What Is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for Hotels?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a digital marketing strategy that improves a website based on user behavior. For hotel websites, CRO’s purpose is to deliver a better user experience that will lead to more bookings. A good CRO strategy can further lead to other actions, like clicking on certain links, buying vouchers, joining loyalty programs, and so on.
CRO is a user-centric process that identifies what brings users to a hotel’s site, what they want, and why they leave without booking. The primary purpose of CRO is to eliminate the hurdles that deter website visitors from making a booking or taking any other on-site action that will benefit the hotel’s bottom line. At the end of the day, conversion equals sales.
How to Calculate the Conversion Rate for a Hotel’s Website?
The formula to calculate the conversion rate for a hotel’s website is simple: divide the number of direct bookings by the number of actual website visitors, then multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage.
If you have other conversion goals besides bookings – like selling vouchers, spa packages, and so on – you will use the same formula to identify their specific CROs.
The takeaway is that hotel website CROs may vary depending on several factors: the number of visitors, quality of content, your message, pricing, offers’ appeal, conversion goals, and – ultimately – audience’s preferences, needs, and behaviors.
While the science behind calculating the conversion rates for a hotel’s website may be basic, reaching your CRO goals is a tough challenge.
How Can Hotels Reach Their CRO Goals?
To reach their CRO goals, hoteliers must understand which factors and motivations drive visitors to a website, what stops them from making a booking, and what persuades them to book.
Website visitors may reach a hotel website after searching for hotels at a specific destination on search engines, OTA sites, TripAdvisor, or social media.
Factors like pricing, not enough amenities, poor ratings and reviews, lack of special offers, or a too complex booking form may drive visitors away.
To persuade them to complete the booking process, hoteliers must include prominent and brightly colored call-to-action (CTA) buttons in a visible area above the fold. Special offers, last-minute CTAs, and discounts are powerful persuasion tools on hotel websites. In addition, simplifying the booking form by excluding some fields may lead to more bookings. Last but not least, showing reviews on a hotel website may inspire potential guests to book too.
How to Improve CRO with RateParity for Hoteliers?
RateParity’s CRO platform for hotels offers the right tools to help hoteliers reach their CRO goals. It has several essential features, including AI-powered chatbot and messaging tools, a price comparison tool with an integrated booking engine, review widgets, and more.
RateParity Price Comparison Tool
Integrating the price comparison tool from RateParity on a hotel website is an essential strategy to persuade website visitors to perform a direct booking. The price comparison widget displays the hotel’s best rates, OTA prices, and additional perks only available with a direct booking on the hotel’s website. Visitors can compare prices without leaving the hotel’s website and enjoy all the other benefits offered exclusively when booking directly.
The tool does more than comparing prices: it offers hoteliers real-time pricing disparity alerts. This way, when OTAs lower their prices, hoteliers can still adjust their rates to give potential guests the best price guarantee directly on the hotel’s website.
The price comparison widgets from RateParity are highly customizable to integrate with the design of the hotel website. In addition, the tool has a dashboard for hoteliers to monitor conversions and OTA rate disparity alerts and metrics and statistics that measure the tool’s performance, allowing hoteliers to adjust their strategies and improve CROs.
RateParity AI-Powered Chatbot
The AI-powered chatbot shows guests the best rates available at the hotel based on their preferred dates, number of guests, and number of rooms. The bot can display prices and room availability for the next six months. Since it has an integrated link to the booking engine, the chatbot can lead to more conversions too. In addition, hoteliers may use the bot to increase auxiliary sales by displaying special offers, discounts, and vouchers straight within the chat.
A price comparison feature adds a plus of functionality to this tool, which can be pre-programmed to show answers to frequently asked questions and to collect user data like names and email addresses.
RateParity Cart Abandonment
The cart abandonment feature from RateParity is very valuable to help hoteliers improve CROs. Hoteliers can use several tools to re-engage visitors who have dropped out of the booking process.
- Exit pop-ups may be used to persuade guests about leaving a hotel’s website to choose a discount or save the reservation and finish the booking later.
- Emails can re-engage guests after they left the website. Emails can contain the user’s last search on the website with all the data (room type, arrival and departure dates, number of guests, price) and direct booking benefits.
The cart abandonment feature drives more direct booking, which leads to increased conversions directly on the hotel’s website.
RateParity Reviews Widget
With this widget, hoteliers can display review scores and summaries directly on their sites. As a result, visitors can see the hotel’s best facilities, features, and benefits directly on the site through the eyes of former guests. Some of these reviews may inspire potential guests to make a direct booking, increasing the hotel website’s CROs.
RateParity Messaging Platform
With several messaging tools and features available to persuade guests, hoteliers can further improve their CROs.
- Personalized in-web or mobile-ready “Smart Notes” based on the users’ activity on the hotel website, booking pace, location, and other meta-data. A possible use of Smart Notes is as an integrated part of a FOMO (fear of missing out) marketing strategy.
- Special Offers – excellent for FOMO marketing – are customizable messages targeted based on user intent, location, browsing history, and other meta-data.
- Pop-ups target users according to location, device, time of day, day of the week, and other meta-data to persuade them to make a booking based on perks, urgency notifications like last-minute deals, and other specials.
When used correctly, all these messaging tools can lead to more direct bookings and optimized CRO.
Key Benefits of Improving CRO
Improved hotel website CRO benefits both hoteliers and guests.
A hotel website, as its booking engine, need to be designed for its visitors. Several main elements must remain consistent across the entire site: the hotel’s brand identity, design, message, and usability. The browsing experience must be intuitive and user-friendly, with clear CTAs and free of elements that may confuse or distract the users from the hotel’s primary goal, which is direct bookings.
To understand the user experience and continue improving it, hoteliers may employ a variety of tools, including:
- Traffic analytics tools – like Google Analytics – to track website traffic, active users, demographics, interests, location, behavior, conversions, and much more.
- Website heatmap tools – like Mouseflow.com – to see how users interact with the site (clicks, mouse movement, scrolls, forms, and so on) and optimize poorly performing pages or areas of those pages.
- Usability testing sessions – like UsabilityHub – employing real people to eliminate the guesswork and improve critical pages.
- A/B Testing tools – like A/B Testing Kit by HubSpot and kissmetrics – to run split tests for email, landing pages, and CTAs and optimize variables to improve conversion rates.
With improved CROs, you can highlight the benefits of direct bookings and showcase your special offers and discounts in a user-friendly format that leads to more sales and higher ROI.
Another benefit of improving the user experience on your site is that it may lead to enhanced trust – and trust is crucial in gaining website visitors who book with confidence.
In conclusion, the main benefits of a solid CRO program on a hotel site include a better return on investment through direct bookings and ancillary sales and a better user experience overall.