To create a website is a simple task. To create a website which generates revenues, builds your customer-base, increases ROI and builds your brand is a completely different ballgame. For hotel owners, the option of having a website for the sake of it is increasingly becoming a non-option. |
In today's economy and with more and more customers going hotel online , the hotel website must:
1. Support and Sell your brand 2. Sell your products (and special offers) 3. Be easy to Use 4. Allow users to book and pay online 5. Allow users to contact hotel
Now, let's take these in turn.
Support and Sell your hotel brand
First off, your website is not a separate entity from your hotel in the users' mind. It is part and parcel of your business and if users are getting the wrong impression about your brand from your website, then you clearly stand to lose out on a very lucrative market. The website must boldly declare your brand for all to see. You don't want your customers coming to your site and wondering whether they are really at the right place.
For added comfort, why not go one step further and provide your customers with location information. If you hotel is close to the train station or 10 minutes from a popular, cosy restaurant for couples, why not share that information. Oh and how about hotel information about local transportation services and how you can help your customers find whatever information they are looking.
Tips for building your hotel brand through your website:
(1) Feature highly informative and persuasive content
(2) High-resolution hotel images of your logo, your offerings (rooms and other amenities), and possibly your staff (with smiley faces). For an added touch of class, you might want to add photos of happy customers (not necessary).
Both these two working together must answer basic questions about your brand: why should people want to stay at your hotel? What makes it unique? What kind of experience should they expect? Your website should make me want to visit the hotel. That's the whole point of persuasion.
Hotel websites generally are highly effective branding tools (or maybe not) depending on how much attention you pay to planning.
Sell your products and any special offers
A superb brand-building website with scarce product information is akin to a well-groomed, well-dressed and well-spoken salesman without knowledge about the product. Quality information on your products is one major key to selling online. Whatever it takes to persuade your customers about your products, the website must take care of it. Photos, reviews (if you customer expects that), videos (if you can afford it), and as much content as is necessary (but not more).
In addition to selling your product, the hotel website must highlight special offers to website users. Don't make them grovel before you present your tantalising offer.
Two simple tips apply here:
(1) Provide comprehensive, accurate and relevant product information (including images and video if appropriate) (2) Make the product information easy to find through easy and clear navigation systems
Customers have a right to know what they are buying, and especially with the unique (intangible) nature of hospitality products, it is important that your website users can picture what they are getting so they can make an informed decision.
Be easy to Use
Your website is designed for human use and as such, you really cannot substitute usability with flashy designs. For a website which is serious about making money, your customers must be able to use it. Navigation, accessibility, functionality are all part of the big usability picture.
This is one area in which you need significant investment. You don't need to add new features, just make sure that the features on your website work in the way they are supposed to work; how your users expect them to work. Links must work as links (not colored text). Speaking of, links must show up as links (different from the rest of the text).
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