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3 Most Important Tips for Getting a New Hotel Website

Shopping for a new website is never easy. Here are some tips to make it less painful.

by Joe Pooley | October 04, 2017

Hotel website advice

Define the word “website”.

Tougher than you think, isn’t it? We’ve been using this word since the 80s, but what it means has changed immensely over the years and continues to change.

If you’re a hotelier in the market for a new hotel website 2018, you’d be well served to think carefully about what you believe a website hotel is and what it should do for you.

Here are some pieces of advice to guide you in this process and, perhaps, change the way you think about hotel websites altogether.

Think in Terms of Revenue and ROI
A website has graphics, images, maps, tools, words--but what really matters for you is revenue. A hotel website is a vehicle for driving direct bookings, and every aspect of it should contribute to this goal in some important way.

When you’re entertaining bids for a hotel website project, ask questions about the strategies used to drive revenue and bookings through the website and, equally as important, the means by which you will be able to track and measure these bookings and revenue.

Thinking simply in terms of a great looking website can be a red herring.  A ‘great’ design is only as great as the rate at which it is able to convert visitors. Decisions about website design, structure, messaging, and optimization should all be informed by data and research. Doing things based on gut instinct or aesthetic preference can be a dangerous path to tread.

Anticipate Future Headaches
Not everything will go as expected during your website development project. I can make this guarantee to you having overseen hundreds of hotel website projects over the years.

The important thing to do is to find a website vendor that promises a level of flexibility and communication that will allow you to overcome obstacles with minimal stress and expense.

We have talked to far too many hoteliers who have entered agreements with large web companies, lured in by attractive pricing and flashy features, only to be trapped in rigid contracts with exorbitant fees for any extra work added after the fact.

Make sure you learn all the policies and rates for any work that goes beyond the scope of your project. Find out whether there is any penalty for switching vendors or cancelling your contract post-launch. And find out whether you will have a dedicated project manager to be your point person so that nothing is lost in translation during the development process.    

Demand a Personalized Proposal
Typically, the process of requesting a quote or bid for your hotel website project will provide a fairly accurate picture of what it will be like to work with that company.

Are they creating a proposal that's designed specifically for you or are they simply sending a pricing quote or generic whitepaper? Are they speaking to how the website will accomplish your specific occupancy and marketing goals or are they just speaking in general terms of how great their product is?

Are they prompt with communication by email and phone? Are they punctual with scheduled meetings?

You have every right to demand a personalized project proposal from any potential web company. Ruling out those that don’t will help you separate the wheat from the chaff in the often grueling process of entertaining multiple bids for your hotel website.

For a friendly chat about hotel digital marketing, or simply to vent your frustrations about shopping for a website, give us a call here at Digital Hospitality. We’re experts in hotel websites and we’ve been told we’re good listeners too.  

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About Joe Pooley:

Joe Pooley is senior communications strategist at Digital Hospitality, where he helps hoteliers make sense of Internet Marketing.

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