Nothing is more important to online consumers than website security. It’s imperative their personal and payment details are kept safe, and the hotel website they’re shopping on can be trusted.
Creating a safe hotel website experience should be treated as a duty of care for your guests; can you imagine the consequences of a traveller being defrauded via your website? There’s also the very real danger of travellers abandoning or not even landing on your homepage in the first place.
This could be the result for many businesses if Google’s latest announcement is any indication. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s happening? Google announces HTTPS deadline
Google has announced a July 2018 deadline for websites to be HTTPS secure on its Chrome web browser. Given more than 50% of internet browsers worldwide are Chrome, this change will affect a huge amount of businesses, and have a significant impact on traffic volumes.
In some areas the density of Chrome browsers is extremely heavy. Here’s the breakdown of some major regions:
- South America – 74%
- Mexico – 68%
- Spain – 63%
- Asia – 50%
- Africa – 43%
- US – 43%
- Canada – 42%
- India – 41%
- UK – 41%
- Australia – 39%
What does HTTPS mean?
The majority of websites use SSL encryption to protect any data that’s transmitted between a website and a shopper.
The SSL encryption requires a secure form of communication between a website and the consumer, known as HTTPS – where the ‘s’ stands for secure. This is indicated to the user in the URL which displays ‘https’ in place of the standard ‘http’.
It also shows the padlock symbol on the left-hand side of the URL bar which reassures people their data is secure when entering bank details or viewing their account online. It looks like this…
What does it mean for your hotel’s website?
Basically, Google will be showing a huge bias towards websites that are HTTPS secure. In fact, if your website isn’t secure by the deadline, Chrome will actively warn users it isn’t safe and could even restrict access to your website pages.
It should be noted the initial focus for Google will be on websites that collect data such as credit card details or passwords, so content-based websites that use third-party sites for booking and payment may not be impacted as significantly. However the reality is at some point you will probably collect data from visitors, even if it’s just an email address. It’s also been proven that HTTPS sites will load faster than HTTP, another factor influencing user experience.
Surveys say 84% of users would abandon a purchase if data was sent over an insecure connection, and a large majority are concerned about their data being intercepted or misused online. So, if you’re a hotelier that wants to convert direct bookings and maintain a high ranking on Google’s search results, it’s vital you’re HTTPS secure.
In the psychology of a prospective guest, seeing that little green padlock will give them peace of mind and an immediate sense of trust in your hotel business.
How do you become HTTPS secure?
One of the easiest ways to ensure your website is secure, along with many other benefits, is to invest in a professional website builder tool. These solutions will automatically come with secure encryption and will also help you maintain a functional, SEO-friendly, and charming hotel website.
The beauty of using a customisable website builder is that you’ll have your brand new website within days and it will automatically keep up with Google’s updates as time goes by.