What are the most important requirements of every successful hotel and hospitality website?

Recommended Introductory Reads: Marketing Strategies using Hotel Websites

Easy Tips to Create the Best Hotel Website

Here are a few tips that you could use to create your hotel website, and ensure that your internet marketing strategies take you full speed ahead.

Keep the Website Unique

All companies want to be the best, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And when they decide to start a website, they hire a team or delegate an internal team that spends days online trying to find the perfect template to use, or copy a good one and fake as their own. And then, they show the best copied template to the management, and what do we have? A great looking website that’s not unique at all. On the other hand, some websites are so boring and confusing with plain white screens of boring content, a user might as well test their keyboard for drool resistance.

The bottom line, if you want to have a great website, work with a good team, and make it clear that you don’t want a “cut-and-paste” job. You want it to be unique, and you also want to know about all the websites that your design team has used for “inspiration”. It’s better to tell the design team straight up rather than find out much later from a guest that your hotel website template is the same as a fan page website template of Katie Price! And perhaps, at the same time your design team would also appreciate the fact that you understand all about inspiring ideas. And the best part is, you can also provide the feedback after you see a few other good looking websites and tell your design team what other additions and changes you would like to see in your own website. After all, you’re trying to make a good looking website and you should try to keep it as unique as it possibly can be.

Have Great Content in the Website

Great content is like great wine. An amateur won’t know the difference between a wine bottled in the vineyards of Mendoza or a bottle of grandma’s grape wine. And what you need, just like wine, depends on the occasion. Are you branding your hotel like a glitzy restaurant, or as a pay-by-the-hour joint? Be prepared to let your customers know that your hotel policy has always stressed on perfection, by having well written and interesting content that’s relevant to your hotel. Will you be having content about Golf Weekend Getaways or PaintBall Frenzy Fridays for the guests at your hotel? Write relevant content based on the type of packages your offer and the type of guests that are expected at your hotel. Mix and Match content can be turn out to be a big downpour for any hotel.

Another pointer that I would like to remind you here is the usage of big words in your website. You really don’t want a potential customer juggling between a dictionary page and your hotel page while surfing the net, do you? Use simple words unless the big words rhyme and line better. Keep it simple, and you’ll get your message across better.

Photography and Images

Hire the best photographers you can afford and use them well. Your potential guests do want to know where they’re going to be staying while vacationing at a faraway city. And good photography can thicken your chances of being the chosen one by a large extent. Pictures speak a thousand words, but a great hotel picture speaks a lot more. And pays the bills a lot better! Always try to be the best you can be, hire the best you can hire, and indulge your guests in the best way you can if you really are serious about making a difference in the hotel and hospitality industry.

Great Search Engine Optimization

Well, we are talking about the internet here, aren’t we? All the glorious content in the world can’t help sell your hotel suites unless people are going to know you exist or visit your website. Always associate your hotel website information with all your communication exchanges like business cards, emails, social media sites, etc. And beyond all that, hire a media partner who can overlook your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You do need the Big G (google, for the less informed), Bing and the other search engines to find you and help internet users find you. So if you have or want a website, SEO comes hand in hand with your hotel’s glory or doom.

Contact Form

When you have a hotel, logic should remind you to put up all your contact details in the most prominent positions on your website. After all, prospective guests do want to contact you, and you do want them to call you. In this business, time is money. If they can’t get in touch with you easily, they’ll go somewhere else.

Live Chat

Today, the best form of contact isn’t the contact form. Contact information is a basic necessity indeed, but not the most efficient one. The best way to show off your customer-friendly hospitality services is to have a live-chat option in your website. It’s easy to set up, and almost always free, unless you want to take live chatting to the next level. Live chat can help your potential guests get in touch with you “anonymously” and ask the silliest questions that nag their mind, without worrying about sounding stupid. If you use this service well, there’s a good chance you’d be able to convert a lot of surfing passer-bys into faithful guests and evangelists.

Social Links

If you’ve read my earlier post on social media tips for hotels, you’d know the importance of having an active social media presence. And if you’re spending quality time in social media interaction, you’d better let your website visitors know all about it. Display your Facebook, Twitter and Blog links in your sidebar, so your curious visitors can know all about your hotel and its social interactions.

Recommendations and Links to Reviews

If you’ve participated actively in travel portals, and have been ranked highly by a few of them, make sure you put that information to good use. Most hotels misunderstand the use of internet rankings and reviews. Showing them off on your hotel website isn’t a bad thing, nor does it make you look like you’re showing off. On the contrary, good reviews and ranks can actually add to your credibility and convince a potential guest more easily.

And More?

Well, the ones I’ve mentioned here are just few of the basic features that any good website should have as a minimum requirement. But if you want to take it all the way to the best levels of hotel websites, well, there’s just no limit to excellence and imagination. At the end of the day, a great website is a better investment than most other investments you may have done to brand your company. And it’s something that will be market and brand your hotel 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Now really, how many marketing teams and marketing campaigns can better that figure?

An initiative to have a good hotel website will definitely show positive results. But a great initiative will bring in a lot more. Where do you see your hotel website?