Nowadays everybody values having an online presence, but it takes time and resources to build a website to promote their property. One thing that should be taken into consideration is how the website is built and the information that is displayed. Many businesses get carried away by the design and completely forget about the content of the website and how easy or difficult it is for a visitor to get the information they are looking for. If they don’tfind the information they’re looking for, they will book elsewhere. To avoid the loss of a potential guest there are 6 important things that  every hostel, Bed and Breakfast or guesthouse should consider to ensure maximum occupancy all year round.

Consider the device most of your customer use to check your website

These days most travel consumers are using mobile devices exclusively to conduct all online travel research .It is better to have a website that auto-adjusts its content to the size of a smartphone or tablet (responsive) that one that is just made for smartphones as the size of screens tends to change.Check that important information like the ‘click-to-book’ buttons are easy to find and to click. Check if there is enough information about the location, rooms and prices, ensuring that the complete online experience is mobile responsive from research through to booking.

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Review the online Booking Button

Buttons are important on websites but they also have to be visible, well-located and useful. Make sure that you don’t have too many buttons as this usually distracts the visitors from the buying cycle.

Consistency of Rates and Availability

Make sure that your prices are up to date and the same across all your different partnering websites. Many hostels lose business when they advertise one place in for example and a higher on their website.There is nothing wrong with offering a better deal to customers that book on your website, but try to be consistent with the rates as much as possible.  The same will happen with availability. There is nothing worse than to book in Expedia for example only to receive an email saying that the hostel was already booked out and they did not update that information on the partnering website.

Consider your Website quality and the user experience

These days everybody has a website and it is becoming more and more common. But not so many make the most of their website It is important that your website has the information that will be needed by your customer to make the final decision to book in your hostel instead of booking somewhere else. The information and the pictures can really showcase the advantages of booking in your hostel or hide the quality that is offered by omission. This, unfortunately, happens a lot. Your hostel may offer the best breakfast ever but unless properly showcased, nobody will ever know. So try to place all the important information in the upper part of your website to make sure that your clients get the most from the time spent on your website.

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Review your Security and what PMS (property management software) you are using.

Consumers are becoming more and more vigilant about online security, especially when it comes to online payments.If your hostel’s website does not partner with a PCI (Payment Cards Industry) compliant booking engine, guests may feel uncomfortable sharing their credit card details and will go to book somewhere else. It is wise to choose an accommodation management software that will allow you to integrate all these services into your current system so you don’t have to be switching between different kinds of software.

Think about the Customer Buying Cycle and your customer’s possible triggers.

Make a flowchart and think carefully about the steps your guests have to take to book a room into your hostel. Try to minimise the hassle for them and make it as simple and easy as possible for them to book.

Analytics and Reviews

If you don’t understand analytics that should be fine as long as you have someone that can advise you on this matters. You may have a website but if you don’t know how customers perceive your website you may be missing crucial information or your business. It is important to know if people visit your website and leave two seconds later or if they stay for a while checking what you offer. Reviews should be a must for services and it is not a bad idea to offer a space for customers to express what they like and didn’t on your website. Reviews are a good way to build trust.

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Written by E.Soriano