If there is one thing certain in the current world situation is that we have some extra time in our hands. You have used it to make deep cleaning of your hostel. And you have started to make some renovations and the maintenance check-up.
Maybe you spend time reading the news and talk to your hostel community to see how they are doing. So together you are thinking about how you gonna prepare once you will be able to reopen.
Or you also have taken some time off. Which you deserve and which you laid off for quite some time.
Fostering human connections
If you’re wondering what else you can do, in today’s blog post I’m gonna give you some ideas.
Keeping your social media up-to-date right now is a must. You should keep this ball rolling.
Now you have the chance to use social platforms in the way it meant to be. Stay in touch with your friends, previous guests and the community you have created.
To create the urge to travel and discover slower and deeper.
Another thing is improving your hostel’s website user experience. If you are creating a new website or you were thinking about refreshing it: this post is for you.
Sure, you can write some describing text, bullet list hostels features, add a booking button and call it a day.
If you want to have a website that does what it should: converts into bookings, you should know this word.
Tha magical word is…
Everywhere I see copy copy copy copy
Lately, I have been obsessed with one thing: copywriting (and when I say obsessed I mean it). I read about it, listen to podcasts. I watch commercials, read ads in the magazines, make the courses and practice it.
ALL THE TIME.
Words are everywhere and copywriting is almost omnipresent.
And so many people forget how valuable and powerful word is.
It’s persuasive, it’s magical, it’s express your hostel’s essence.
That’s why you better use it damn well on your hostel website. Because once you do it, I guarantee it will change the online trippers into direct bookers.
As you know now my latest obsession, here are some hot tips that can improve your website’s copy.
The key points to the successful hostel website
- Visit your hostel’s Google Analytics.
Analyzing each page of your website is essential. You should check out the bounce rate of each page. Where exactly online visitors drop off? Where they leave the process of making a reservation with you?
This will help you to detect which page needs more optimizing.
Where is the room to improve?
- Make the research.
To write a good copy for your hostel’s web you need to know who your guest is.
Do you know what kind of website performs well? The one written with the language of your guests. The one written for them.
You need to know what your travellers want. Why they love or hate your hostel. You need to know about their problems and what makes them happy. You need to understand them.
And yeah, understanding humans is a complicated job. I know.
What you can do is to analyze your reviews and feedbacks (let’s say that from the past 2-3 months). Copy them into the Excel or Word or document of your choice. This is where you can read them, highlight what seems to be an interesting wording or point of view.
Maybe you will discover that what you thought was your strength goes unnoticed. And what you didn’t expect have success far and beyond.
If you notice a pattern, some things that repeat, you want to remember it. And again…highlight anything that seems to you very interesting.
- Use these notes
Once you will be writing copy for your web or rewriting it, consider to use the research that you have made. Check if your pages include the strengths mentioned often by your guests.
- Use your guests’ words
Yeap, I mean it. When you get down to writing, use their words. You write the website for them so make it in their language.
What is another advantage of using the words of your guests? A customized online experience that speaks to your desired type of guest.
There you go: now you know, why it’s called COPYwriting.
- Keep their attention
Use headlines and crossheads. Bold important words or phrases. As long as you make it easy to read and interesting to keep their attention.
- The “You” Rule
First of all: the hostel website is for your potential guests. Not for you. That’s why whatever you write on your website, have a “You” mindset.
Instead of “our” and “we” try to focus on your traveller. Make it personal. Their kind of personal.
Put yourself in the traveller shoes and ask yourself “What’s in it for me?” “What I’m actually getting?”
And than write.
This is the excerpt from the home page of Rhodes Backpackers Hostel:
“After backpacking around the world for many years and creating incredible memories and experiences, Rhodes Backpackers Hostel would like to offer today’s travellers a similar personal experience. Situated in Rhodes central, Rhodes Backpackers hostel is a small family run hostel located a 15-minute walk from the old city. We are close to banks, supermarkets, cafes and bus stops that can take you to Faliraki and Lindos or into the hussle and bussle of down town Rhodes for a wild night out. 2020 is our 5th year, so come and join in the excitement. Enjoy drinks and mezze in our bar with our friendly and laid back staff”
It could be:
We have been backpacking around the world for many years. Gathered incredible experiences and memories. So that now, as a Rhodes Backpackers Hostel, we can give you, “today’s traveller”, similar memories.
You can live a true, greek experience with us.
As a family-run business, we know a thing or two about going local in Rhodes.
You will be only 15 minutes walk from the old town. Our hostel is centrally located in Rhodes. So as you take a walk you will cross with many cafeteries, shops and banks.
You, “the today’s traveller” have trusted us already for 5 years.
Let’s celebrate together in our bar. Join us for a drink or two.
Enjoy and relax. You are in the good hands of our staff.
Can you see the difference? Apart, that I have made it easier to read.
Again, this is an example. I don’t know what type of travellers have this hostel. I can only guess. But this is the version, where you focus a bit more on your target audience.
With that said remember about the next point…
- Details matter…but not that much
You see, I know that you want to layout all those amazing things about your hostel. How it’s located in the awesome neighbourhood. And all the reasons why it’s the best choice and not the other one.
But you know what? They don’t care.
People very often do not read the whole thing on the website (unless it’s interesting and engaging). They will find out all about it once they will be preparing for the trip or when they will be in your hostel.
Your job, your hostel website’s job is to make online visitors book this damn bed or room.
So write what is essential. And then cross away half of the things that you thought that are essential.
After that see the next point.
- Make it simple, make it clear
Do you know why people love so much to book through Booking, Hostelworld or Expedia?
Because it’s simple. They go to one of the OTA above, they write the name of the city and they click the “search” button.
Once they find what they want they book it.
It’s easy, it’s clear. They love it. We love it.
So please, please, please. If there is one thing that you can do for your hostel’s website is to make the booking process simple.
Make your website clear and simple. Don’t overthink it. Don’t overdo it.
- Get that ‘Book Now’ button
The so-called “call to action” buttons are extremely important. And trust me, they do the job. As long as they are there, loud and clear. And visible.
Say no to the contact forms to ask for the availability. The online bookers want it simple and want it QUICK.
Again. No more contact forms for the availability questions. You want to win them, right?
So yeah…get that “Book Now” (or however you call it as long as it tells the online trippers what to do) button.
- Evoke emotions
Hostels are all about experiences. You should give that experience also on your website.
Travellers book your hostel, not because of the features that your hostel offers. But, because they want to feel something. They search for the outcome. They want to feel fun. To feel entertained. To be safe. They want and long for dream holidays.
Focus on the benefits.
Instead of writing down what kind of features your hostel offers, think the other way. Think about how your travellers enjoy each of these features.
Here are some examples:
Benefit focused: You can start your day energized with our yummy breakfast.
Benefit focused: Unwind and forget that the world exists near the swimming pool.
Benefit focused: Feel safe and go have fun. Close your backpack in the lockers provided in each room.
Real-life examples of how some hostels do it right
In the activity suggestions, hostel highlights, what they guests search in them. “Keep the costs down”, “Share the fun”.
- Use icons
As I mentioned in point number 7, you should make your website and the booking process as simple as possible.
I’m a big fan of using icons when it comes to the facilities or services descriptions. They visualize, they make it simple. With the short and to the point description.
In this example, the hostel on its web page uses icons to describe what kind of facilities goes with the private room.
Easy, visual, simple, yet says so much.
Photos are an essential thing for your website. They should be of good or high quality. Making a video or the virtual tour is another extra you should consider adding.
- Safety first
One of the reasons, as a traveller we decide not to book directly is because we don’t feel safe on the website. The safety-related to the payment transaction is a must.
Making your online guest feel safe, should be your priority. That’s why icons seen during online transactions should appear on your website.
- Gain their trust
Since we already have all these reviews on the OTA’s why not use them?
Because online trippers check the reviews on Tripadvisor or other OTA, before making a booking.
Pull out these testimonials and make them speak for you. Use the website plugins that help to insert the reviews.
- Shine bright with a blog
Last but not least is the ‘sometimes forgotten on your hostel website’ blog. Look, I know that you might see it as an extra (unnecessary) good. But…
A blog is a great way to attract online traffic, with the right SEO moves.
To introduce to your hostel, area, things to do, hidden spots.
Use blog and storytelling as powerful tools, that can captivate your future guests.
Oh, by the way: the blog content you can reuse for your social media purposes.
And remember this rule: Write for the reader first and the search engine later.
Check out the Pacific Tradewind Hostel and the great job they are doing with their blog.
Woohoo! If you read till the end congratulations to you! (and to me, that I’ve managed to keep you until the end). Now I hope my copywriting tips will be helpful to you. And to your hostel website creation or re-writing process.
I could go on and on about copywriting but I don’t want to spill out all the secrets in one blog post. At least not yet.