Hospitality Copywriting Technical Editor Juliana Hahn offers a series of practical tips showing how hotels can improve the quality of copy on their websites – and why it’s important.
Before I get to what pages your hotel website needs and how to write them, let me answer a question you might have: why bother revisiting your hotel’s website copy?
The answer is simple: your website is like your hotel’s online calling card and it’s your key to getting more direct bookings without commission. Make the most of it!
Think of it this way: When you meet someone at a networking event and they give you a business card that looks like something their intern created on Paint late at night, you won’t be. not very impressed. This is how people feel when they visit an uninviting or outdated hotel website. Then they bounce and book through an OTA [online travel agent] or, even worse, with your competitors …
To avoid this, you need to grab their attention and convince them that booking your hotel directly is their best option. An important step in achieving this is to structure your website correctly and deliver the right information in the right place.
Read on to find out how!
The home page of your hotel website
The home page of your hotel’s website is like the cover of a magazine for your hotel. Its job is to capture the attention of your visitors and highlight the key features of your property.
Before you start writing your homepage copy, you should have a clear idea of these key features and how best to promote them (i.e. how you want to design your magazine cover) . Collect ideas for this taking into account what your guests do, enjoy, and want to know about your property.
This may include:
- With your Michelin-starred restaurant
- Showcase your spa and wellness equipment
- Showcase your conference and event facilities
- Focus on your family offers
The better you know your ideal guest, the easier it will be to choose your focal points. Once you know what you’re going to shine the spotlight on, start creating powerful headlines and short, meaningful introductions to your best deals.
- be brief and direct
- make the reader dream of your hotel
- help them imagine having the perfect stay
Keep the organizational details of your description pages to keep your home page clean and avoid unnecessary clutter. And remember: your site visitors need or want something. Make it easy to find so they can quickly do what they came to do (e.g. inquire about your hotel, check your rates, book a room, etc.).
Your About Page
Apart from your home page, what is the most important page on your website? The About page!
Now you might be wondering: isn’t this a page that you just have because everyone else has? No! It’s so much more but unfortunately a lot of people underestimate it. Research has shown that around 52% of visitors will see your About page. This means that you miss out on valuable direct bookings if you overlook this page and the people viewing it.
Let’s see how you can avoid this error and get your page on the topic.
Have you ever heard that the about page isn’t really about you but your site visitor? This statement has a point, but I would put it differently. Think of it this way: your about page needs to be about you, while also being relevant to the guests.
What does it mean?
Your about page is where people go to find out more about your hotel as a whole, and to get information they can’t find anywhere else. But they’re not just looking for dry details like the number of pieces or the year of foundation. On the contrary, they want to know things that make your hotel more interesting, captivating or exciting for them.
Identify these aspects by asking yourself:
- What details could you share with potential guests that would spark their interest even more than they already know about you?
- What details play a role in a potential guest’s booking decision?
- What would a first-time visitor want to know about your hotel?
Here are some possible answers:
- Privileged location (on the top floors of a famous building, on a private island, on top of a mountain …)
- Unique service offering (something no other hotel nearby offers)
- Award-winning amenities (eg, Michelin-starred restaurants or an upscale spa)
- Distinctive design (possibly award winning)
- Interesting story (is your hotel in a former palace or castle? Is your region of particular importance?)
- Awards, distinctions and media articles
- Other unusual details that make your hotel more accessible and attractive to customers
Think carefully about what might help you make a connection with potential guests. Then write a brief intro to your hotel that highlights its essence and shows your site visitors that they are in the right place. End your about page forcefully: Use a call to action to encourage people to take the next step, like booking through your site or browsing your specials before making their final decision.
Description and information pages
Surprise… As the name suggests, a description or information page contains details about a certain part of your hotel, for example your F&B or MICE department, your spa, your rooms and suites, and perhaps your surroundings. .
What to put on your information pages?
Once again, the key is to deliver the information that your site visitors want. Think about the questions people have when they look at these pages. Ask your reservations team what is most often asked of them. Include this information in your description pages and update them as needed.
How to write and layout your information pages?
Now that you understand what people want to know about your hotel, provide that information in a clear, relevant and actionable way. Keep it short and add relevant images. Start with a brief introduction that paints a picture and helps clients create a mental image of themselves in your property. Always appeal to the heart by focusing on what guests really want, which is the benefits your hotel offers (not just its features).
Here’s what I mean: When customers are looking for a property with a pool, they don’t want a pool (the functionality) just for the fun of it. They actually want what the pool promises (its benefits):
- A day of relaxation in the sun
- A refreshing swim in the heat of the day
- An opportunity to do a few laps and stay in shape while traveling
The details you need to focus on depend on your target audience.
For example, business travelers want to know:
- High speed Wi-Fi in the rooms
- Whether they can work productively in their bedroom or in your coworking space
- Whether they can get early check-in if they have a morning flight
Families care about:
- Possibility of installing extra beds or cots
- Availability of connecting rooms for a smooth family trip
- Children’s discounts on meals and other child-friendly services
Once you’ve set the mood, make your point by listing the important characteristics that don’t have the same emotional appeal as the pros. Use bullets for easier reading and navigation.
At the bottom of the description page, ask yourself: What does the visitor want to do or know now? (Your site’s analytics will show you where people usually go from that page.)
For example, at the bottom of a room description page, you can provide two options:
- ‘Book this room’ for those who are ready to commit
- “See other rooms and suites” for those who want to see and compare other options
The same goes for a restaurant information page. Offer them the option to book a table directly or check out your other dining options.
Now it’s your turn to implement these simple steps on your website! Then it will look more like the fancy business card you would get from a graphic designer rather than the intern’s late night painting experience.
As you can imagine, this will create an incredible impression on your audience, increase your direct bookings, and help lower your acquisition costs. And you get it all just to polish up your hotel’s website copy!
Sounds like a good deal, right?
This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Hospitality Copywriting.