Take Your Booking Profits Back in 2020
For hotels and hospitality, eCommerce is not a simple feat. With metasearch engines, booking providers, and online travel agencies (OTAs) blowing up the industry, guests are booking through 3rd party sites instead of on the actual hotel’s site. While these 3rd party sites can help get your hospitality brand in front of guests, the process can also be frustrating, as you lose control over the purchase — and the profit — when these reservations are booked through outside sites.
Taking back control
However, travel brands are pushing back with the goal of getting guests to book on their own sites. As we saw in 2019, hotel giant Hilton even went so far as to launch a TV commercial campaign with a movie star, Anna Kendrick. The commercials are hilarious, showcase Hilton’s modern amenities, and tactfully encourage people to book on Hilton.com.
“I always used to book my hotels on those travel sites, but there was always a catch — like somehow you’d always end up getting less…” begins Kendrick. “Now I book at Hilton.com and I get all these great perks.”
“Book at Hilton.com and get the Price Match Guarantee: If you find a lower rate, we match it and give you 25% off that stay.”
The booking rates roadblock
While hospitality brands can spend massive amounts of money on paid advertising, SEO, and celebrity endorsements to increase traffic to their sites, if your site does not load fast enough across every device and browser experience — it will all be in vain. The key is to get those guests to your site and then give them the best online booking experience as possible — better than those other travel search engines.
What does a great online purchasing experience entail? The first, and most important success factor is site speed. For eCommerce sites, any pages that are taking longer than 3 seconds to load can result in 66% of guests jumping ship, and they’ll probably go to another site to book their stay.
Travel and hospitality sites are complex, leveraging tons of dynamic features, high res imagery, and 3rd party technologies to help guests visualize what their stay will be like. These digital elements can make your site a wonderful place for guests, but they can also slow your site down. In fact, 3rd party technologies can account for 70% of page load time!
Taking site speed seriously
But the proof is in the pudding, and the leading chain of indoor water parks and hotels, Great Wolf Resorts, has proved that faster site performance directly impacts online conversions.
For Great Wolf Resorts, creating engaging guest experiences, whether it is at one of the company’s resorts or on its websites, is a top priority. And when it comes to ensuring great experiences on Great Wolf Resort’s websites, fast page load time is a key requirement. With over 30 3rd party technologies, many high-resolution images, and a legacy eCommerce platform, Great Wolf Lodge used to have site performance issues.
By optimizing its site for speed, including all of its digital elements, Great Wolf Lodge was able to improve site speed by 20%. By doing so it experienced a whopping 18% increase in conversions. And those are conversions that they own entirely, not having to share with outside travel sites.
Treat your guests online like you do offline
With the right tools in place, you can effectively guarantee a fast and consistent booking experience for your guests. No traffic-building campaign is complete without a strong finish — AKA your site. When you give your guests the best online experience possible, they’ll be assured that their in-person experience with your brand will be even better, going to your site directly when they need a place to stay.
Want to speed up your site and get more direct bookings? Get a free site performance evaluation to learn how!