The Power of Content in the Conversion of Travel Accommodations
Have you ever wondered why potential guests choose other properties online, even though your property offers good value for money and location, great facilities, and amazing staff? Content might be the answer you are looking for.
Engagement and Conversion through Content
In the hospitality world, it is well-known that pricing, availability, rates, and inventory play a pivotal role when it comes to accommodation online conversion. Alongside these important factors, comes content. Content is everything that represents your property online: photos, descriptions, rates and availability, policies, and so on.
Healthy and optimized content is what makes your property stand out. The more information, both visual or descriptive, you can provide to guests that are browsing for accommodation, the better the chances are that this looker will become a booker.
If we get a bit more technical, photos and descriptions are on the top of the conversion funnel, bringing awareness, interest, and consideration into the game. If there are not enough potential visitors clicking on your featured photo, it is very difficult to bring sales to the other end of the funnel. Click-through Rate (CTR) is a metric that measures how many visitors clicked on your accommodation page. Conversion Rate is another metric that displays how many visitors completed an action - in our case, made a booking out of the total number of visitors.
CTR increases dramatically with good content and the right information at the right time of the booking journey, which gives us a very healthy initial phase on the conversion funnel. The higher your CTR is, the higher your conversion rate will be, as well as, your occupancy rates.
Highlighting your property’s selling points through its content is the best way to attract your potential guests in today’s digital world. Potential guests do not know anything about your property yet, so they need to rely on factors like photos, comprehensive descriptions, and guests’ reviews (known as user-generated content).
In this article, we are going to discuss two key elements that compose healthy and conversion-oriented content: photos and descriptions.
Photos: Pictures speak louder than words
Different studies throughout the years, from big players on the market, have proven that the better photos you have, the greater the engagement is, resulting in more reservations through different online channels.
Studies conducted by Booking.com show that up to 92% of visitors are more likely to book properties that display photos. Trivago found that hotel profiles featuring high-quality images receive 63% more clicks than those with low-quality photos and profiles with a high-quality main image attract 96% of all clicks on their platform. The Expedia Group suggests that hotels with high-quality photos have a 63% higher click-through rate than those without. Getting more revenue-oriented into conversion data, Airbnb found out that properties with good photos had a 40% increase in earnings, 24% more bookings, and a 26% increase in room rates.
A report from Cornell University, Using Eye Tracking to Obtain a Deeper Understanding of What Drives Online Hotel Choice states that “images can quickly provide the consumer with an enormous amount of information, such as property condition, approximate age, configuration, and general size. Name and image, as they relate to the price quoted, serve as a value check and as a useful filter for selecting properties for further consideration.”
Make sure you walk your guest through the experience of staying at your property. Use photos to tell a story, from check-in to check-out and everything in between - what your accommodation brand is about and what kind of experience guests will have. Photos can bring your property to life, drive engagement and move people to take action, use it in your favor and inspire potential guests.
What do guests want to see?
As you walk your potential guests through your property, keep in mind the valuable, conversion-proven tips below.
Choose the featured photo of your property and your rooms based on their selling points. The featured photo needs to be able to catch guests’ attention and make them long for more.
The first impression of your property is shaped when your guests arrive. The same rationale is applied for the online approach, so make sure you give them the chance to sense your property’s atmosphere even before they go over the upcoming photos.
Lobby and Common Areas
An accommodation’s lobby is a key space at most properties; it also helps develop guests’ first impression and allows them to feel welcomed when they are away from home. Lobby photos give your guests an idea of what their experience will be like when they get to your property. Common areas, like restaurants, terraces, co-working spaces, and different areas for guests to gather or relax are an important part of their experience and could be a unique selling point of your property - take advantage of them.
Make sure you showcase your property facilities well, as they can influence the decision-making process. Show off what your property offers by including photos of your pool, meeting rooms, spa, gym, etc. Guests are usually looking for specific facilities - help them by showcasing what they are looking for.
Guest room photos are some of the most important images. Guests long to know where they will be unwinding and sleeping. It is also a chance for you to upsell more superior or luxurious rooms by showing the difference among the categories - photos can greatly help you with that. Make sure you have at least four different photos for each room category, including at least one photo of the bathroom and its amenities. Beautiful views from the room are also a key factor in conversion and upselling.
Do you offer special services? Feature these services through your photos so you can inspire your guests and also leverage ancillary services, such as a spa, room service, concierge, fitness classes, romantic packages, a tour desk, F&B exclusive services, co-working spaces, or even being a pet-friendly accommodation.
Highlight your property’s location by adding some photos of its surroundings - it can be a stunning coastline for vacation destinations or a lively neighborhood for drinks after a day at work for business travelers. You know your property best, including its surroundings and your guests - help them to discover your destination. You can source these images on stock websites, so best not to use the ones from search engines, as they are copyright-protected.
Numbers also play a crucial role in conversion - the Expedia Group has extensively tested the ideal number of photos and they found out that 20 photos per property is the minimum number for good conversion. This number is backed up by TripAdvisor, where guests are 150% more engaged with properties that have more than 20 photos versus properties that have only a few photos in their gallery.
Of course, the quality of the images is a no-brainer - all photos need to be high-quality, so guests can have the same experience on multiple devices and also zoom in as they please to get to specific details. Meero weights in stating that "90% of online buyers say that photo quality is the most important factor in an online sale."
It is also important to mention that if a renovation was done or certain rooms were refurbished, make sure your guests know it. Online channels can identify when photos haven’t been updated in years and they favor constant updates.
In the post-covid world, travelers are more concerned with health and safety measures, and photos could be a great way to show the cleanliness of your rooms and common areas.
Descriptions: Tell a Story and Sell the Experience
The description of your property is another key component of your content. Guests will usually appeal to written descriptions when they are in the final phase of purchasing a product or choosing a service. They can find more detailed and specific information that they did not find in the photos.
A property description should be engaging and informative, highlighting the property’s unique selling points as well as its key features. It can be a chance of upselling different room categories and offer ancillary services that potentially maximize your revenue.
It is essential to make your guests long for your property before they get there. Be specific and tell a story with your descriptions, use them to introduce an accommodation experience worth booking.
Descriptions are also a valuable tool to set the right expectations for guests. Together with your photos, you can show potential guests exactly what they can expect from your property and the services you offer. Take advantage of room descriptions, as well, and be succinct about your room amenities. Add all essential details so you don’t lose guests that are looking for basic information.
Managing your Content is the Key to Success
Take the time to go through the content you are showcasing on online channels. Optimizing your property content is a great way to keep your online presence updated, resulting in higher engagement and more bookings.
Updating your content on different platforms can be painful and take a lot of time. Katanox makes it easier for you to update your content in one place only. When you integrate your property to Katanox, the photos and descriptions you have available on your PMS are imported immediately into our platform, making it easy for you to manage it. Katanox is also your go-to platform when it comes to changing photos and descriptions to a number of different travel sellers. Optimizing your property's content results in higher engagement and online conversion - through your Cloud-based PMS, we can seamlessly distribute your rooms in our B2B marketplace. You are in control of your content.
Remember, the more information guests are given, the better equipped they are to make well-informed decisions and feel confident that they are making the correct choice. Make sure you use the direct correlation between healthy content and higher conversion in your favor, bringing more guests to your property.