Easy to say, but hard to do…

April 13, 2007 at 10:07 am | Posted in hotels, internet, marketing, tips | 4 Comments

At least seems so, because there are lots of publications on Internet and in printed press about hotel website development and marketing, even courses and seminars, but there are still thousands of poor hotel sites. Latest article Five ways to promote your hotel website repeats once more how important it is to optimise and make the site search engine friendly:

  1. 1. Get website analysis to know what`s good and what`s bad about your site from the point of design and search ability. Better if its done by competent website designer, not by yourself. Most trickiest part is to get competent designer, because there are lots of designers that just tell that they are good….And then you have to believe him and do what he says. I think it`s hard for hotelier to get through this step without knowledge about Internet marketing and website design do`s and don`ts. I have learned about this subject on my MA studies, have gone to several seminars and read information in Internet, so at least I can ask web designer about this or that and know what he is talking about. One of the biggest mistakes that hoteliers do is tell “I have seen some hotel sites and I like site X, so make my site look like X” or make design project themselves and don`t listen to designer. Second biggest mistake is to hire IT student to do the job, because it doesn`t cost so much….I`m not telling that student can`t do it, maybe he really knows a lot and is talented, but after some months or year he may be gone and hotelier is left without website support.
  2. 2. Make a plan of search engine and directory continued submission and add data engine to your site. Better leave this job to person skilled in working with search engines. I advice to think first what kind and how detailed information you want to know about your site performance and then choose carefully most appropriate data engine. For example, if it`s important for you to know from which countries you got visitors, look for engine that supports gathering of such information.
  3. 3. Pay-per-click can stimulate popularity results for your site. I won`t suggest using this advertising method unless you can manage those clicks to buy your services. I had a talk with some tourism and IT professionals and they said that some hotels in Riga have choosen pay-per-click advertising, but after a month or two closed the campaign, because they got loads of clicks (you have to pay for every single click you know), but only few of them turned out in real reservations. So they paid a lot of money for this advertising but gained almost nothing. It`s more useful to put hotel on hotel directories or booking sites (they use pay-per-click too).
  4. 4. Link to and from your site, but don`t put outgoing links on your home page. I don`t know how exactly it works, but search engines are supposed to like linking. For example, make page with local travel information, add links to tourism objects, city site etc. and you`ll make your site more useful to your clients as well. Besides, you may link to a business that might be useful to your clients and ask that business to link to you on its site.
  5. 5. If your site contains photo gallery (and it should), don`t be lazy and add text definition to your photos. Search engines don`t see photos unless you add text to them. There are lots of people who use Image search in search engines instead of usual search.

I can suggest three other simple things to make your site also more sales-ready:

  1. 1. Make it reader-friendly: normal size fonts, no harsh colours and easy to navigate, don`t write too long, use more photos.
  2. 2. Keep it simple and remember about 3-step rule. Simple means quick loading page, easy to find information. 3-step rule means that visitor must be able to find everything he needs or make booking in three clicks.
  3. 3. Don`t hide away reservation page. It must be visible: either straight away on home page (many hotel chains do so) or one click away (“Reservation” button on home page).

That`s my opinion and things I have learned. Your suggestions and advices are welcomed.

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4 Comments »

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  1. Great tips! I have got to figure out who to go to for webdesign for our guest house. I supposed I should look at websites of Moroccan guest houses and hotels and see which appeal to me. Most are flash to prevent people from stealing photos but that’s so hard to update. Do you have an opinion on this?

  2. I`m not IT specialist, but I think there is other way how to protect photos. My rule is – use as little flash as possible. Sure it looks very nice with flash, but there are still many people out there with slow internet connection. It`s good to look at others to get background information, but don`t make a copy, find your own way and style.

  3. Hey,

    I liked your article on how to promote hotel websites. As a professional internet marketing person its always nice to hear from others what they are trying too do.

    Internet marketing is actually really easy too do but its also really boring because there is a lot of repetition involved in it. I guess there is no easy money on the internet anymore.

    Anyways I also have a blog you can check out if you like.

    http://ukhotelz.wordpress.com

    Our website as you may guess is http://www.ukhotelz.co.uk

    Let me know if you would like to collaborate on anything?

    Thanks

    John

  4. Thanks John. I took a look at both of your UKHotelz sites. Right now I`m quite busy so I`ll think about your offer later. I spent in Great Britain 3 months, but saw hotels just from outside, so I can`t say much about UK Hotels 🙂


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