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How to Lose a Hotel Guest in 7 Ways: Common Mistakes That Keep Guests From Booking

If you’re a hotelier, you know very well that business isn’t always thriving 365 days a year. On some days, the rooms are selling like pancakes. On other days, the business is super slow and the hotel staff feels like yawning. You look forward to the weekends, holidays, and months where tourist season is at its peak, which often guarantee a fully booked calendar. 

But if you can’t remember the last time your hotel received a tremendous number of occupancy, even on peak seasons, you might be asking: what went wrong? What makes your competitors stand out? What are the mistakes that made you lose potential hotel guests?

Before we delve into the reasons why you might be falling behind, let’s first talk about the four crucial parts of a hotel guest’s journey:

  1. The guest looks for a hotel online
  2. The guest goes to a hotel website
  3. The guest chooses a room and rate
  4. The guest books their stay and settles their payment

How well you do in these key stages can determine whether your guest will choose to book a stay with you or look elsewhere. 

In this article, we’ll list down some of the most common ways hotels fail to attract bookings and lose to their competitors. 

1. You’re not visible online


Needless to say, you can’t get bookings if potential guests are not even aware that your property exists. And even if you’ve had a great number of patrons in the past, we’re not living in an era where word-of-mouth marketing is sufficient. 

Hotels must be tech-savvy to stay in the game since they get the greatest revenue from online bookings. Users find out information on hotels via search engines like Google and metasearch engines like Google Hotel Ads, Trivago, and Tripadvisor. They also get a handful of options by browsing Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like and Expedia.

Start by creating an account on Google My Business (GMB). Here, you can put your property’s photos, contact details, reviews, and an updated link to your website. You should also link your website to metasearch engines, which customers use to compare price rates, read reviews, and access hotel websites. 

2. You’re not exerting efforts on building your online presence

Getting your hotel listed on these search engines and travel agents is not enough. You must also work on putting your hotel website on top of the search results when a customer searches keywords like “hotel in X city”. The higher it is, the higher chance you’ll get direct bookings. 

The key is to invest in your hotel website’s SEO. You can work with a digital marketing agency, which can execute effective strategies including: 

  • SEO Audit
  • In-depth Keyword Research
  • On-Site and Technical Optimization
  • Content Creation
  • Off-Site (citations, listings, high-quality link building, etc)

A digital marketing agency can also work on a wide array of marketing tactics that’ll boost your hotel’s online presence and credibility. These include content marketing, mobile marketing, online advertising, email marketing, and social media marketing. 

3. Your website isn’t engaging

hotel website

Now that you’ve successfully brought users to your website, the next step is to convert them from lookers to bookers. Make their time worthwhile by improving your website’s user interface and content. 

  • Work on your site’s speed
  • Design your website with user-friendliness in mind
  • Have a search box
  • Keep navigation quick and easy with simple menus and attractive themes
  • Optimise your hotel website for mobile users
  • Have a hotel blog
  • Place FAQs page and contact details 

Nothing kills an audience’s interest better than a slow-loading, unresponsive website, and low-quality photos, rendering your hotel marketing efforts useless. 

4. You’re not selling your hotel hard enough

What makes your hotel stand out from the rest of the properties in the city? Hard selling with your unique selling points is a surefire way to hotel guest conversion: 

  • Give eye-catching details on rooms and rates
  • Fill your hotel blog with top-notch posts, selling the region or city and all of its offerings
  • Make your gallery shine with high-quality photos and videos
  • Hard sell with your unique selling points
  • Use blogs, 3D tours, and other forms of media to let your clients visualise what it feels like to stay at your property. 
  • Showcase reviews to build trust and reputation
  • Bring guests’ emotions into play with visual stories

5. You’re not investing in hotel revenue management

revenue management

“To sell the right room, to the right guest, at the right time, for the right price, through the right distribution channel, with the most cost-efficient way possible” — this is what revenue management is all about. 

Revenue management refers to the pricing tactics employed to attract the right client, boost revenue, and eliminate costs. Hotel revenue managers use performance data and analytics to help hoteliers accurately predict demand and consumer behaviours. Revenue management also allows hotels to remain competitive by not selling rooms with rates that are too low or too high.

If you feel like your pricing and distribution strategies need some improvement, you may work with hotel revenue managers to achieve the best possible financial results. 

6. The booking section isn’t easy to see and navigate

The last thing your hotel guest wants is to take a long stretch of time to navigate through the booking process. 

With this, make sure your booking engine is visible and user-friendly: 

  • Make a “Book now” button visible and eye-catching. 
  • Ensure all rooms and suites are available for booking
  • The rates should be clear
  • The extras should also be easily added
  • Put highlighted call-to-action button on “room categories and rates” 
  • Make discounts noticed

7. You make the payment a bit of a hassle for guests


It’s frustrating to lose a guest at the last stage of booking just because the payment methods are complicated. You may avoid such situation with the following tips: 

  • Provide more payment methods
  • Offer flexible cancellation policies
  • Allow guests to edit the guest record after booking
  • Remind to complete a booking by sending “unfinished booking” emails
  • Send welcome emails


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