News for the Hospitality Executive
By Max Starkov and Jaan Paljasma
November 13, 2012
Here at HeBS Digital we have been asked on numerous occasions about the viability of WordPress as a hotel website Content Management System (CMS). We have been involved in website development and CMS systems for over 15 years now, and our categorical answer is that the WordPress technology is ill-fitted to power hotel websites’ content management systems and is only adequate as a blogging technology.
According to Wikipedia, WordPress is a free and open-source blogging tool based on PHP and MySQL. WordPress is currently the most popular blogging system in use on the Internet. Our own blog is powered by WordPress, which, in addition to Tumblr, is the blogging technology of choice for many travel-related blogs.
Why is WordPress ill-prepared to handle the website CMS functionality of any e-commerce website, including hotel websites?
In our view, WordPress’ blogging platform has been exclusively designed to host blogs with an active comments system and a myriad of plug-ins available to modify the function of the blog. While plug-ins exist to transform WordPress into a blog-type product that resembles a CMS, there are thousands upon thousands of viruses and spam bots created simply to scan the Internet for vulnerable WordPress-related “entry points” and weak spots. For every security plug-in installed to secure your WordPress-powered website CMS, ten more malicious viruses are created.
Once your site’s security is breached, your website becomes a spam- and virus- spewing entity, which will prompt Google to quickly shut down your WordPress-powered website, resulting in a monumental loss of revenue. This is exactly what happened recently to a client of ours with a website inherited from a previous vendor.
In the recent illuminating article “Careless Webmasters as WordPress Hosting Provides for Spammers” the author describes how easy it is to hack a WordPress-powered website and how cyber criminals create large, spammy sites in subdirectories of hacked legitimate sites and generate millions of doorway pages on thousands of established websites with good reputation and SEO rankings with a singular goal in mind: to divert users to the hackers’ own e-commerce sites, quite often selling counterfeit luxury goods.
Another example is the use of WordPress-powered websites to launch massive distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS). Broadly, a DDoS attack is an attempt to make a network resource unavailable to its intended users in an attempt to disrupt service. Earlier today, we discovered yet another example of how malicious hackers used a WordPress-powered hotel website as a “work horse” for their distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), in this case against Google itself!
The following line of code was injected into a WordPress template:
Any visitor to the WordPress-powered hotel website with the above code triggers a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) against Google:
Another major weakness of a WordPress-powered hotel website is that it is not developed to handle content distribution and digital marketing across the three distinct device channels. These three channels – desktop, mobile and tablet – present a major challenge to hoteliers, who need a platform for creating and managing digital content throughout these three channels as well as publishing the hotel’s latest special offers and promotions directly on the hotel’s social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Google+).
Needless to say, due to the open source nature of WordPress, there is no technical support, automatic updates or any kind of warranty for a WordPress-powered website.
How Does WordPress Compare to a Hospitality Industry-Specific CMS?
So what kind of a CMS is best suited for the hotel website? The HeBS Digital’s proprietary CMS Premium platform was built with hoteliers in mind. Its long list of functionalities and its ease of use demonstrate that HeBS Digital’s technology team understands hoteliers and also understands and anticipates search engine requirements and best practices.
For example, our technical team quickly responded to the Google Panda and Freshness updates by building in content creation functionalities that allow hoteliers to create unlimited new pages & content in the form of specials, upcoming events, and dedicated landing pages. Each of these pages is coded with a “micro-format” that is, essentially, extended meta data that provides additional information to search engines. The CMS Premium also encourages quick and efficient crawling by search engine bots by including a real-time XML site map for each site that is automatically updated with site changes. The CMS Premium boasts rock-solid site security. From single-property hotel and resort websites to 200+ multi-property brand websites, the CMS Premium has proven its reliability as the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) platform of choice for sophisticated hoteliers.
When compared side by side, the differences between WordPress and a CMS, specifically built for the hospitality industry such as HeBS Digital’s CMS Premium, are clear.
WordPress handcuffs the hotel’s ability to develop a consistent, branded online presence; especially in this new multi-channel environment the hospitality industry operates in today.
Developing and building your site with a flexible, industry-specific CMS is crucial to maximizing revenues and ROIs through the direct online channel. A digital marketing component as critical as the website is not the place to cut corners. An investment in a highly functional, easy-to-use CMS platform is one that will return your investment tenfold (and more).
The hotel website has become the main revenue driver for the hotel. Not investing in the right technology for the hotel website results in missed revenue and severe damage to the hotel’s bottom line.
Max Starkov is President & CEO and Jaan Paljasma is Digital Technology Architect at HeBS Digital.
About HeBS Digital:
Founded in 2001, HeBS Digital is the industry’s leading full-service hotel digital marketing, website design and direct online channel strategy firm based in New York City (www.HeBSDigital.com).
HeBS Digital has pioneered many of the “best practices” in hotel digital marketing, social and mobile marketing, and direct online channel distribution. The firm has won over 220 prestigious industry awards for its digital marketing and website design services, including numerous Adrian Awards, Davey Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, and IAC Awards.
Mariana Mechoso Safer
Pulse Poll Analysis: Hoteliers Focus on the Property Website in 2013
/ Asher Fusco / November 2012
Digital Helps Hotel Clients Get Ready for a Record-Breaking 2013 with
Desktop, Mobile and Tablet Website Design Package Promotion /
Hotel SEO Dead? Not by a Long Shot – More Than Half of Your Website’s
Revenue Depends on It / Max Starkov and Sue Wiker / October 2012
Study: Is TripAdvisor’s 'Show Prices' CPC Program a Viable Direct
Online Distribution Channel in Hospitality? / Sue Wiker and Tara Dyer
/ October 2012
Digital Wins 2012 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards For Excellence in
Website Design and Multichannel Marketing / September 2012
Digital to Present at EyeforTravel's Travel Distribution Summit North
America 2012 / July 2012
Digital Wins 'Best of Show' Mobile Website for Loews Hotels in the
MobileWebAwards / May 2012
Digital Releases a Next-Generation Solution to Manage the Hotel's
Digital Content; HeBS Digital Announces its New CMS Premium (Content
Management System) to Manage the Desktop, Mobile and Tablet Website
/ May 2012
Can Hoteliers Take Full Advantage of Pinterest? / Erica Garza / May
Digital to Present at EyeforTravel's Online Marketing Strategies for
Travel 2012 / May 2012
Digital Announces Loews Hotels Website Re-Launch / April 2012
Website Analytics: Is There Such Thing as Free Lunch? A Comparative
Analysis of Adobe SiteCatalyst and Google Analytics / Adam Hammock
and Lindsay Denninger / April 2012
the Hospitality Industry Tango with Tingo? / Max Starkov / April
Digital Wins Big with Two 'Best of Industry' Advertising Competition
Awards / March 2012
Ten Search Engine Marketing Do's and Don'ts in 2012 / Tara
Rattigan and Toby Tornay / March 2012
Social & Mobile: Why 2012 is going to be 'The Year of SoLoMo' Part
II / Margaret Mastrogiacomo & Ritesh Gupta / March 2012
New Google Venice Update - Is Your Hotel Website Optimized for
Hyper-Local SEO? / Sue Wiker & Eric Rattner / March 2012
Plan to Ensure Your Hotel Website is ADA-Compliant / Gabriel Aponte
/ March 2012
TripAdvisor Transform Itself From an Industry Foe to an Industry Friend?
/ Max Starkov / February 2012
Digital Launches Landmark Sixth Annual Benchmark Survey on Hotel
Digital Marketing Strategies / February 2012
Price of HeBS Digital to Receive 'Top 25' Most Extraordinary Minds in
Travel Industry at HSMAI'S Adrian Awards; HeBS Digital Honored a Second
Time in Three Years / January 2012
Hotelier's 2012 Top Ten Digital Marketing Resolutions / Max Starkov
and Mariana Mechoso Safer / January 2012
2011 Top Ten Internet Marketing Resolutions / Max Starkov and
Mariana Mechoso Safer / January 2011
HeBS Perspective: Members-Only, Flash Sales and Group Buying Sites –
Are These New Retail Concepts a Good Idea for Hotel Distribution? /
Sara O’Brien / December 2010
HeBS Perspective: Hotel Mobile Apps vs. Hotel Mobile Websites / Max
Starkov / December 2010
on ROI Driven Hotel Website Design and Multichannel Marketing Results
in Significant Hotel Online Revenues and … Major Awards / November
eBusiness Strategies to Speak at EyeforTravel’s Customer Centric
Strategies for Travel 2011 in Atlanta / November 2010
eBusiness Strategies Continues its Tradition of Excellence in Website
Design with Eight W³ Awards / November 2010
eBusiness Strategies Wins One Gold and Two Silver Magellan Awards for
Web 2.0 and Multichannel Marketing Initiatives / September 2010
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies to Present during Mobile Technology & Travel Keynote Session at EyeforTravel s Travel Distribution Summit / August 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Best in Class Interactive Media Award for the Silver Legacy Resort Casino Website / July 2010|
|HeBS to Address Mobile Marketing at HSMAI Conference; Max Starkov of Hospitality eBusiness Strategies to present on mobile marketing at HSMAI s Revenue Management & Internet Marketing Strategy Conference on June 21, 2010 in Orlando, FL. / May 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) to Present at the European Hospitality Technology Educational Conference (EHTEC) / January 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Unveils its Latest Web 2.0 Application: A Multi-Channel Interactive Scavenger Hunt for the City of Indian Wells / January 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) Wins the Prestigious Best in Class Interactive Media Award / January 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) Dominates Again in HotelMarketing.com s Most Popular Articles of 2009 / January 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Announces the Fourth Annual Benchmark Survey; Survey to Measure Hotel Internet Marketing Strategies, Budget Planning and Best Practices / December 2009|
|HeBS Wins Major Web 2.0 Design & Development Awards / November 2009|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Three W3 Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Web 2.0 and Website Development / October 2009|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) Announces Hotel Indigo New York City-Chelsea Website Launch / July 2009|
|HeBS Awarded “Best in Class” Interactive Media Award for Outrigger Lodging’s Grafton on Sunset Hotel Website / May 2009|
|Max Starkov of HeBS to Present at the CRM & Loyalty Strategies for Travel Conference in Atlanta; Chief Strategist Will Discuss How to Use Your Website as a Retention Tool at EyeforTravel Conference / February 2009|
|Max Starkov of Hospitality eBusiness Strategies to Receive Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing 2008 Honor At HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala Annual Gala Dinner to be Held Jan. 26 in New York City / December 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Five Prominent Interactive Media Awards including Best in Class; Luxe Worldwide Hotels' New Brand Website Honored as Best in Class in Travel and Tourism 2008 / December 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Partners with The Tides Inn Chesapeake Bay Virginia; HeBS to increase direct online bookings and boost Internet marketing presence for The Tides Inn / October 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Announces the 2009 Benchmark Survey; Survey to Measure Hotel Internet Marketing Strategies, Budget Planning and Best Practices / October 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) Announces Luxe Worldwide Hotels New Website Launch / October 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies to Present at MICE Asia 2008 in Kuala Lumpur / July 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Receives Top International Creative Awards - 2008 Summit International Awards / May 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Receives Official Honoree Distinction for the 12th Annual Webby Awards in 2008 / May 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Gold Adrian Awards in 2007 / December 2007|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Three W3 Awards / November 2007|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Gold Adrian Awards in 2007 / December 2007|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Receives Seven New Website Excellence Awards; Highest 2006 Interactive Media Awards and W3 Awards / November 2006|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Five Web Marketing Association Awards; 2006 WebAward for Best Travel Website / October 2006|