Improving the online presence of your hospitality business

As lockdown restrictions are eased, the hospitality industry will see more business opportunities. People will be heading on UK holiday breaks and visiting more outdoor venues for drinks and food. However, the difference will be, reservations will likely need to be made ahead of time to limit the number of people attending a specific venue at the exact same time.

Whilst hospitality websites will have a reservation and or table ordering system, keeping the steps small and focused is important. Customers will want to view detailed information about the room or venue, read reviews and ideally pay online. Or failing that arrange a call back for a deposit to be taken over the phone. When ordering a drink or food, they’ll want to easily select their table, pick the food they want and pay.

So what does your website need?

An effective booking or ordering process

Your booking or ordering process needs to be able to work on a busy night, let people use it on the way home on their phone and so on. Here’s a handy check list:

  • Make it clear
    Present the options you need only to make a booking. Buying a pint or booking a table requires different information and steps to booking a hotel room
  • Keep the process short
    If the user has already signed up before, reuse their information to prepopulate the form. If they’ve ordered drinks previously, let them re-order again
  • Ensure it works on a busy night
    Have a good idea of how many people will use your table ordering system. Being unable to pay and having card screens fail is bad for business

Additionally, be ready to provide any allergy or dietary information and ensure this can be found easily. Whether on the website separately or by allowing customers to easily ask for assistance at the venue.

For bookings, customers want to see simple, clear confirmation messages. Followed with a clear email confirming everything they’ve booked. It’s also good to allow customers to opt into calendar and SMS reminders for the booking (once confirmed).

Of course, this relies on having more customers visit your site. So how do we achieve all of this?

Make it responsive

Why should your website be responsive? Because…

  • 42% of people globally have booked a hotel on a mobile device (
  • 70% of last-minute hotel bookings are made on mobile devices (Intelity)

While users might be using website comparison sites in many cases, likely, they will still visit your website before going ahead with the purchase. This can be to read reviews, find out more information, or simply to see how the direct price compares. 

In cases like this, you want your website to look smart and sophisticated, putting doubts to rest and ensuring that users complete their booking. Considering many users will be heading to your site via a mobile device, the best way to ensure this buttoned-up look and feel is by ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, and of course, desktop-friendly too. 

So, is your web page mobile-friendly? Let’s find out… 

Make it easy to find

It’s crucial that your website is continuously being optimised for search engines, as over the next few weeks and months, it’s likely that people will be searching for UK holiday break destinations or outdoor restaurant venues and you will want your business to rank as highly as possible. 

A good place to start is by looking at what users are searching for “Top locations in the UK to visit” and create blog content around searches that are directly related to your businesses.

Ensure its easy to navigate

Just about every website has some form of navigation, but unfortunately, not every website’s navigation is good. It’s vital that your website doesn’t just look great, but that it also functions well. Remember the website has been built for the customers/users, and they should be the centre of any decision making.

Navigation can make or break your website’s overall performance when it comes to retaining visitors, keeping them engaged and driving them through the conversion funnel.

Strong site navigation makes it easy for visitors to find information that interests them, without a frustrating “hunt.” It also helps search engines index your important information efficiently and effectively.

How to improve your website navigation:

  • Divide categories clearly
  • Make all navigation elements clickable
  • Use accurate navigation titles
  • Ensure every clickable image has ALT text
  • Make sure your search feature works (or get one if you don’t already!)
  • Use rich data for Google search

Use a clean design

Customers are looking for quick and snappy information. Keep pages uncluttered, so users can scan and find exactly what they are looking for.  This is especially important for mobile devices where the majority of searching and booking takes place.

Ensure the website is fast for your traffic

Today’s website users are always on the go and so your website needs to be available at the click of a button. If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, roughly 40% of your visitors will abandon your site. Simply put a slow website will drive customers away. 

Its also important to know the speed of your site when your business is busy. Testing performance under ‘load’ will give you a much clearer idea of how your site performs.

Check the speed of your site now. 

Closing thoughts

It’s important that your website is looking and functioning to the best of its ability in order to see the best results, but the effort doesn’t stop there. It’s also important that you are regularly running maintenance checks on your website, to ensure it is running and performing as well as it possibly can. We’ve written a blog telling you everything you need to know about website maintenance to check it out.

In the meantime, contact us today to discuss your website pain points and we’ll work with you to resolve them. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn for all things website related.

  • Written by Simon Proctor, April 30 2021