Increase Your Hotel's Revenue With This Simple Data-Driven Call To Action

Ever wonder how the words used on your hotel website affects your conversion rates, conversion funnels, and revenue? Blue Magnet sought to answer this question by A/B testing the primary calls to action on a major market, boutique hotel’s website. The results are fascinating and provide actionable direction to help your website maximize its revenue potential. Take a look at what we found – these insights just may help you bring your digital marketing campaign to the next level!

Experiment Overview

This experiment tested how booking widget verbiage affects conversion rates. In this experiment, “Check Availability” is the original call to action, and “Book Now” is the variant. The copy was updated on both the desktop booking widget and the mobile booking button.

Goal of the Experiment: To determine whether “Check Availability” or “Book Now” is more effective at funneling potential guests into the reservation system

Page Tested: Home page

Element Tested: Desktop booking widget and the mobile header’s reservation button

Definition of Conversion: Desktop booking widget submissions and mobile booking button clicks

Targeting: 50% of all home page visitors were included in the experiment. Of visitors included in the experiment, half were served the original version (Check Availability) and half were served the variant (Book Now).

Hypothesis: Blue Magnet predicted the difference in booking widget clicks would be nominal, with the Book Now version performing slightly better. We believed “Book Now” to be a clearer, more intuitive call to action with a stronger potential to drive clicks.

Duration of Experiment: 30 days

Total Experiment Sessions: 3,555

A Quick Look at the Controls and the Variants

To provide visual context for the elements tested, the screenshots below show the original and variant versions for the home page’s primary call to action.

Original on Desktop

original call to action on the hotel's desktop website

Variant on Desktop

desktop variant of hotel reservation widget

Original on Mobile

mobile reservation button in ab test

Variant on Mobile

variant mobile content in hotel website experiment

Overview of Experiment Results

Thirty days of data shows the Check Availability version yielded 13.84% more clicks to the booking engine than its Book Now counterpart, debunking Blue Magnet’s hypothesis. For experiment sessions, the original call to action (“Check Availability”) saw a 43.69% conversion rate while the variant (“Book Now”) saw a 38.38% conversion rate.

ab test experiment results on hotel website

Similarly, Google Optimize calculates the original call to action had a 99% probability to be the best version:

google optimize experiment probability

Secondary Metrics: Ecommerce Results

The experiment tracked clicks to the reservation system, and the data shows “Check Availability” is more successful for accomplishing this goal. However, a further dive into the data showed “Book Now” is significantly more effective at driving transactions and revenue. Users served “Book Now” also had a much higher ecommerce conversion rate.

check rate data

Compared to users served “Check Availability”, sessions in the variant cohort:

  • Generated over 1.5 times more revenue
  • Drove 35.14% more transactions
  • Saw a 32.86% ecommerce conversion rate improvement

While the experiment did not track these metrics as a goal, they do shed more light on user psychology. People shopping around and performing price comparison are more likely to click “Check Availability” while people actively looking to reserve a room are much more likely to respond to “Book Now”.

Experiment Results by Device Category

While the all user metrics give a high-level glimpse into the performance of each booking widget iteration, an analysis by device category provides even more useful insights. The experiment data shows only a slight difference in performance between the desktop versions, while the gap between the mobile calls to action was more significant.

All Devices

For all users, the Check Availability iteration had a 13.84% higher conversion rate than the Book Now version. Over the 30 day period, this accounted for 80 more booking widget submissions than the variant.

hotel website experiment results for all devices

All User Check Rate Performance

Total Experiment Sessions: 3,555

Original Version Sessions: 1,760
Original Version Conversion Rate: 43.69%

Book Now Version Sessions: 1,795
Book Now Version Conversion Rate: 38.38%

Desktop User Analysis

On desktop, the performance difference between the Check Availability and Book Now versions was narrow, with the original yielding a 7.27% better conversion rate than the variant. On the whole, desktop users in the experiment were much more likely to convert than mobile users; but for desktop sessions, the call to action verbiage did not appear to be a primary driving factor for booking engine clicks.

Data from other Blue Magnet websites shows desktop sessions typically have higher conversion rates than mobile sessions, which we saw in the experiment results. Desktop users are served a prominent, calendar-based booking widget, which sets a clear expectation for users through design, format, and functionality. Since potential guests may be visually drawn to the calendar widget – and have a preconceived understanding the widget will take them to the reservation system – they may not be focusing as much on the call to action verbiage in the desktop widget design.

Additionally, the less committal nature of “Check Availability” may appeal to desktop users, even if they have intent to reserve a room.

Experiment results for desktop sessions

Desktop Check Rate Performance

Total Desktop Experiment Sessions: 2,014

Original Version Sessions: 996
Original Version Conversion Rate: 50.80%

Book Now Version Sessions: 1,018
Book Now Version Conversion Rate: 47.35%

Desktop Ecommerce Performance

While desktop users served “Check Availability” were slightly more likely to click into the booking engine, desktop users served “Book Now” generated a 35.63% higher ecommerce conversion rate. In fact, the Book Now variant drove 57.87% more revenue than the original among desktop users!

desktop ecommerce data from hotel ab test

Mobile User Analysis

While the original desktop version saw a 7.27% stronger check rate conversion rate than the variant version, the difference on mobile was far more drastic; the Check Availability version saw 25.06% more clicks to the reservation system than the Book Now variant.

Travelers frequently research accommodations on mobile devices before making their final transactions on desktop. This concept frequently explains the differences in desktop and mobile conversion rates (which is relevant here), but this logic also suggests that fewer mobile users are interested in committing to a reservation than desktop users. For this reason, we suspect the less committal “Check Availability” appeals more than the seemingly binding “Book Now” for mobile users.

mobile conversion rates in hotel website experiment

Mobile Check Rate Performance

Total Mobile Experiment Sessions: 1,232

Original Version Sessions: 580
Original Version Conversion Rate: 30.69%

Book Now Version Sessions: 1,018
Book Now Version Conversion Rate: 47.35%

Mobile Ecommerce Performance

Ecommerce performance was not the primary goal of this experiment, but the data provides insights into how people interact with different booking widget verbiage. On mobile, the ecommerce data completely counteracts the idea that people want a non-committal call to action; while people not ready to book may prefer “Check Availability”, mobile users ready to reserve a room were significantly more likely to book when given the “Book Now” CTA.

On mobile, people served “Book Now” made 450% more transactions than potential guests served “Check Availability”, which drove 244% more revenue.

mobile ecommerce results from ab test

Creating an Action Plan with this Data

People shopping around and comparing prices are more likely to click “Check Availability” while people looking to book are much more likely to respond to the Book Now call to action.

This suggests each version plays a different role for people in the various stages of travel. That means you can use different versions of the booking engine copy on different pages based upon their unique roles in your website’s conversion funnel.

When to Use “Check Availability”

For potential guests in the dreaming and planning stages of travel, “Check Availability” is a more appropriate call to action. This seemingly less committal CTA is effective for guiding them into the booking engine to see rates and develop a better idea of how the hotel can fit into their travel plans. To accomplish this goal, use “Check Availability” on awareness and consideration pages (or other pages at the top and middle of the conversion funnel).

When to Use “Book Now”

For people in the booking stage of travel, “Book Now” is the better call to action. Employ this CTA at the bottom of your conversion funnel and on your action pages. A potential guest on your rooms or specials page is actively considering your hotel for their visit, and the Book Now version is proven to drive more revenue among this type of user.

You should also use the Book Now call to action on your home page. While the home page typically drives sessions from people in all stages of travel, hotel websites typically see the most clicks to the booking engine from the home page. To increase the revenue potential of your home page, change your primary call to action to “Book Now”.

The Proof is in the Data

While the data from this test is only representative of one hotel, it sheds light on how people use, interact with, and make purchasing decisions on hotel websites. The experiment also shows the power of data in making informed, strategic decisions on your website. By using data to fine tune the granular details of your website, you can continue to increase your website’s revenue potential and fill more room nights at your hotel.

Need help optimizing your hotel website to maximize your revenue potential? Just fill out this quick, easy form for a free consultation!

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