How to turn visitors to your website into paying guests

HakubaDigitalDigital Marketing Tips

marrkakech hotel nyc website conversion

There are a bunch of terms that get thrown around in the Digital Marketing world. One that we use regularly is traffic. Traffic refers to the people who visit your website.

If you have no visitors you have a traffic problem, which can be resolved through SEO (working to get your site ranked in Google), social media campaigns (post cool stuff and include a Call-To-Action with each post) and digital / online marketing (online advertising).

Once you get traffic to your site, if visitors don’t take the action you want them to (known as the goal), you have a conversion problem. In general this can be fixed, though it may be time to consider investing in a modern, optimised web design.

Conversion refers to the number of people who (once they have visited your site, sales page or advertisement) actually take action. The best approach is to get examples of best practices and then, once you start to get traffic, you can test and compare different things – known as split-testing.

What really matters?

Great question. To answer this, you need to realise the context in which a visitor came to find you, and what it is exactly they came across. If you have worked with me or read much of this blog, you’ll know I don’t recommend sending paid traffic – Google, FB, Instagram ads – to your “website” as such but to specific landing pages and sales funnels.

What this means is that if someone is on your website they should be there from:

  • Searching for something on Google and finding you
  • Links from other web sites blogs and so on
  • Local info sites
  • Yelp and other sites like it
  • Social Media profiles or shared posts
  • Your Google My Business, Apple Maps etc

What do all these have in common? Your user had to click to get there. They were interested in what you had to offer, and now it’s your job to convert them into a real paying customer. Ideally in the next 75 seconds, though you might get them into your funnel and convert later.

So what does really matter?

#1: Can they find you?

Make sure you are visible. A strong presence in Google and other search engines, an active Social Media presence, advertising online, promoting your business in print media…whatever it may be, you need traffic to get paying customers.

#2: Load time

Make your site load fast. I know, this is so boring, but I’m putting it first because if your site is slow and doesn’t open and someone bounces…boom, you just lost yourself a potential guest, and Google is watching, and you will slip in the rankings over time. Most people leave within 12 seconds of clicking – the longer they wait to see the page, the less time they’ll check it out.

Speed up your site, or get someone like us to build it for you. Some of this is pretty techy.

  1. Check speed using GT Metrix. You ideally want to be less than 3 seconds
  2. Use a decent host with a server in your country, or if you have traffic a CDN (like I use for this site) that stores your site on servers across the world and speeds up delivery everywhere
  3. Setup caching on your site to speed up load time
  4. Make sure your images are optimised and compressed to be as small as possible (100-200kb each) while still looking good. You can learn how to save images for web here.
  5. Add Expires headers to cache images for about the length of time until you next update main website images – eg 3 months for seasonal operations

hakuba digital page speed test

 #3: Visual appeal

Make your site look good – especially “above-the-fold” where people first see. Yep, you have less than 3 seconds to convince someone you are right for them or boom…gone, no interest, leave me alone, and stop following me around on Facebook. That’s why you’ll see a lot of tourism websites still using slideshows at the top of their sites, a lot of them will have clear headers to further place emphasis on the image, with contact and booking foremost. Here’s a pretty clear example from Marrakech Hotel NYC, on the first page of Google for “hotel new york”.

marrkakech hotel nyc website conversion

 #4: Your page-by-page Call-To-Action

Tell people what to do. What does this mean? The term “Call-To-Action” (CTA) refers to what you actually want visitors to the site to do. Whether it be sign up for a 5 part email course, download an informational PDF, book a consultation, or request a call. You need to hold people’s hands through the process and tell them what you want them to do and when.

Think about what the main purpose of your website is. You want people to book with you, right? So as well as giving people a website that is simple, clean, and showcases clearly what action you want them to take (Check Dates), you also want to give them a reason to give you their details, allowing you to follow up with automated (and personal if needed) emails.

On this website there are two main Call-To-Actions leading down 2 paths: “Contact Us” and “Free Training”. The Contact Us CTA is for people who want personal attention – if this is because they need a new website or to improve their sales online I know they are a warm lead. The Free Training CTA is for people who aren’t ready to commit now but who are interested in improving their web and digital presence – my kind of people. I make this training useful, with actionable steps, so that people get something out of it, will hopefully remember me, and perhaps use us or recommend us to someone down the line.

We use 2 main methods to get people’s details: a form on the site, or a button / link that causes a pop-up to appear asking people to input details. But we don’t rub it in their face. Our goal isn’t to snare everyone’s email – just those who are interested.

For most tourism operators and accommodation providers we can start with 2 things:  making sure the “Check Dates” / “Make an Enquiry” etc button is clearly visible in your header/menu, and creating a great resource people will want, that you can deliver by email, and use this as a chance to offer them a lot of value.

clarify your call to action

 #5: Getting & promoting reviews

Social proof is absolutely huge. If you are a lodge/hotel etc people want to know your rooms, food and service are great. If you are a tour operator people want to know they can trust you.

To get reviews you first want to choose what platform you are focussing on – your Tripadvisor page, Google My Business or Facebook are the main ones. What you focus on depends on what you are trying to achieve. I’ve written an article all about reviews – learn in detail how to get more reviews here.

Once you have reviews you want to place them prominently on your site. These days rather than have a “Testimonials” page we are more likely to spread the testimonials through the entire website and placing them close to CTAs.

tripadvisor reviews

 #6: A simple booking system

Simple is best. Either integrate with an awesome booking system partner, or have simple internal systems. If things are too complicated, take too long, or look dodgy people are more likely to go somewhere else.

 #7: Optimise your OTAs

People like to do their research, and they like to shop around. Make sure you have a good presence on all the OTAs that work for you. This basically means providing full, detailed info, have lots of recent photos, receiving and responding to reviews, and checking into keep things updated.

Next steps

Whether it be working on a system to request reviews, scheduling time to go in and respond to reviews, setting up a social media posting calendar, encouraging visitors to “check-in” on Facebook, or looking at a professional review of your web presence, I hope this has given you some actionable steps to take to improve your website.

I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments, otherwise checkout our free email training, “Booked Solid” for more strategies and tactics to improve your business online.  Enter your name and email here.


Checkout our free email training, “Booked Solid” for more strategies and tactics to improve your business online.