In times of crisis, such as COVID-19, many industries like the lodging and hotel industry suffer from lower clientele numbers. However, there are some proactive measures that hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts and other lodging establishments can take during these uncertain times to help increase bookings and earn customer trust. Making lodging website updates is one of them.
12 lodging website updates to make during a downturn
Here are some tweaks you can make your website during this time:
- Add a notice about the safety measures you’re taking.
- Create website content targeted at essential workers.
- Check current content to make sure it’s up-to-date.
- Give customers an easy way to create, change or cancel bookings.
- Amend cancellation and refund policies as needed.
- Audit current website content and consider repurposing to other channels.
- Record videos and add them to the website.
- Showcase customer and employee testimonials.
- Update your business hours.
- Offer discounts on future pre-paid vacation lodging packages.
- Post helpful content for travelers during COVID-19.
- Test everything on the website to make sure it works.
Let’s take a look at each one.
1. Add a notice about the safety measures you’re taking
During a pandemic that has everyone on edge about their health and safety, it’s important to assure customers of what your lodging establishment is doing to help keep staff and visitors safer.
You may even want to put together a FAQ page to address any possible questions that customers might have about COVID-19, as well as any extra sanitation steps you’re taking to keep visitors safer at your lodging establishment.
Related: How to create a coronavirus FAQ page
2. Create website content targeted at essential workers
Not everyone is able to travel right now. However, essential workers — like those in the medical profession, emergency service responders and utility workers — will be traveling, and might need lodging.
This will show them that you’re open for business, and that you’re prepared for them to stay at your facility. As a bonus, you may want to post about extra services you’re offering specifically for essential workers.
3. Check current content to make sure it’s up-to-date
This is a lodging website update that you really should do regularly, but now’s a great time to tackle this task if it’s been awhile. Take the time to update information on your website that might be dated.
See 10 steps for an annual website review for ideas.
4. Give customers an easy way to create, change or cancel bookings
Making sure your website visitors have an easy user experience makes a huge difference between them booking or not booking. The less steps someone has to take when making, changing or canceling reservations via your lodging website, the better.
5. Amend cancellation and refund policies as needed
During a crisis like COVID-19, anything can happen, at any time. For example, essential workers might need to be sent to a different hospital or city — meaning they might need to cancel their reservation at your lodging establishment.
If you have a cancellation and refund policy posted on your website, consider amending it to help accommodate travelers during this time. Taking this measure can build the customer trust and loyalty that likely will pay dividends when we come out the other side of COVID-19.
6. Audit current website content and consider repurposing to other channels
A time of crisis isn’t a permanent thing, so if you or your front desk clerks or your webmaster have extra time on their hands, this is the perfect time to start repurposing website content.
Evaluate your website content and look for ways to repurpose it in different formats — like video, images and blog posts. Then, share the content on your other marketing channels with a link back to your lodging website.
For example, you could turn an employee or customer testimonial into an image with the text (e.g. the employee’s or customer’s quote, with their permission for usage, of course) on it. Then you could put that image on your business Instagram or Pinterest account.
Pro tip: Have a GoDaddy Websites + Marketing site? Here’s how to add reviews, including reviews from Yelp, Yotpo, Google and Facebook.
7. Record videos and add them to the website
Video can help you generate possible attention to your lodging location. The videos don’t have to be really fancy. You can post about the rooms, your front desk clerks, specific cleaning products you use, and much more.
Post the videos on your business’s YouTube channel, and then embed them into your website. YouTube has more than 2 billion users, and is totally searchable. In fact, videos come up in Google search because Google owns YouTube.
8. Showcase customer and employee testimonials
There are so many review websites out there, but what better way to get awesome customer and employee testimonials than to conduct your own interviews during this downtime?
Employee testimonials can provide potential visitors with insight into how your hotel operates and how friendly your staff is. You can then turn around and post them to both your website and social media channels.
9. Update your business hours
If you’ve changed your hours or closed on specific days during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s a good idea to make sure that this is clearly stated on your website, as well as your online business listings on sites like Google My Business and Yelp.
10. Offer discounts on future pre-paid vacation lodging packages
You might not have many reservations coming in right now, but it’s important to think about the future, when the pandemic has subsided and people can start traveling again.
Consider featuring some special lodging discounts or promotions on your website to encourage people to choose your business when they are able to go on vacation.
11. Post helpful content for travelers during COVID-19
You can earn customer trust and loyalty right now by sharing content on your website that’s aimed at helping people weather this storm.
You might include information about COVID-19 with links to external resources, tips for how to social distance while staying at a hotel, etc.
Your blog is the ideal place to house this kind of useful information (and, again, you can share it on your social channels and link back to your website).
12. Test everything on the website to make sure it works
Nothing is more frustrating than a website that isn’t working properly due to issues like outdated software. This could result in booking problems, which means you’re missing out on making money.
After you’ve updated your website, make sure to test the booking form, any contact forms, all internal and external links, and even videos, so your website visitors won’t have any problems doing business with you online.
Now that you’ve got all these tips for lodging website updates that can help increase bookings and earn customer trust during a downturn, it’s time to get started on them.
You can use these points like a checklist. Not only are these tips great to use during a crisis, but some of the points can be used anytime you’re looking to improve your website.
And above all, stay safe during the pandemic.