A hotel’s website is essentially a shop window to the online world. A website needs to be user friendly, provide quality content and tick all the digital boxes to ensure you get bookings, conversions and happy customers.
Your website is an investment and buying a new website can be a scary prospect, but with these helpful tips from hotel and hospitality experts Wired Media, your new website build should be a smooth process.
Here are Wired Media’s 10 essential tips when purchasing a new website:
- Confirm up front with your agency exactly what you are paying for and when you will receive it. Get this confirmation in a written format, be that email or a letter.
- Agencies use a lot of technical jargon, from CMS to HTML, it’s not always easy to understand what they are saying. Ask them to clarify what they mean if it is unclear and if possible speak in layman’s terms (we have included a glossary of regularly used words below to help)
- Your input is crucial during the process of building your website. Confirm what your agency require, from you, and ensure you will be able to deliver this within the timescales required.
- Tracking and measuring your new websites effectiveness is an exciting and vital part of a new website build. Ensure Google Analytics tracking codes are applied so all activity can be documented and reported on. If you do not already have this then ask them to create a Google Analytics account for you.
- Ensure the company or person you have selected to build your new website properly understands SEO and the best digital practises required when building a new website. Asking to see examples of their work and previous reports can help assure this.
- Make sure your new site is fully integrated with a booking engine; whether this is the one you currently use, one that your PMS company has developed or one the web agency have created. Ensure your chosen booking engine links up with the various systems you use to run your hotel, such as telephones.
- Ask for all URLs from your old website to be redirected to your new site (and to relevant pages where possible). This makes sure you don’t lose any website traffic in the cross over. It also reduces any potential impact on your search engine rankings.
- Think about the design carefully; what image do you want to portray, is there a good balance of written content to images, is it easy to book and find important information such as menus and spa treatment price lists. Consumer behaviour is rapidly changing and customers expect a quality experience with a luxury website.
- These days mobile design is a must. There is little or no point creating a new website which is not easily accessible by mobile and tablet users. In 2013, tablets contributed to 22% of all visits to our client’s website and mobiles 17%. This is on the rise so a mobile optimised site is crucial to gain those all-important bookings!
To help you better understand some of the technical jargon, here is a short summary of essential digital words:
Responsive – a new development technique which allows your website to automatically resize depending on the users screen size. This reduces the need for the customer to increase or decrease the size of your website to fit their screen or to require any unnecessary scrolling.
SEO – SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine listings
Wireframes – in simple terms is a drawing of the layout of your new web pages. Sometimes it could be a simple sketch or as advanced as an actual clickable version of your website with no images or copy
Sitemap – this is just a list of the different pages which will be included on your new website but within the exact structure so what pages will appear in which sections
Mobile optimised – A mobile optimised is where a designer/developer has considered mobile users when creating the site. This is different to responsive as the site will not resize to fit but the design will take into account mobile users.
Mobile site – is a completely separate website which only customers who visit using a mobile phone will see
Content – content can be copy, images and video but essentially it is what is placed on your website
For more information on creating brand spanking new websites, digital word definitions and top tips please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 930 4365 or alternatively check out www.wiredmedia.co.uk/hotels
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