It’s not a crime for a hotel to have a poorly designed website. But, it makes their ability to attract guests WAY more difficult.
Some try to lean on OTAs and their Facebook page to get by. But that’s about all they’ll do with that approach—get by. And that’s if they’re lucky.
It’s always best to start with the website. It’s not only the nucleus of a hotel’s marketing, powering all other marketing efforts, it’s the first time many people will experience their property. If their website is poor, their hotel looks bad. And so does their bottom line, in all likelihood.
Fortunately, simple yet attractive, smartly designed, and finely-tuned websites are quite affordable nowadays. When a hotel has a website they can be proud of, not only does it make them look good and feel good, it may significantly improve their business.
What follows are a few ways an outdated website makes a hotel look and what can be done about it.
An Outdated Website Makes Hotels Invisible
Search engines can’t find some hotel websites because their site structure is poor, throwing its SEO all off. The metadata is a mess, the copy is missing keywords, and the usability of the site is rough. Google and Bing don’t like any of that.
Since no one sees the website when they’re conducting a Google search for accommodations in your area, they are effectively invisible. And if they do somehow manage to stumble across it, they may take one look at its out-of-date status and think the hotel just went out of business. The good news is that most new websites are designed to be SEO optimized, allowing hotels to be much more visible.
An Outdated Website Ignores about 2.5 Billion People
If a website isn’t built with responsive design, i.e., for mobile display, all the smartphone users in the world can’t access your website properly and will likely just leave it as fast as they humanly can. And if they do manage to get to the website on mobile, it doesn’t work or look very good. Maybe later they’ll remember to go check it out on their desktop computer, but it’s not a sure thing. Luckily, nearly all websites are now designed with mobile devices in mind so hotels with new websites are being discovered more easily by more people.
An Outdated Website Isn’t Hospitable
When prospective guests get to a website and it doesn’t work or looks awful, they don’t get the best first impression of the property. To put it nicely. If you believe that a website is an extension of a hotel’s customer service, having an outdated, unattractive, broken site suggests, whether it’s true or not, that their on-property guest services may not be up to par. By making a website feel helpful and attractive, a hotel makes future guests feel welcome and confident that when they get to the property they will be in good hands.
What Guests Can’t Do on an Outdated Website
They can’t get a clear and immediate idea of the brand.
A hotel’s brand is their story and people planning a vacation are searching for a dream. A good story helps them dream. And if they like that dream enough, they’ll yearn to be a part of it and book a room. If a hotel’s website doesn’t offer an immediate story to fuel their imaginations, people will click away.
A new website can very simply tell a true and compelling story through beautiful photography, immersive video, unique design elements, good writing, and intuitive site architecture.
They can’t get a good sense of the rooms.
The number one thing people want to do before they book a room at a hotel? See the rooms! If a hotel’s website only has minuscule, grainy photos of its accommodations, it’s time to upgrade them to big, bright ones. Many hotel websites now even feature quick video tours of their rooms.
They can’t quickly and easily book a room.
This means that at best they run to an OTA to book a room. At worst, they just run away from booking at the property altogether. It’s important for a hotel website to have a clear call to action in the form of a prominent BOOK NOW or CHECK AVAILABILITY or VIEW ROOMS button on every page. Then, once they click to through they can easily fill out a form to reserve a room. The form should also be easy to use on mobile.
They can’t see what there is to do near the property.
People want to get a sense not only of the property, but they also want to see how it fits into the local area. What sort of experience will they be able to have when they step out the front door to explore?
They can’t connect with the hotel through the website.
Most people want to be able to send the hotel a message easily, if that’s through email or via a form on the website. Increasingly, however, many would prefer to chat with someone at the property in real time on the website. The rise of live chat is something to keep a close eye on.
Looking Ahead to a New Website
It’s astonishing what a simple updated website can do for the health of a hotel. With a little investment of time and money, it can even save a property! It can improve their current situation, if it needs a little boost. It can allow them to compete in the increasingly crowded hospitality market. And, above all, it can make them feel better about how they’re showing they’re face to the world, so to speak, every day. And that’s a good look.
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