We all know that the internet has changed the way people book their accommodation and the impact of sites such as Expedia, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Laterooms has been huge, but what about your own website? Does it actually matter? With that in mind we surveyed 500 people across UK and Ireland, to learn about how they use a hotel or B&B’s own website when making a booking.
These three stats show important your website is, particularly for guests aged 18-34.
- 85% of people aged 18-24 would be put off booking with you if you have a poor website! Is your website as up to date as it could be? Maybe it’s time for a revamp?
- Over 70% of people aged 18-34 would be put off booking a hotel if they had to telephone or email! So your website has to be able to take bookings.
- 86% of people aged 25-34 said they make all or most of their bookings online, and is still as high as 65% for the over 55’s. So it’s not just the younger generation who like to make their bookings at a click of a button.
These three stats show us that not only do your potential guests want to see a quality website from your hotel or B&B; they want to be able to book on it too. And that’s not all, we also discovered that 65% of same day reservations are done online via a smartphone! So you don’t just need a website, you need a website that works on desktop computers and smartphones.
With this information in mind we analysed the websites of 500 B&B’s and hotels across the UK and Ireland to see how they were doing, and the results were startling:
- 20% of B&B’s DO NOT have a working website! Without a website you are missing out on a huge number of guests. It’s one of the most important parts of your business.
- 66% of B&B websites can’t take bookings and payments online! We live in a world of instant gratification and most guests want to be able to book and pay right now. The worrying part is that the majority of B&B’s have not enabled their website for online payment and are turning away hundreds of bookings every year.
- 69% of B&B websites are not mobile responsive! This means you’re missing out on the majority of same-day bookers and all the other customers that book via mobile.
These three big stats show us that, B&B’s have a long way to go to take full advantage of the power of online bookings. But those that do will have a real advantage over the competition and will generate more bookings, because guests want to book online, with you, right now! So what do you need to do to ensure guests book with you?
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate and up-to-date.
By using good content including plenty of good quality images, your guests have no reason to look elsewhere. Your content should be easy to read, easy to navigate through, and have good spelling and grammar.
- Make sure your site is mobile responsive.
Your guests have to be able to use your website on a mobile device like an iPhone or Android. Your website needs to work just as well on a small 4” screen as it does on your laptop
- Make sure the booking button is obvious.
It is important that your book now button is clearly displayed on every page of your website. If it is not clearly shown on your site, guests will seek out other websites like Booking.com to book through, this may mean you end up paying a commission or it may mean you don’t get the booking at all as those sites will show other properties alongside yours.
- Don’t try to encourage customers to call you, encourage them to make a booking:
It can be tempting to hide the booking button in favour of trying to get the customer to call you directly, however most guests are put off if they have to call or email to book. As long as you have the following information on your website, your guests will book instantly rather than booking elsewhere:
- Booking button
- Good quality photography
- Google map/location
- TripAdvisor certificate
- Social media icons
- Contact details