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How Vizlly Drove 64% More Website Visitors to the Booking Engine
Being located in the beautiful 1,000 islands region of Ontario, the 74-room Best Western Fireside (built in 1972) has long been a popular destination for leisure travelers. But its proximity to 3 of the 4 largest cities in Canada – Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa are all within a 3 hour drive – has led to increased business travel in recent years.
Front Office Manager, Hailey Fournier wanted to change the hotel’s website to target both travel segments in order to drive more direct bookings. Unfortunately, Hailey had one major obstacle standing in her way, an outdated website.
The Problem: An Outdated Website That Was Difficult to Use, a Pain to Update, and Didn’t Drive Direct Bookings
The Best Western Fireside’s old website was difficult to navigate, wasn’t optimized for mobile and near impossible to update. A new website became the top priority if Hailey hoped to drive bookings from both business and leisure travel segments.
Hailey wasn’t the only one to recognize that their website was overdue for an upgrade. Returning guests shared their opinions too. “Our old website was embarrassing. Guests would complain that they loved our hotel, but couldn’t find the information they needed on our website, and it was difficult to make a booking.” Hailey knew it was time for a change.
If the desktop website was difficult to navigate, the mobile version was near impossible. Built before smartphones became universally adopted, the website was never intended to be viewed on such a small screen. Hailey knew that a mobile friendly website was a necessity since 53% of business travelers and 31% of leisure travelers have booked travel on a smartphone.
“It’s 2017; we need to gear everything to mobile because it’s how travel shoppers find hotels. It’s what the industry is coming to.”
Upgrading their existing website to offer a superior mobile experience was easier said than done! “Our old website developer was hard to get a hold of, even though they’re just down the street.” This limited how regularly updates could be made, and each update came with an extra charge. The tipping point came when Hailey was told that their website was too old to update, and they would need a whole new site to be built at a minimum cost of $10,000! Naturally, she began to look for other options.
The Solution: A Vizlly Website for Desktop and Mobile That Drives More Bookings
The Best Western Fireside had been a Leonardo customer since 2006 – distributing digital brochures on third party channels made the Best Western Fireside stand out and drove incremental revenue from OTAs. Having great success with their digital brochures, they upgraded to the Vizlly platform which includes a conversion driven hotel website. Hailey had found the solution to her problem.
A Vizlly-powered website checked all the boxes. Visually-rich stories allowed targeted content to be created for both business and leisure travelers, like her homepage that emphasizes: Business Meets Pleasure. Hailey could choose between a mobile responsive or optimized design, opting for the responsive design. This allowed Hailey to have all of the content from her desktop site appear in an easy to navigate mobile layout, which is especially important since Google is switching to a mobile-first index.
Best of all, Hailey could log in and make updates to the website herself, without having to pay an expensive website developer. Her Vizlly Success Coach was there to help answer her questions and provide best practice tips. And all this came at a fraction of the cost of her previous website!
“Vizlly is just so hands on. You know exactly what you’re going to get.”
Working closely with her dedicated Success Coach, Hailey created a website that would drive more bookings.
The Results: Increased Website Visits and Purchase Intent
“2016 has been one of our best years in recent memory” raved Hailey. “We were busy all summer long, and that continued throughout the fall.” By tracking results through Vizlly’s built in analytics, it’s clear to see that the website played an important role in this success.
Eight months after launching her Vizlly website, monthly visits have increased by 132%, and unique monthly visitors are up 119%. This is no small task, considering OTAs like Expedia and Booking.com dominate search results. The new mobile responsive design has been a major catalyst for the increased traffic. Today, 40% of all visitors now come to the site from a mobile device.
Increased traffic is a positive indicator of a high performing website, but most importantly a hotel website should be driving bookings. That’s exactly what the Best Western Fireside saw; as traffic and media views increased, so too did the amount of people clicking through to their booking engine to check rates. By tracking these clicks, Hailey saw purchase intent increase by an amazing 64% with Vizlly.
Finding the time to fix a failing website can be difficult with the day-to-day demands of running a hotel. After years of working with hard to reach developers, Hailey realized that she needed to rebuild her website if she ever wanted to drive more direct bookings from it. Thankfully, Vizlly made it easy and cost effective for her to do that. “My Vizlly Success Coach and the support people are incredible; I couldn’t have done it without them.”