If you haven’t read our article on the different stages of the booking journey, you should read it now to know the stages you must address with your website.
Now that you have a better understanding of what the booking journey is, it’s time to align it to your website. There are 3 fundamentals that you need to consider here.
Attract the right Lookers, and inspire them to take the next step
To attract the right people to your website, you need to understand their drivers for visiting your website and how to connect with them. Having a deep understanding of your customer’s needs and desires plays a large part in aligning your website to the early stages of the booking journey.
In the early stages, you need to connect, inspire and provide enough information for your customer to take the next step with you.
Connect: The best way to connect with your potential customers is by positioning yourself as just the thing they are looking for.
It’s easy to put generic words on your site, but the drawback is that you end up sounding like everyone else in the market and struggle to create a deeper connection with your visitors.
You have between 8-12 seconds to capture visitors’ attention and form that connection to ensure they stay on your site for longer and begin their booking journey with you.
We recommend putting the most important position statement at the top of your website as an immediate hook that captures the visitor’s attention. Your brand’s positioning statement should explain to the visitor succinctly what makes your business unique and why you’re the thing they’ve been looking for.
In short, you must convince the visitor they are in the right place!
Inspire: Your website needs to show visitors what their life will be like if they choose to book with you.
Quality visuals, including graphics, quality photography and videos showcasing your products and services, are paramount in inspiring the visitor to take the next step. Try to limit the amount of stock and generic photography, as this can hurt your chances of engaging with the potential customer.
And don’t forget, if you’re using video to showcase your business, it needs to include people. Video with no people in it lacks any authenticity and won’t show your business as a place others like to visit. Furthermore, when you do have people in your visual content, make sure the models align with the types of customers you are trying to target.
If your primary audience is females between 35 and 50, you need to ensure this demographic is present in your content.
Inform: Visitors to your website will have questions that need to be answered. Your website needs to provide this information in a clear and easy-to-understand way so customers don’t get frustrated.
You would equip your staff with all of the information they need to answer any questions a customer might have, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your website?
Failing to provide customers with the information they require to take the next step in their booking journey is a sure-fire way to make them look elsewhere.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking customers don’t read on the internet.
At this stage of the booking process, they are researching and comparing you to your competitors so don’t give them a reason to look elsewhere.
Make it easy for Lookers to become Bookers.
You’ve done all the hard work, connected, inspired, and provided enough information for the customer to take the next step in their booking journey with you.
The last thing you want to happen now is for a convoluted or inefficient booking process to cause the customer to second guess their decision. Or worse yet, not be able to book with you at all.
We live in a world of instant gratification, and the same can be said for making a booking. The process from deciding to book to making the booking should be quick and seamless to give customers this instant gratification.
Recent studies have shown that 82% of online travel bookings occur without human interaction. That means your website has to facilitate the booking process, not direct the customer to a staff member.
Every second they need to wait to make or confirm a booking erodes the hard work you have done with them to this point.
Here are some examples of how you can erode the positive sentiment of prospective bookers:
- Making them have to call between business hours.
- Making them have to leave a voice mail message
- Making them have to submit a enquiry and wait for someone to get back to them
- Showing no availability, when you do actually have availability.
- Not showing them other dates or services that might be available.
Customers don’t want to be told to wait. And with today’s online services like online booking platforms, email automation and cheap answering services, there is no acceptable reason why they should have to wait to make a booking with you.
Make it easy for customers to book by having:
- Clear call to actions on your website in consistent places.
- In the menu
- In the sidebar of service pages
- In the footer
- Below the title text of main pages.
- Simple language where possible. e.g.
- ‘Book a Tour’ instead of ‘Enquire about a Tour’
- ‘Book Online’ instead of ‘Schedule a consultation’
- Automated messages sent as soon as an action is performed. E.g.
- Send a welcome message as soon as a customer subscribes to your email list.
- Send a confirmation email directly after the customer has booked
- If you have to send a customer more information, try to automate the message o the customer doesn’t have to wait for you to respond. This works well for price lists or information packets.
Put the customer at the centre of your booking process and make sure it is as simple as possible for them to book with you.
Accelerate your bookings by harnessing the power of social proof
The secret ingredient to accelerating your bookings is to harness the power of your customers to turn them into more customers!
Customers listen to other customers’ feedback on businesses.
So, as a business owner, you need to make sure you are generating consistent quality customer-generated content to help inform more customers’ decisions to book with you.
When you use customer-generated content on your website, this is a form of social proof that shows prospective customers that you are a reputable business that people trust and recommend.
Some examples of different types of customer-generated content that you can use on your website include:
Reviews: 9 out of 10 internet consumers say they read reviews before booking and over half of them say that the reviews impact their decision to book with a business. Furthermore, over 50% of internet users leave a review at least once a month. It is important to:
- Make sure you are generating a steady stream of positive reviews online
- Showcase these reviews on your website
- Respond to all reviews online to show that your business engages and cares about its customers’ experience.
Social Content: As of Jan 2022, there are 3.96 billion users on social media channels. They use the platforms to share stories about their life and experiences. As a business, you can encourage customers to post content with a branded hashtag so you can showcase their experience on your website as part of a live feed that updates regularly.
Other ways you can showcase social proof on your website include:
- Display any press coverage you have received on your website and showcase logos of well-known brands that have endorsed your business.
- Boast about any awards or recognition your business has received.
- Feature businesses that you work with to improve the credibility of your business within the community.
- Create and publish users stories on your website so that customers can see others just like them enjoying your business.
Accelerating your customers along their booking journey isn’t about spending more on advertising or posting more on social media. It’s about being able to speed up the process of creating trust with them so that you can establish a connection as soon as possible. Once you’ve executed this strategy effectively you’ll see your bookings propel to new heights and you’ll be well on your way to generating new business on autopilot.
Let’s maximise your bookings.
If you’re struggling to get bookings through your website, you need to take a step back and see how it aligns with your customers’ booking journey.
Your website, shouldn’t just be a good-looking brochure that provides basic information about your business. It needs to connect, engage and inform your potential customers and facilitate a smooth booking without any hiccups that interfere with the customers’ ability to book with you as quickly as possible.
Take a second to look at your website through the lens of your customer and see if there are opportunities for you to improve it to their needs. Sometimes a second set of impartial eyes can come in handy, and that’s where we can come in. If you’d like us to walk through your website and provide our professional feedback, please get in touch to start a conversation.
If you’re ready to elevate your brand and marketing to new heights, you might be the right fit for our Flight Plan to Success, where we’ll outline the crucial steps you need to take to ensure your business can generate more bookings on autopilot.