What makes a hostel website amazing? Most would say the design. But that, like beauty, is subjective. And as in art and beauty, there’s no right or wrong way to present your hostel, but there are a few things you can implement on your website that can generate more bookings and make both your life, and your guests’ lives, easier.
With that in mind, we came up with five tips to improve your hostel’s website. Some of them are simple, while others may take a little bit of work.
Include an FAQ Page
Stop repeating yourself and create a frequently asked questions section. These sections save you a lot of time because your guests are able to see answers to common questions directly on your site. Many guests have the same questions, so take some time to think about those and create a resource for your guests and even your staff.
Need some inspiration? Check out the FAQs for Code Hostel in Edinburgh
Pro tip: Include the FAQ in your Contact Us page. That way, your guests may find the answer without the need to contact you.
Create a blog
An up-to-date blog will help you with two things. One, it will keep your guests informed and second it will make Google happy.
Google loves fresh content and when they see it in your website, it shows Google’s robots that your website is quality. When Google identifies good content, your website will perform better in search results. This is a complicated topic, but new, unique content is always a plus.
But, when posting new blog articles, you must be careful. Your content must be original. If you want to re-post any article you’ve seen somewhere else, you can do so, but you should follow some rules.
As for your guests, feed and intrigue them with travel tips. Coming up with new ideas for a blog post on a regular basis is the biggest pain for most people. It’s also the number one reason people never start a blog or abandon their blog after they’ve started. The best way to come up with fresh blog ideas is to document what’s going on in your local area. Local events, seasonal changes, and other timely subjects are best. Astor Hostels in London has an example of a well-maintained blog. Check out their article about Cinema in the Snow.
Slo Living Hostel in Lyon, France has a very clean website which is easy to navigate. But the coolest thing they have on their homepage is a beautiful video.
So, why don’t you make a video showing all angles of your hostel to your future guests? Feature your big and spacious rooms and the fun activities your guests can have together in the evening. Add a few clips of your city to entice them to stay a few more nights than planned.
An easy way to get that done is by having a volunteer in your hostel. Tons of smart kids are traveling around the world exchanging their skills for accommodation. Set up an account on Worldpackers, create a position for videomaker and receive your first volunteer.
Pro Tip: Most high-end smartphones like the iPhone 6S (or newer) can record videos in Full HD and editing nowadays is easier than ever.
A Mobile-Optimized Website
These days, a large majority of guests book on mobile devices, especially the backpackers. It is practically mandatory that your website is mobile-friendly. Modern websites are designed to be responsive, meaning that they will shape themselves depending on which device they are accessed on.
It’s easy to test if a website is responsive or not. If you’re reading this on your computer, reduce the width of your browser as much as you can. You’ll notice that the design actively changes.
Once in Cape Town Hostel in South Africa is a good example of a hostel with a responsive website. It looks great on desktops, phones and tablets.
Commission-Free Booking Engine
Every hostel website should have a booking engine. And like your website, your booking engine should also be responsive. Cloudbeds’ mybookings works great on all devices, including tablets and smartphones.
A booking engine will help you get more direct reservations, hands down. One of the main reasons guests prefer to book through OTAs is because it’s easy, fast and guaranteed.
If you use online travel agencies, you already have all the information you need to use your own booking engine, like rates and real-time availability.
No longer make guests send you tons of emails that requires a manual response and slows down the booking process. It will improve the experience of booking at your property because it cuts down on wait time and increases your productivity.
Cloudbeds’ mybookings is highly customizable and allow you to maintain your unique branding and style.
Tip: If you need help customizing mybookings for your hostel, check out this Cloudbeds’ article.
We hope that these tips help you to improve your website, generate more bookings, and, of course, make money.