding why visitors ‘bounce’ off these pages, and fix the issues.
- Simplify the booking process: Ask yourself: what are the minimum number of steps required to take a booking? Draw inspiration from the booking processes on sites like Booking.com, Expedia and Airbnb – they’re the biggest for a reason.
- Optimise site performance: A modern hotel website must be mobile-optimised. If yours isn’t, you risk missing out on the almost 60% of web traffic channelled through mobile devices. Get help from professionals to make your site load quickly, too.
How can I improve my hotel website booking conversion?
While there are many ways to increase occupancy in your hotel, focusing on your website conversion rate is perhaps the most effective. As your digital storefront, your website is how you present yourself to the world. Make your hotel alluring, and the process of booking simple and painless, and you’ll enjoy far more reservations, and far greater business growth.
Crafted for small and independent business owners, a property management platform like Little Hotelier can prove invaluable in increasing your website conversion rate far beyond the 2.2% industry average. It offers a number of features designed to help you attract and convert more guests than ever before:
- The website builder: Craft a high performance website using expertly designed, hotel-specific templates that get more visitors booking your rooms.
- The direct booking engine: Make the reservation process simple and intuitive with our direct booking engine, which is designed to minimise cart abandonment and maximise revenue (increasing it by up to 43%!)
- Reports and insights: Understand exactly where your conversion issues lie with our reports and insights feature, which can highlight low performing web pages and where potential guests are falling out of the booking process.
By Dean Elphick
Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).
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