The Internet Booking Engine or Hotel Booking Engine is an application that allows customers to book online directly on the hotel brand website.
ADA or The Americans with Disabilities Act demands that every business need to make sure that customers can get access to the same services, irrespective of how physically capable they are. The Government is taking active steps to make sure that ADA-accessibility extends not only to offline businesses but also to online properties like mobile apps and websites. If you have a hotel website, you have to make sure that it is ADA-compliant, or you could be staring at trouble before long.
Focus on the text
Your website should have text that can be resized easily. Make sure that there is a high-contrast mode option which can make it easier for slightly vision impaired visitors to read the text. The site should have a text-only option, and all the functionalities need to be accessible via a keyboard for guests with mobility problems. Ensure that there is minimal formatting for the text. Those who experience problems in seeing might be incapable of reading colored text on colored backgrounds or text that is especially small in size. It is best for you to adhere to a common, large-sized font with dark colored text on white background.
Look at the photos and images
The photos must have proper text descriptions. Your social marketing strategies and website videos should comprise of transcripts and audio descriptions for all those who are hearing impaired. There is a text-based analog for all the visual media. The images must have “alt” text for content description. Suitable descriptive text must be added to videos. You can use screen reader software to describe your website images.
Offer accessibility information all through the site
Throughout your website, you have to feature accessibility information. Say a disabled traveler wants to know whether she can arrive and reach his room, get inside, take a shower and sleep and move about without problems, your hotel website should make all the details easily accessible. You have to include full information about how his experience with your hotel property would be upon arrival. You have to describe every space in your hotel, as well as how it would be like to move to and from each space. Mention all possible obstacles along your way, and also specify any inaccessible area.
Keep in mind that room details are not enough. Your hotel site needs to spot as well as describe every accessible area of your property in complete detail – such as the common spaces, the pathways from and to these spaces all through the hotel, the on-site amenities and more. There can be lawsuits in the absence of all these details. Due to this reason, hotel sites have to include entire accessibility content for every area of the property.
After you make all such changes to your hotel website to satisfy ADA guidelines, get your site evaluated by a web development firm that is familiar with all the issues of ADA compliance. Make sure that visitors using screen readers and other assistive technologies can fully access your website content.
When a traveller wants to find a hotel, they try online options and take help of the search engines like Google or maybe Bing. These search engines provide reviews, rates of different rooms, location of the hotel and the data on vacant rooms. The hotel business owners would therefore like more visibility for their website and the information regarding the hotels. The best way is to turn to search engine optimization ways and improve the ranks of the site.
1) Optimization of the site through search engine
The online business owners work with the strategy of bringing their site to a better ranking position of the search engine. This gets the pages of the website of the hotel more visibility and takes care of the complex algorithms of the search engines. The site of the hotel is optimized when more people land into its pages and gather the information provided in various contents of the pages. They find it fruitful and come back for more and this way increase the ranking.
2) Site must be for the readers and users
When one wants such higher ranking for their websites, they should check on the loading of the pages of the site and its contents. The site should also be mobile friendly to bring in more users to its pages. You should check the contents of the site from the user’s point of view and make them as user friendly as possible. This will bring more users for the site pages.
3) Make your content more relevant
The website’s content is the main thing on which the users would like to depend. This is the reason why the content should be updated at regular interval and the information, text or images of the web pages must be reliable and effective to the topic that is being discussed. The blog that is regarding your business would bring in more interested people to your site and when you provide high quality content that is helpful or interesting for the reader, they make it a point to visit your site regularly.
4) Connect through local search engines
The site that you develop should be good with the local search engines. This helps the bigger search engines like Google to optimize the sites that are doing well with the local search engines. You can create a page for your business through Google and add the name of your property to the virtual directory. You can add the contacts of your business and also keep those details in your websites too. This will help optimizing your site.
5) Building of links can be helpful for optimizing
The sites can include in its pages both incoming links and links that connects to other pages. The SEO service providers will tell you how these links can improve the footsteps in your site. The links that will bring in viewers from other popular sites of the same genre can be real good for your new site. You will do good to include links into your site content from other sites to make your site a better place for gathering information.
Get more traffic through sharing from social media
The simple step of sharing your pages through the profiles of social media can be real effective way to get direct traffic. This will encourage people who are interested in the topics of your website – to land into your pages. You can also connect the Hotel Directories, Google Places and various other digital platforms so that your website gets more visibility through any of the digital pages. You will find more like minded people pouring into your website to go through the information and content provided.
Reviews from Google users can improve your ranking
The review from customers has been given more and more important from the search engine Google. The developers find these reviews bring in more customers and viewers for the website and hence it plays most important role in improving the ranking of a site. Hence the hotels that want a better ranking should encourage their customers to provide positive and truthful reviews.
One hotel I spoke to offered 75% off their standard rate, and this is in London – what a potentially excellent deal. But as a traveler it is really worth price shopping and seeing what rates are on the market, across traditional booking channels, to make sure it is a great deal.
Yet tapping into travelers with a budget mindset is ideal as the speed of purchase encourages them to buy faster.
A few places you can find these interesting deals include Secret Escapes, GroupOn, Living Social, Voyageprive.com and Travel Zoo. I recently attended an event organized by HOSPA – an association for hoteliers to find out more.
As a hotelier – you do need to think of what brand represents your hotel. You need to agree with the supplier a sustainable pricing model on the discount and commission the website charges. Don’t get surprised if the results don’t come in as you expect, nothing worse than planning booking based on a pure marketing promotion.
The HOSPA panel agreed that on the whole, those who bought these Flash Sales were often consumers who can afford to spend several hundred in a daily deal, making a decision in a moment.
However hotels maybe trying these new forms of social and digital marketing, yet are still very behind on the online basics, TravelZoo still needs to create web landing pages for hotels that (believe it or not) still do not have websites. Then these hotels complain when they don’t get the results they need. To me, hotels need to get a grip with the basics before trying this method of sales.
The only advice these channels seem to offer to hotels is to think in advance, do not call up last minute desperate to fill the hotel. This is not last minute bookings, these are future bookings aimed at helping the quiet periods, and revenue managers should know the weeks when the hotel is usually quiet.
There are no exact figures on how much these flash sales cost, it will be anywhere between 10% – 50% commission depending on the offer, the location of the property and the brand.
I am hoping that independent hotels are offered good deals, but I get the impression it maybe more financially challenging for small independent properties.
Some immediate tips for hotels:
- Select the right channel that markets hotels like your property
- Identify the lowest rate you publish and can make money from
- Build from this lowest rate, taking into account maximum commission you are willing to pay before you make a loss
- Look at your additional services – value-adds – and see how you can create a great package offer that costs you very little
- Get a good idea of how the flash sales members behave to identify the best price
Ryan C Haynes is VP – Marketing Communications at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at email@example.com