Many hotels are remodeled every few years to stay up-to-date and in-tune with the latest styles and technologies. In this day and age, this same mentality should be applied to your hotel's digital property – your website. The web is continually changing, and you need to stay on top of current trends and get the most online bookings. This is why your website should be redesigned every two years. It is even more important to stay on top of this if you are an independent hotel, as you don't have the brand name to fall back on. The following is a simple checklist for independent hotels to see if it's time for your website to get a makeover:
Do you have professional photography?
The imagery on your website has never been more critical. Especially in the travel industry, it is a big missed opportunity if you are not incorporating impressive, hi-res photos on your site. Don't be afraid to splurge on a professional photographer – the results will more than pay off in the end! With the emergence of photo-centric social network Pinterest as well as Facebook, your photography can go a long way. You may be surprised at the amount of traffic these sources can bring to your site.
Is your site SEO friendly?
How old is the content on your website? Do you have meta-description tags or a 301 redirect? Most people don't click past the second page on Google's results, so being in the first two pages is imperative. Blogging is another excellent way to stay relevant and dynamic, not to mention it can give your hotel a voice. Chances are there is so much more you could be doing to increase your SEO and redoing your hotel's website if needed, is the best way to start.
Are you using new web technologies?
If your hotel's website still uses Flash, you are missing the boat! iPads are not compatible with Flash. Do you want to risk a large market segment seeing a gray, empty box when they visit your website on their iPads? Flash sites also prohibit your content from being "pinnable," so you can go ahead and rule out any site traffic from Pinterest as well. Also, any titles, buttons, and navigation should be text styled with CSS as opposed to just imagery. Other new technologies, such as HTML5 and CSS3, should also be implemented.
Have you integrated social media?
Why not show off your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.? Don't just put your social media icons on your website. Take it a step further by incorporating a feed directly from your Twitter or Facebook account onto your website. You never know who may be inspired to book at your hotel because of something you posted or tweeted! Install share buttons so people can share your content easily across their social networks.
Do you have a mobile site?
Your website should be optimized for mobile viewing. If it's not, your site may show up distorted and be difficult or impossible to navigate. Having a mobile site is a simple yet essential aspect of a great hotel website.
Do you have clear calls to action?
Calls to action can be useful in converting potential guests into actual guests. Make bold statements and have clear conversion paths. Of course, you also want to have a prominent and functioning booking engine.
Overwhelmed? It may seem like an immense amount of time, work, and money, but it's not as bad as you think…not to mention the ultimate turnout is bound to have a significant impact on your site traffic and bookings. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation if you think it's time for a little digital remodeling of your own!