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Is Your Website Doing Its Job?: The Only Three Things You Need to Know.
By Irene Keliher
Monday, 27th July 2015
 

You’re too busy to take a crash course in website design, but you need to know if your property’s site is worth the investment. Enter BookingSuite. We’ve combed through tons of best practices, guides and case studies to give you a website assessment tool for the hospitality industry. You can forget all the technical jargon. We’ll explain what matters most for your business in terms you can understand.

Before we get started, we should clear something up. We’re not really talking about assessing your property’s website. We’re talking about assessing your brand.

Why?

Your website isn’t just a part of your brand. It is your brand.

Fortunately, a great property-level website isn’t all that complicated. Here are the only three things you need to understand: visits, looks and books.

Visits

Your site needs traffic, but not just any traffic. Attract the right visitors with the right content. This is how you differentiate yourself in a sea of online travel agencies and competitor sites. It starts with high-quality photos that show off your property. It continues with clear, detailed information about rooms, amenities and location.

Think of it like matchmaking. If a visitor finds your site because they typed in “luxury African travel,” and they see right away that you offer exclusive safari packages, they’ll be satisfied that your site matches up with their needs. Plus, your search engine results will improve. Our partner And Beyond came up as the third result on Google, in fact, when we searched for those very African travel terms. Their site has a wealth of custom content about their destinations and offerings. Smaller properties can do just as well with great content. Buttermilk Falls Inn has a site that details their unique features, including an organic restaurant. When we searched for “Hudson Valley inns restaurant,” theirs was the first result.

All you have to know is what you do best. For more content creation ideas, click here to see our complete checklist.

Looks

Once you’ve attracted the right visitors, you want them to book. First, though, they have to know just what they’ll be getting. This is where a gorgeous, ultra-useable design comes in. Fortunately, you don’t really have to worry about creating that design. Pay someone with expertise so that you focus on what you know best: your property.

Make sure guests find essential information. They should be able to learn about all of your room types, packages, and options. Keep that information together in one place so that it’s easy to navigate. Update it to reflect changing rates and amenities. Don’t leave your potential guests in the dark.

Books

A healthy website inspires trust via great content, attractive design, and strong functionality. We’ve talked about the first two. Now let’s take a look at that last one.

You want everything to work efficiently for you and your visitors. You need a site that is flexible across devices, so that it can engage consumers wherever they are. These days, that’s often a smartphone or a tablet, so mobile readiness is a no-brainer. You also want a website that connects easily to a secure booking engine and other tools that help you manage channels and inventory. When these pieces are in place, visitors are more likely to click on that booking button.

Test It Yourself

You don’t have to take our word for it! These free online tools will tell you more about how your site stacks up.

  1. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is as simple as it gets. Just type in your URL to find out whether your site performs well on mobile. According to a 2014 study from TripBarometer, only 45% of hotels actually offer mobile bookings. Don’t fall behind and miss out on this growing segment.
  2. BrowserShots is a simple, powerful tool that checks to see how your website looks across dozens of different browsers. Who knew there were so many? Type in your website’s URL, and then give it a few minutes to do its thing. You’ll find out whether your site looks good to a variety of users.
  3. HubSpot’s Marketing Grader checks your website for its online marketing strength. Brought to you by a leader in digital marketing, it checks for social media presence, SEO and more. Simply type in your URL to find out your score.
  4. ClicksHeat is a free tool that helps you understand how people use your website. By creating a visual “heat map,” it shows you where your website visitors are most likely to click.

Building Your Brand

Your website is how guests see you. It is your brand.

That’s why you need it to work well. You shouldn’t have to worry about the way your website is designed or exactly how it functions, though. The right platform will do it all for you.

Just put your energy into the content. We can’t say it enough. If you offer the right content for your audience, you will drive more bookings on your website. It takes time for search engines to recognize you, and to increase overall brand awareness, but trust us. If you build it, they will come.

Ready for more? Check out our exclusive checklist, customized just for the hospitality industry, for a step-by-step evaluation of your site.

About Irene Keliher

Irene Keliher helps create compelling new content for the blog, eBooks, website and more. When she's not using her wordsmith skills at BookingSuite, she teaches and writes fiction and nonfiction.

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