A recent survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey stated that even though a majority of travelers book a hotel through a travel website, 22% of travelers take a look at the hotel’s original website before making a final decision.
Creating a website is not a one-time ordeal. You need to keep it continually updated. As your business evolves, so should your website. With 68% of travelers booking rooms online, nearly 50% use the hotel’s website to make the booking. That’s a huge number. You need to stay ahead of your competition.
It’s not a matter of simply making your website look good. It’s more than just picking the right theme, or adding the right content- all that is just fluff. You need an additional push, to make your website work well from the core. The tips stated below might not seem simple, but they are simple to implement and are extremely effective. These simple tactics which will help improve:
- Website Speed
- User Experience
- Search Engine Ranking
for your Hotel or Bookings website on WordPress.
Are you ready?
Let’s take a look!
#1 Optimize your Website – The Images, The Database, The Code, Everything
Your website, is like a human body. You have to keep it lean, to keep it swift. Content- in the form of text- is like protein. It adds power your website. Images- are like carbs. You need them too. But an overload of heavy images can turn into fat. It can make your website slow and sluggish. Bad code– is like bad cholesterol. Things won’t turn out well if there is bad code. You’ve got to get rid of it soon.
Cut down the fat!
The simplest way to keep your website in control, is to optimize it! When it comes to images, or the database – you should use an optimization technique or an optimization plugin. There are several WordPress plugins available to check the code quality as well.
At WisdmLabs we use Kraken.io to optimize our images. Alternatively If you’re looking for a plugin, you could use the EWWW Image Optimizer, or Optimus.io. If you want to explore optimizing images in detail, you could read ‘How to optimize images to speed up page load in WordPress‘.
Your database contains information added by you or your plugins. Over time a lot of information might be accumulated in your database making the database heavy. You can use the RVG Optimize Database plugin or follow these simple steps mentioned in ‘How to clean up and optimize your WordPress database‘, to remove unnecessary data.
Now I know, optimizing your code might be a bit tricky. Especially if you know nothing about it. So don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you to make changes in PHP. You can consult a professional for the same. But here’s a simple tip you can follow when picking a plugin for your website- To evaluate if the plugin contains poorly written code, reviews might help, but to evaluate it yourself, you can use the P3 Profiler plugin.
#2 Don’t make them wait – Use a Content Delivery Network to Improve Page Speed
If you know CDN, you know I’m talking about images again! Images are a vital part of any Hotel website. And when there are a lot of them, they can slow down your site. Optimization can reduce the size of the webpage. But to speed up the response time, you need a CDN.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a collection of servers in different geographical locations. It is used to feed content efficiently when a request is made. A CDN can be used to store and deliver high quality images to reduce the page load time.
I don’t have knowledge of the best CDN, but we’ve tried out MaxCDN at WisdmLabs, and we can say it’s pretty good.
#3 Make it Simple for Customers – Use a clear and obvious Search Option
Have you taken a look at Hotels, Priceline or Expedia? What’s the one thing that’s common across all these sites? A you-can’t-miss-it search option! These websites make things simple for their customers by providing them exactly what they are looking for.
You should too.
On a bookings website a search option is vital. It’s the go-to option for visitors looking to book a room. Now, if you’re using a plugin like WooCommerce Bookings on your website, it does not inherently provide a search option. In this case, an add-on plugin will help. For example, the WooCommerce Bookings Availability Search Widget can be used to add a search option.
#4 Help Customers make the Desicion – Provide User Reviews and Ratings
Customer reviews influence a visitors opinion. The stats say that 38% of users refer customer reviews to make a decision. So, if you’re doing everything to make customers happy and they are writing about it, get those reviews listed on your website. If they are listing them on TripAdvisor, use the TripAdvisor widget to import their reviews on your site.
#5 Don’t fall behind – Search Engine Optimize by adding Meta Tags
Have you heard of meta tags?
Okay. I’ll ask a different question.
Have you heard of rich snippets?
Not a problem.
Have you seen star ratings displayed below a search result title?
So these star ratings, a.k.a rich snippets, are displayed by search engines like Google, when information is provided in form of meta tags. For example, if you make Google aware of the ratings your hotel has received using meta tags, Google will display this information to a searcher using rich snippets.
In fact search engines will value information added as meta tags, because they provide an overview of the page, and thus make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for.
For a Hotel website, the Lodging Business Schema, can provide you details on the meta tags which can be added to a web page. For information on how to add meta tags into your WordPress website, the article ‘How to display rich snippets for your WordPress website‘ is worth a click.
#6 Don’t lose out on Customers – Make your website Mobile Ready
49% of the visitors you receive browse your website using a mobile device. And if your site is not mobile ready, you’re losing a chance and closing more sales.
Making a site mobile ready, or rather responsive, means tweaking the styling so that it is seamlessly displayed across mobile devices. This can be achieved by using a responsive theme or using a plugin like WPtouch Mobile.
A responsive website will be recognized by Google as well, and will have a positive impact on your search engine rankings.
Over to You
Apart from these techniques there are several other techniques you can employ to improve your Hotel or Bookings website on WordPress. But I’m not going to list them all here. The floor’s open to your suggestions. So by all means, write them to me, using the comment section below. And do let me know your thoughts on the above list and questions, if any 🙂