You have a website and you think it looks good but you feel like your business could be doing better and earning more money. It is important that customers make their bookings with you and not your competition, so here are 7 critical steps to improve your bookings this year. Commit to doing one step every day and you’ll be ahead of the competition in a week.
Step 1. Update Your Website. Time: 4 – 8 hours
When was the last time your website was updated? If it’s out of date, make it a goal to get it refreshed before the season starts.
If website design is not your passion or your skill, you can consider using website companies such as Wix.com or Weebly.com. They offer great looking websites with very little work.
If you decide to build or buy a new website, make sure it’s easy to understand, complete and responsive. Responsive means that the page automatically adjusts to the screen it’s being shown on, thus, giving the customer a great experience whether he or she is using a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.
Step 2. Get a higher ranking on Google. Time: 30 minutes.
Not only does your website need to have good content, but it needs to have good keywords, too. Google and other search engines use the keywords as well as the content to determine what your site is about.
Typically, you will want to include the following keywords: who you are (business name), where you are (location or address), what you do (bed & breakfast), and what you offer (reservations).
Where and how you add keywords to your website depends on the software you are using. In many website design tools it’s called meta keywords or search keywords.
Here are some nice tips that will help you improving your keywords efficiency: http://www.sitepoint.com/the-5-most-valuable-places-for-keywords-on-your-website/
Step 3. Add Stunning Pictures of your business/products/services. Time: 1 – 2 Hours.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but that is exactly what happens every day online. Customers are much more likely to leave your website and go somewhere else if your website is outdated, difficult to navigate, or doesn’t have good pictures.
Remember – You may offer the world’s most amazing rental or tour, but, if the customer can’t see what they book, they won’t book it!
Use a good quality camera to take pictures or hire a professional photographer to get 10-15 stunning pictures of your rooms, rentals or tours. Once you have captured all your pictures, then, upload them to your website.
Tara Banda has some great tips for taking good pictures here: http://blog.getreachcast.com/443803/2012/05/11/how-to-take-better-pictures-for-your-business-website.html.
For best results we recommend that you upload pictures in either png or jpg format, with a maximum resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels.
Step 4. Get an online booking system
What do you feel when you are able to book something on the web with few clicks of the mouse? Isn’t that a great experience? Your customers want to be able to book at any time of the day and when they do so, they want to book, pay and get the confirmation at a glance. It is your choice to give them this great booking experience or not.
Many businesses think they can handle all the bookings with Email and phone. This is probably true, but how many Emails do you need before you can confirm a booking? Do you answer the phone 24/7?
If you help your customers booking your services online, they will love it and you will catch more clients.
Step 5. Get Listed On Facebook and Twitter. Time: 30 minutes
Facebook and Twitter are a great way to promote your business for free. Also, it allows you to interact with you friends, your clients or your providers.
Here is a great article about how to take advantage of Facebook and Twitter for your business: http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/facebook-twitter-for-business
Once you have created your Facebook and your Twitter account, you can start publishing news, pictures, articles, etc. on a regular basis. Remember to include a link to it in your emails, on your website, and ask your customers to “like” you on Facebook and to follow you on Twitter.
Step 6. Link To Your Reviews. Time: 30 minutes
In addition to good descriptions and pictures of your rooms, rentals or tours, it is paramount that you give your customers the ability to read reviews from other customers on your website.
Transparency is the key. If a customer can’t see (or post) reviews, they will likely think that your business is not in good health or that you have something to hide, which in turn, increases the likelihood of the customer going somewhere else.
If you already have reviews on your own website, you are doing well. If you don’t then you should link to reviews in TripAdvisor or create a section for reviews on your site.
Step 7. Ask your customers to send their friends and family. Time: 1 minute per customer.
Last but not least, all the tips above are worth nothing if you don’t provide a great service to your client. Do not forget about it when they are spending the money in your business. Word of mouth advertising is extremely powerful. A confident “try this, you’ll love it” from a friend means more than all reviews in the world. Give a good service and take care of your customers then ask them to share their experience with friends and family.