Hotel Online  Special Report

How Does Your Hotel Web Site Measure-Up? 2005 Will Be
the Internetís Most Productive Year so Far 
By: Neil Salerno, CHME, CHA Ė January 2005

Good results from the Internet donít happen without some hard work and attention. Having a web site, which is pleasing to the eye and describes every possible asset of your hotel, does not guarantee success or a plethora of reservations. 

In the process of working with clients, I am constantly asked ďWe have a great-looking web site, why arenít we getting better results?Ē 

The fact is that Internet users need to find it first. When it comes to web site design try following one of Coveyís magical seven habits; ďBegin with the end in mindĒ. 

The first principle of building a good hotel web site is, no matter how beautiful, no matter how informative the material, no matter how clever the design, your site needs to be designed to sell. 

This means that your site needs to be designed with the end in mind; how people will find it, and does it have all the necessary selling information.

Itís difficult to understand why so many web designers are fond of morphing pictures, streaming video, and 3D virtual tours. First-off these features are not search-friendly and second, they tend to distract visitors away from making a reservation. A web site is not an online brochure; it should be a sales tool to produce reservations.

For some unknown reason, many sites end-up becoming a catch-all for superfluous information like weather (sometimes handy for ski resorts) and other unnecessary information, as designers try to out-design one another. Are you creating a sales tool or online entertainment?

Search-friendly design means that one has included various key words (the more, the better) and have included them within the siteís copy according to search engine rules. But remember, overusing these key words could result in ďspammingĒ, a naughty term used by search engines which could knock you out of the running altogether. Proper key word and meta-tag placement is very important. 

Search engines, and common sense, require your site to have good navigation ability. Pages with faulty hypertext links or pages which are ďdead-endsĒ and sites which donít have a clear navigation scheme are all disliked by search engines. 

Once designed properly, your site must also be submitted often to the search engines. But, be careful, submitting too often is considered spamming also.

Many of us believe that simplicity and adherence to basic common-sense work best. Sales 101 teaches that there are five basic features needed to sell all hotels in any sales medium; location is the first three, facilities, and entertainment. Your site needs to present the very same features; itís amazing how many sites do not.

Directions to your hotel and your address itself are not necessarily the same as your hotelís ďlocationĒ. Where is your hotel located? The actual location of your hotel is the number one sales factor. Itís amazing how many hotel web sites donít list their address and location prominently on the home page. 

Plan carefully when listing facilities within your hotel. Facilities should be listed in order of prominence. Why? Itís common sense. People donít necessarily read them all.

Entertainment simply refers to the many venues surrounding your hotel; things to do and see. This can include popular companies as well as tourist attractions.

How often do you personally review the functionality and content of your web site? Is there any outdated information, such as packages which have expired or specials which are no longer available? Besides looking silly, outdated information creates doubt and loses credibility.

Itís time for a little self-evaluation. General Managers/Sales Directors; how often do you visit your web site? How often do you test your site by making a reservation online? Familiarity with the information on your site will also provide you with new ideas to constantly improve it.

Update your site frequently. It entices users to visit your site more often. A newsletter is a great way to produce a data base and sell your hotel. 

Was your site designed to conform to search engine requirements? Do you periodically search for your site, like potential guests will need to do?  Search for your hotel using a variety of search engines and search terms; not all search engines are alike.

If you donít have your own hotel web site, donít you think itís time?


Neil L. Salerno, CHME, CHA
The Hotel Marketing Coach

Also See: Are You Being Out-Hustled By Your Competition? How to Dominate Your Hotel's Market Set / Neil Salerno / December 2004
Why Are Some Hotel Companies Plagued By Management Turnover? Is This Systematic of Poor Performance? / Neil Salerno / December 2004
Basic Components of a Hotel Website: Current Weather, Flash Animation, and Virtual Tours?? Plain Talk About Internet Sales / Neil Salerno / February 2004
Donít Compromise Your Goals In 2004; Five New Yearís Resolutions You Will Want To Keep / Neil Salerno / January 2004
No More Whining About Third-Party Suppliers; You Control Your Own Fate On The Net / Neil Salerno / December 2003
Six 'Maxiís' Guaranteed To Boost Hotel Sales / Neil Salerno / November 2003
Itís Time To Take Back Control Of Rates & Rooms - But Is The Enemy...Us? / Neil Salerno / November 2003
Booking Engines Are Like A Box of Chocolates...You Never Know What Youíre Gonna Get! / Neil Salerno / October 2003
Hotel Web Site & Search Engine Optimization; Always A Work In Progress / Neil L. Salerno / October 2003
Hotel Budgets and Marketing Plans; Oh No, Is It That Time Again? / Neil L. Salerno / September 2003
Increasing Hotel Internet Sales Is Not Rocket Science...And It Doesnít Have To Be Costly Either / Neil L. Salerno / September 2003
Are You Treating Third Party eWholesalers As Competititon Or a Valuable Marketing Partner? / Neil L. Salerno / August 2003
How Often Have You Heard, 'I could have gotten a better rate but the client saw our rates on the Internet' ? Itís Time To Get Back To Selling Location, Facilities, and Services / Neil L. Salerno / August 2003
Before You Begin that Marketing Plan Challenge Your Sales Team; Expect More and Get More / Neil L. Salerno / July 2003
Jump Up and Shout Yes - Delivering Best Online Customer Experience, Nice Job Vividence! / Neil L. Salerno / July 2003
Is The Internet Delivering On Its Promise? Well, It Depends on How you Look at It / Neil L. Salerno / June 2003
Coaching and Mentoring, Sometimes A New Paradigm Can Go A Long Way / Neil L. Salerno / June 2003
Sales Training Works Well, But Sales Mentoring Makes It More Effective; Mentoring Lasts a Lifetime / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
Is It Time For A Sales Tune-up? How Healthy Was Your Last Forecast? / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
Hotel Web Sites; Want it Creative or Effective? / Neil L. Salerno / May 2003
If You Always Do What You Have Always Done.... Youíll Always Get What You Always Got! Hotelierís Mantra... Thinking Outside The Box / Neil L. Salerno / April 2003
Good Sales Planning - The Basics Still Work / Neil L. Salerno / April 2003

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