Website development features on top ‘to do’ list for most hoteliers in 2017, independent hoteliers should not be content with just having a website for their hotel, they should have an efficient website that promotes their brands and help earn more revenue.
Nowadays users access websites from several devices, desktop, laptops, tablets and Smartphone’s. Even though the Smartphone is the most used device, independent hotels require websites that offer the same online experience across all devices.
In 2016, Google had announced that they prefer websites to have responsive web designs, designs which can be adapted to the device that a person is using. So instead of having multiple websites depending on the device, a responsive web design adjusts its appearance as per the device that is being used.
For an independent hotel also, it is smarter for them to have a responsive web design rather than a separate desktop version and a mobile version. Multiple websites require higher maintenance and hosting costs, and it is also more time consuming since the managers need to keep updating information across multiple sites.
Once the design aspect has been discussed and worked out, hotels need to ensure that the websites work for them. Hotels should aim to improve direct bookings. Bookings made directly with the hotel eliminates commission and other related costs which are made through travel agents and OTA’s. Although, it is important for hotels to be listed on OTA’s but they should focus equally, if not more on driving direct bookings. For a guest to discover the property when searching online, location, SEO, keywords, etc., should be taken care of so that the page can be found easily. Pictures and videos should be used generously so that the guests can visualise the property.
Secondly the website should be easy to navigate across all devices; guests should be able to book without any technical glitches. The website should be attractive, and come with concise details.
A good website needs to keep in mind the user experience (UX) also. The guest should be satisfied with the accessibility and usability of the website, websites should have the ability to draw the guests back to the website. This can only be done with the right content management system and smooth user experience.
Do keep in mind that nowadays the preferred device of choice is the Smartphone so the design and content distribution should be well thought out. Hotels should also regularly update events in and around the hotel; provide links to their social media sites as well as their blog if there is one. This shall incentivize the guests to keep rechecking the site and help improve their ranking on the search engines.
Websites for most guests are the first face of the hotel; you need to get it right if you are serious about increasing your revenue stream through direct booking channels.