Hotelier’s guidebook to personalization (part 2)
That personalization is of great importance for hoteliers is no secret anymore. First we discussed why to use hotel website personalization, and now it is time to explain you how. Follow these five steps and your hotel website will be ready to get personal with your guests!
Do you feel addressed when you see a website in a foreign language or when you receive a discount for a family room while you’re travelling alone? Probably not. It is time to start implementing personalization in your strategy and on your website. This will not only help your customers find the right input in this information overflow on the internet, it will also help you engage your customers and consequently enhance your direct revenue.
Step 1: Basic analysis of your customers
The first step in personalizing your website is getting to know your customer. You can really easily learn the basics of your customers with the help of Google Analytics. Here you can find their demographics such as age and gender, their geographic location, interests, behaviors and more. If you do not use Google Analytics yet, we recommend you to implement it as soon as possible. You can easily do this by creating an account for your website and implementing a small piece of code on each page.
Of course you can also use information that you have already gathered before. Have you previously done a customer analysis through interviews or a survey? Use it! When you have gathered all your data, make a clear overview of the most important findings.
Step 2: Standard optimization of your website
Before completely personalizing your website, it is important to have good basic settings. Use the important findings that you got from your Google Analytics account and adjust your website. The basics that definitely need to be in order are the optimizations for each language, device and referral page. Did you conclude that most of your customers visit your website via mobile? Than really optimize the mobile version of your website. Did you see that most of your audience lands on your website via social media? Than make sure that you have links to those social pages and share buttons on your website. Not having the correct settings happens more often than you think.
Another step you cannot miss is looking into the conversion flow of your website. Explore what pages are visited most and which ones have the highest bounce rate (this is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after seeing only this page). When the bounce rate is high, either the page provides the customer with enough information, or something is wrong. Really look into this and find out all the bad spots of your website. A very useful page for this in Google Analytics is the behavior flow page. Here you can find the complete path that your customers go through on your website. Check if the pages where customers land on your website and where they leave match with the customer journey that you imagined.
Step 3: Discover the preferences and needs of your customer
To take the personalization of your website to the next level, it is important to find out the preferences and needs of your customers. What kind of travelers are they? What is their prefered booking date and length of stay? Also try to retrieve their contact information such as their email.
Understanding your guests’ needs and wants is the very beginning of any customer journey for a hotel website. Knowing the basic characteristics and preferences of your customer segment gives you the competitive advantage of targeting the right audiences at the right time. Therefore, once you know the basic characteristics of your segment, you can discover the more in depth details by testing various offers. Test different offers such as a breakfast versus dinner deal or an extra night stay versus a discount and find out what works best for your guest. By means of these tests you can get a clear view of your guest.
Step 4: Create personas
Once you have gathered all there is to know about your customers, it is time to create buyer personas. Personas are generic representations of your customers. It is best to create 3 to 5 personas which are clear, identifiable examples of your customers. You probably already have some ideas about your customers, but really update these old versions using all the new insights you’ve gained.
Personas should be very realistic examples of your customers. In order to establish this, really go into detail about all the different aspects of a persona. Characteristics you can think of are:
- Demographics: gender, age, language, family, job, household income
- Geographics: country of origin, big city or small town
- Travel type: travel motivation, preferences and needs (such as accommodation type and facilities), average spend per visit
- Booking preference: preferred device, direct or through OTA
- Tone of voice: what is the tone of voice of this persona?
You have welcomed Laura from France to your website. Laura is 28 years old, lives in Paris and works as a Human Resource manager. She lives with her boyfriend in a small apartment and they are planning on going to Barcelona for a weekend. They want to visit the highlights of the city but also relax on the beach. They love the Spanish culture and the cuisine. Laura’s tone of voice is young and vibrant. In addition, they like to stay in a boutique hotel in the city centre which they book online through the hotel’s website on their laptop.
Step 5: Adapt to the needs and preferences of your customers in real-time
In order to fully optimize the personalization of your website, you need to implement the information that you gathered throughout your whole website (booking engine and info pages) in real-time. That means, using smart personalization technology to instantly adapt your website to the customer that you have identified. This should be done by matching a customer with one of the personas that you have created in the previous step.
First decide which strategy you want to take. There are many personalization tools available, but you don’t want to overload your customer. Do you want to offer a discount, a special offer such as free breakfast or do you want to show relevant information such as the price comparison of a direct booking versus online travel agencies? Secondly, choose the applicable tools for this goal and third, match the content with your strategy and your personas.
In this step it is recommended to work together with conversion specialists. They can provide you with the specialized tools and insights into optimizing the personalization of your website. Hotelchamp does this by adding a layer over your original website with special personalized tools, which makes sure that every customer experiences a unique customer journey. Some examples of the personalization tools are smart notifications and an exit tool with a discount voucher.
Smart notifications show the customer messages that can predominate their booking decision. You can think of real-time scarcity and urgency messages or a statement about their prefered breakfast.
The exit tool shows up when a customer attempts to leave the webpage. By offering a discount or your best available rate you will increase your chances on making your leaving visitor into your hotel guest.
Personalization is an ongoing learning process. It is important to communicate the right content, using the right tools, at the right time and for the right audience. Are you ready to get personal with your guests? Register here for a free demonstration with our conversion specialists.