The new Website Design Thinking asks: what is the purpose of your website? Is it to get more bookings or help people understand more about your brand? Maybe it’s to get prospects to take some specific action. Whatever it is, you may be barking up the wrong tree. You have to start by really knowing your prospects’ mind set. Why do they come to your website? Is it because of a promotion you are running? If so, do you have the message on the page they will land on? The landing page must be what they call ‘native’. It needs to complement the promo and give users the options they want.
In the travel business, travellers do a pile of research. First of all, to decide what kind of vacation they want – Summer, Winter, Active, Relaxing and the list goes on. Then where to go – which destination. Next, what sort of accommodation and what can they do.
Understanding all of this is part of the discovery process pioneered by Diego Rodriguez, CEO of the Power Marketing Consultant Network (PMCN). Once you get a handle on what your prospects want then you can engineer the site to convince them that you are the right place for them to be. It’s now time to mesh that with what you want them to do. Given that the decision process is arduous and convoluted, you certainly want to give the right impression.
Are Your Prospects Ready to Buy/Book? 95% or more of travellers will not buy on their first visit to your site – that is just a fact. In many cases, the best you can do is impress them and hope that they will remember you. Possible actions you might encourage are: calling, leaving contact info, watching a video, reading an article, asking a question, downloading a brochure/research paper, or booking a vacation. It’s not always that easy to know what is best but the questions asked in the Discovery Process will bring clarity.
What Do You Want Visitors to Learn? No one will understand what makes you special and your Unique Selling Point (USP). Your website is where you can explain what makes you different. Explain it in a way that resonates. The Website Strategy Process (WSP) will guide you to uncovering your special place in the market. It is not a trivial task. In some cases, it calls for a total re-branding of the business. You may need to change the name, the brand and URL (website internet address).
Unique Selling Points
Benefits! All shoppers what to know what the advantage is for them. Why should they stay with you rather than at any of the other places? The #1 benefit is the #1 hot button.
If you are catering to celebrities, the very affluent or the persons who do not like to be the center of attention, Privacy, Space, Quiet and an unassuming attitude are vital. Maybe you are catering to Mindful Souls who like Mindful Holidays.
Comparison! Most shoppers will want to know how you compare in value to other options. It is never a bad idea to group yourself and promote in the channels that you competition is in. Aligning your property with the winners in your niche reinforces the distinction and builds trust. Of course, you need to point out your distinct advantage and value proposition. It may be price but it is far better to build a message around value.
Objections! Many travellers will have some uncertainly, lack of trust or hang ups with regards booking the wrong place. Your message should deal with these objections. For example: small hotels and guest houses feel they are at a disadvantage in competing with large OTAs like Booking.com. To counter this, a property can display its awards, great reviews and affiliations with the tourist board, among other things. This will give prospects a sense of security. Again, the WSP will help you build the right message and hot buttons.
Benefits, Comparison & Objections are the material of Hot Buttons. Get these right and you are on you way to strategic messaging that will power your website forever.
It’s Not About Graphics
With the Website Strategy Exercise, the idea that becomes very clear is:
The Message Comes First
When you have a clear idea of the message, you can implement the navigation in a way that builds on the message and guides users to the relevant page that will inspire them to take action. Graphics help in the process but putting graphic design first is a critical error. It must always be the other way around!
See more about the Website Strategy Process at:
Illustrated Magazine in Printed Format available on MagCloud
© Ian R. Clayton
Author of the Book Series Hotel & Tourism Marketing
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