The most important element of a hotel website is so easily overlooked. And that’s a shame, because it’s something that stands the best chance of providing more direct bookings for independent hotels.
Battling against the online travel agencies is never much fun, but if you hide your ‘Book Now’ button, how are you ever going to tempt people to book direct?
What follows is our blindingly-simple guide to placing a ‘Book Now’ button on a hotel website. Follow the steps below and you’ll significantly increase your chances of receiving more direct bookings – it’s that simple.
Step 1: The design
No need to get fancy, here. In the world of online marketing, a ‘Book Now’ button is what’s known as a call-to-action, or ‘CTA’, for short. It’s the page element you want visitors to interact with and end their journey by clicking.
A great CTA will stand out among the rest of the page content, but not overtly so (it’s placement is far more important, and we’ll get onto that in a moment). Keep the colour neutral (green is always a good shout), and the text simple and bold. A minor glimmer or bounce never goes amiss, either, with the trend for animated CTAs growing.
Step 2: The placement
If you’ve ever reached a hotel website, hungry for availability and rates, yet find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time searching for the ‘Book Now’ button, you’ll probably have given up entirely and returned to Booking.com.
We’re guessing you don’t want the potential guests that visit your website to do something similar, so let’s get the placement of that all-important button bang-on!
It should always reside within the upper third of the webpage. Often referred to as ‘above the fold’, this section of the page is the bit that’s always visible, no matter the device on which it’s being viewed.
The best place for a ‘Book Now’ button is either within the menu bar or just below the main header image. It’s also a great idea to offer the ability for people to choose an arrival date and length of stay there and then, thus taking them directly to the availability for the period they’re interested in.
Step 3: Final touches
There’s only one final touch to concern yourself with when it comes to your ‘Book Now’ button, and that’s to make sure it appears on every single page on the hotel’s website.
One of the most common errors made with ‘Book Now’ buttons is to only place them on the home page. Worse still, some hotels even go as far as adding them to a page called ‘Accommodation’ and nothing more.
Hide your ‘Book Now’ button several pages deep, or remove it from sight once the potential guest navigates away from the homepage, and you’re seriously denting your chances of receiving direct bookings.
Place your most important CTA on every single page, and in the same location as suggested in Step 2. It should never be far from reach.
Were you expecting more? No such chance – three steps is all you need to create a ‘Book Now’ button that won’t be missed and which most passers-by will be encouraged to click. Just make sure you book yourself a web designer to make the best job of it for you!