This is a follow-up to a guest post we recently had featured on eHotelier, the world’s biggest portal for hoteliers. In that post we asked whether OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) outperform hotel brands on Google PageSpeed. This follow-up post takes a slightly different tack and extends the analysis to other world-famous hotel brands.
When working with hotels, hoteliers often tell us they want to boost direct online bookings and with good reason (control the customer data, avoid commissions, upsell, customise, drive repeat business) – yet many routinely ignore an easy win with huge impact. Scroll to see our benchmark speed scores of the world’s top 10 hotel brands.
Slow Hotel Websites Suck and Deliver Less Revenue
The speed of a website is one of the most overlooked factors not only in SEO but in overall booking conversion and direct online revenue for hotels.
Yet hotels – especially luxury brands – often prioritise aesthetics over functionality when designing their website. And then they complain about OTAs or AirBnB eating their lunch.
Having seen at first hand the positive impact that a speedy site can have on hotel booking conversion and to celebrate the launch of our speed-up service for the hotel and travel sector, we’ve done a comparative benchmark of the world’s top 10 hotel brands. Our tool of choice? Google PageSpeed.
This tool is not necessarily the best for speed benchmarking, but it is Google’s official tool. We feel that the search behemoth is dropping a huge hint which any commercial site ignores it at its peril!
The choice of hotel brands for this study – our “Top 10” – was subjective. We based it not just on the number of worldwide properties but also on global brand awareness (e.g. Four Seasons) and our desire to end up with a representative mix in terms of positioning and pricing. Here is our final cut of top 10 hotel brands: Holiday Inn, Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Best Western, Four Seasons, Intercontinental, Choice Hotels, Millennium Hotels and Ibis.
The results are shown in the table below. For simplicity this was done on their respective homepage that displayed in our office in London, which may not always offer the most representative indicator.
The Results – Which Hotel Brands Have the Fastest Websites?
The findings are based on readings taken on Tuesday 24th October 2017 and may change from day to day. However, the link provided lets you check directly at any time with Google’s tool. Different url, location and optimisation combinations may also have an impact.
These results are somewhat stunning. All are ordinary scores at best for these blue-chip brands with big marketing and technology budgets. Only Millennium Hotels, Intercontinental, Choice Hotels and Holiday Inn obtain respectable scores on desktops. When it comes to mobile, most of the top brands are mediocre at best.
The likes of Four Seasons and Marriott might be expected to have below average page speed given their luxury positioning and focus on aesthetics (hence media-heavy websites). But it’s surprising to see mid-range or budget brands like Ibis and Best Western struggle to achieve a website optimised for fast direct bookings.
Google PageSpeed is not the gospel. Yet it seems that the majority of top hotel brands still haven’t taken care of the basic speed of their site. This chart illustrates the disparities even more clearly.
We understand the dilemma: management wants to create an immersive experience by cramming in as much video and high-class photography as possible. And often you’ll arrive on their homepage and say “wow”. But this aesthetic impact comes at a cost.
Website functionality and speed matter. There is little point for example in investing so heavily in social media if your website fails to convert. OTAs prove this every second with their high booking conversion.
Not only does a slow website lead to wasted opportunities but it also damages your brand. Incidentally, Booking.com obtained a score of 66 (Mobile) and 80 (Desktop) – significantly higher than most of the above brands.
Nothing is more sexy than a fast-loading website, with a booking process so finely optimised that it literally takes seconds to book.
Why Improve Site Speed – Quick Checklist
Here is a quick checklist of reasons to remind hotel executives why a fast site (and preferably a lightning fast site) is not a luxury but a necessity:
- Better for SEO: Google explicitly states that site speed is a ranking factor
- Better mobile conversion, given that so many of us now book hotels on the run
- Better user experience: this is for brand reputation – who enjoys slow browsing?
- More qualified leads: not only due to improved SEO but because people often open multiple sites on browsers and the fastest page literally “wins”.
- Higher conversion: proven by a boatload of studies.
- More revenue: confirmed Amazon and Wal-Mart. Amazon’s model calculates that a one second slower website would cost billions of dollars per year in lost revenue.
If you are in the travel sector the need for speed is even more pressing due to the high level of competition.
Still not convinced? Check out this infographic from Kissmetrics with some killer stats taken from it:
- 47% of online consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds (if this is you it causes 60% of your lead acquisition budget to evaporate into thin air).
- A one second delay in page response leads to a 7% reduction in conversions
The message is crystal clear. Hotels: speed up your website! Click on the image above to see how a modest investment will unlock a big return. Or contact us for further information including a free speed assessment..
Website speed is too often relegated down the list of priorities. Our experience has found that it potentially offers the biggest bang for your buck as an investment that can immediately improve conversion and revenues.
MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE: If we don’t significantly speed up your site (as verified by Google PageSpeed), we’ll refund your full money back. We are a global digital marketing agency based in London (est. 2009). Contact us on +44(0)774 0483053 or email us today.