There are so many factors that affect travelers’ decisions in where to go, where to stay and how to book. Six in ten travel shoppers will change their mind regarding booking a hotel room based solely on what they read on social media.
You spend many marketing dollars and put an incredible amount of effort into driving customers to your website. It would be a shame if they didn’t convert when they get there.
So how can you optimize your website to interest visitors and drive them to book direct on your website?
What if the answer was as simple as adding a single line of copy to pages within your site? Well, in some cases, it might be just that easy.
In this post, we lay out a client case study where we do just that. This client’s website launched with Vizergy in June 2016. Since then the website has grown in authority and ranking at a strong clip.
While both overall and natural traffic volume have been strong, we found ourselves having a difficult time achieving a favorable CDRS (Customer Delivered to Reservation System). CDRS refers to the percentage of website visitors that actually visit the reservation system to view available bookings.
Why measure CDRS? This metric is a key performance indicator to the success of hotel websites.
Getting the visitor to the website is obviously very important, but it is only the first step. By measuring how many visitors check rates we can see if we are attracting the ‘right’ visitors.
Checking room rates is one of the last steps in the shopping process. We know that if we can deliver visitors to the reservation system, we are doing our job. Also, if we are able to offer visitors lower rates than competitors, thenthere is a good chance that they will convert.
It’s easy to drive traffic to the website, but driving traffic that checks rates is more difficult. As time goes by and we gather more data we can determine what ‘sort’ of traffic checks rates more often. With that knowledge, we can alter marketing plans and concentrate more heavily on those segments.
Results for site visitors that visited the reservation system since launching the new website have been as follows: June: 23.98 percent, July: 26.98 percent, August: 26.12 percent(percentage of total visitors), which falls a bit short of our blanket goal of hitting a 30 percent CDRS. Hitting this goal is imperative to driving website generated revenue for this hotel.
To illustrate the importance of reaching this goal, here are some website revenue comparisons:
June 2015: $166,108 July 2015: $108,491 August 2015: $172,780
June 2016: $117,692 July 2016: $101,728 August 2016: $123,215
While overall website visits this year were comparable to visits from last year, the revenue differences are undeniable. Of course, there are other factors in play such as click to call actions from other digital marketing and advertising efforts that contribute to overall hotel revenue. These factors are not included in these numbers and shouldn’t be the main factor in these discrepancies. Also, our year-over-year reservation system visits data at that time was incomplete. The client was not working with us for more than a year and this was not a metric that they were measuring prior to being on board with Vizergy.
The responsive website we launched is quite eye catching, easy to use and the reservation system is prominent on every page. However, while the website is more user-friendly than the old website, we found that the new website may also be a bit more distracting. The site is beautifully designed, there is so much to look at and read that a visitor might leave the site without ever having checked rates. If a visitor is shopping for a hotel room and is looking at multiple hotels, they may book on a site that is more straight forward, less distracting and drives them directly to the reservation system.
So, with these conditions in mind, how do we make improvements to the website that will deliver more customers to the reservation system and drive more revenue?
At this point, I certainly did not think a site redesign would be beneficial, however, I thought it would be practical to identify some of the most visited pages and use the content to remind visitors that they could check rates or special packages while there.
Identifying the top pages on the site was easily done as we had already been tracking site traffic and page views for each page. After evaluating the top pages, we added some additional copy that would encourage visitors to take a look at the Reservation system. Here are some examples of calls to action that we added”
On the “Photo Gallery” page:
“After exploring our Manhattan hotel’s photo gallery check out our rates, we look forward to seeing you!”
And on the “Rooms” page:
“Check out our current rates or special offers now!”
You get the idea. Seems simple, right? Too simple? After publishing a few of these updates in September, we started to see improvements in visits to the reservation system.
In September 2016, we hit and exceeded our 30 percent CDRS goal. It was 30.73 percent. In addition, comparing revenue from September 2015 to that of 2016 showed that the site was outperforming last year’s results.
September 2015: $175,531 October 2015: $174,116 November 2015: $147,526
September 2016: $190,540 October 2016: $211,551 November 2016: $161,737
The graphs below show that visits have been comparable to the year prior…
… while CDRS has also increased significantly and continues to grow.
Since September, we achieved 29.65 percent in customers who checked rates in October. This number has since continued to increase, showing a 34.64 percentage of visits in November.
Overall, since making the improvements to the website, we have seen an average increase in rates checked by around 5 percent monthly. More importantly, we’ve seen an improvement in monthly revenue of up to 20 percent as compared to the year prior. The client has been so pleased and impressed by these results that Vizergy has begun implementing changes such as these on many client sites. We will continue using this tactic as a best practice and hope to bring further improved results to clients in the future.
Are you interested in driving more customers to your reservation system and ultimately driving more direct revenue from your property’s website? Vizergy can help you grow your site traffic and authority, encouraging visitors to book direct on your website. Call Vizergy at 1(800)201-1949 to see how you can drive more direct revenue from your website today.
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