According to Sam Weston, marketing manager for 80 DAYS, conversion rates for hotel websites average between 1.7% and 2%. (If you're looking at anything higher than that, you're doing great.) But even in the best-case scenarios, where a hotel might be seeing a 5% conversion rate, 95% of visitors are still abandoning.
The good news is, the majority of visitors who abandon a booking are not lost for good. It's more likely these visitors want to shop around. (According to a recent statistic by SaleCycle.com for the travel industry, the top three reasons for booking abandonment are around research, price comparison and checking with other travelers.)
Even so, hotels can do more to lower the rate of abandonment.
Duetto's Gabriela Guevara, Regional Director of Customer Success & Strategic Consulting, attributes the industry's low conversion rates to slow load times, designs that are not mobile first, poor site user experiences, insufficient content and confusing offers. Weston agrees, adding these additional reasons for why hotels might have low conversion rates.
Both Weston and Guevara see room for growth with conversion rates. After all, it's easier (and more cost effective) to generate more revenue from your existing traffic than it is to drive more viewers to your site. Plus, achieving even a slight conversion rate increase can have a huge impact on a hotel's bottom-line.
"Hotels shouldn't be aiming for a 2% conversion rate," says Weston. "They should be aiming much higher—well above industry average."
While improving conversions isn't a perfect science, there are a few things hotels can do right away to improve their rate.
"Number six is especially important if you're paying for advertising or have metasearch representation," says Weston. "It's essential to have strong revenue management processes and tools in place to avoid losing conversion to competitors and OTAs."
Max Starkov, president and CEO of HeBS Digital, says hotels should focus on developing a website conversion strategy to improve direct bookings and lower distribution costs.
"Any investment in website conversions will not only pay for itself, but will reward the hotel generously by improving the bottom line," he says in a piece he penned for Hotel Online. "Start by evaluating your current website conversion rates, the quality of your website technology and the overall design."
Guevara concurs, saying hotels should focus on a mobile-first build with concise content and availability to best offers.
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Joanna joined Duetto in May 2015 as a Contributing Editor with more than a decade of writing, editing and graphic design experience for both print and online trade publications. She is passionate about driving content innovation through blogs, e-newsletter and social channels.