In a world where customers are used to the unique recommendations provided by the likes of Amazon and Netflix, 'personalization' is no longer a buzzword for hotels looking to be forward-thinking. Personalized web experiences are the new normal.
But with so many personalization options available, there's a risk of bombarding your customers too many messages - or the wrong kind. Website personalization is not about volume - it’s about displaying exactly the right content at the right time for your guests.
When less is almost always more in terms of website messaging, it really pays to understand the most effective message types available, and how best to use them to for maximum impact for your business.
Read on for our six best performing message types in no particular order, and discover how you can use them to increase your share of direct and boost your hotel's bookings.
1. Grab their attention with a full-screen Exit Message
If a high-value customer is about to leave your website without making a booking, this is the time to bring out the big guns! An Exit Message appears if a potential customer shows signs that they are about to leave your website.
The message pops up in the middle of the screen, while the web page behind is temporarily darkened to help bring their focus to the message. We've noticed that Exit Messages that get the most clicks are the ones that offer significant discounts or extra nights free, maybe with the caveat that the booking needs to happen within a certain timeframe for the offer to be valid.
2. Push them closer to a booking with Nudge Messages
When a customer arrives on your website, you can nudge them further down their path towards booking with a smaller, more subtle message type that appears at the bottom left of a webpage.
These messages are less attention-grabbing than a full-screen Exit Message and can be a useful way to flag interesting content to all kinds of customers. For example, you can show a kids club discount to someone browsing for a family holiday, or let a customer looking at rooms for Valentine’s Day know there’ll be free chocolates in their room!
3. Prove you have the best rate direct with Price Comparison Messages
Regardless of where your guest eventually books, the chances are they still visit your website at some point during the process to check out your hotel brand, amenities and offers.
To capture them at this moment, you need to combat the common customer misconception that online travel agents have the lowest prices. That's when - provided you do have the best rate - a Price Comparison Message will display, showing your customer the prices available for their search dates along with your direct booking benefits.
Ensuring that you are not being undercut by third parties is not only crucial for the Price Comparison Message but also your every other direct booking strategy. If you’re not paying close attention to the rates available for your rooms across the web, it’s highly likely you’ll be losing bookings to distribution partners who are advertising prices they shouldn’t be.
That’s why monitoring and fixing those prices should be your top priority before you do anything else - and you can find out how to locate the causes of disparities by downloading our free Direct Booking Playbook!
4. Bring them back to book direct with Email Capture Messages
A guest’s path to purchase is rarely a simple or linear journey, with users visiting as many as 45 websites before they make the booking. Email Capture Messages can help you register the details of guests who are browsing your website but perhaps are not quite ready to book right away.
Offering an additional stimulus to booking direct - like a 10% discount on their next booking - in exchange for their email address means that you have new contacts to target with your email marketing. Plus you can follow up with those potential customers in the next few days to remind them about their exclusive discount - and encourage them to return to your website!
5. Help them to not miss out with an Urgency Notification
Creating a sense of urgency amongst users with high buying intent or closer to the final step of booking can influence a conversion - and OTAs know it better than anyone. The 'only two rooms remaining' and '23 people looking' messages are all too well-known to their website guests. Hotels can also easily and effectively use this tried-and-tested method to drive bookings with an Urgency Notification.
This message shows guests how many customers have searched or booked on your website in the past 24 hours, giving a realistic indication of your hotel's popularity to remind users they should complete their purchase and avoid missing out on the deal.
6. Enhance their stay with helpful Location Messages
Normally, travelers know what destination they want to visit before they know what accommodation they want to book. Knowing the best places to go is a whole other story. Help familiarize and excite your potential guests by showing them the sights to see in the local area.
That's why giving your website visitors a quick view of where your hotel is situated - along with location highlights such as proximity to local landmarks, the beach or a nearby conference centre - is an effective method to help drive conversions. It can further help you eliminate the need to click around.
In reality, your choice of website personalization message is only as impactful as your management of it. Defining who your audience is, what you’d like to help them achieve, and how effectively your message is driving them to this action is essential to growing your onsite conversions.
To help you do that, we've put together some easy steps to fixing a low-performing message.