Hotel Online  Special Report

Your Hotel Web Site: If It Ain’t Broke…Break It!
Create change. Develop a “break-it” routine. 


By: Neil Salerno – May 2006

A hotel web site should be an ever-changing work in progress; Keep your web site current, updated, and compatible with new search engine and web design technology; “If it ain’t broke…break it”.  Don’t wait until your site eventually breaks itself and becomes dysfunctional; by that time, you’ve lost business.

When was the last time you reviewed your hotel’s web site? I don’t mean “look at it”, I mean when was the last time you reviewed every word on every page; reviewed every graphic and link, every Meta tag and your entire site’s current content relevance. Does it sell?

Back in the good ‘ole days of print advertising, would you have run the same ad over and over again for 6 months, a year, two years? If you did you probably ran into the dreaded world of diminishing return. Trust me; it pays to refresh your site often.

Most of us are creatures of routine. The practice of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is so comfortable, cozy, safe, and gives us that nice warm and fuzzy feeling; like an old friend that visits from time-to-time. Routine tasks take little effort and require little thought with no anxiety over making decisions; so risk free. 

As the saying goes, no risk, no reward. Change is risky and uncomfortable, so why should we seek change; it complicates our lives. Web sites that haven’t been updated and reviewed frequently become stale and progressively less productive as circumstances and market factors change; your web site should be your hotel’s most productive promotional piece. 

When business turns soft and demand is low, the common result is that management drives everyone to find new and exciting promotions, which will turn the tide and paint the hotel back into the black. This is good, but you should look first to those things that can be improved like your web site. But, the fact is, only one or two promotions produce the majority of business; the old 80/20 rule. Your web site should be one of your prime producers. If it isn’t, break it and re-build it. 

You’ve all heard it before “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got!” If you are not getting the results you need from your web site, you need to change it. If, on the other hand, everything is perfect, I guess change can be ignored. The problem is that “perfect” seldom occurs in the hotel business. 

As a consultant, probably the saddest words to hear are “That’s the way we’ve always done it”. Unfortunately, people who say this are usually defending against suggestions to improve some sort of procedure or program. We all know that most people resist change. 

There is very little that is new in the hotel business. Programs and promotions have stayed pretty much the same for the last forty years or so. The biggest changes have taken place in the way we apply them. Web site marketing is still in its infancy and it is changing rapidly. 

Web Site “Break it” Checklist:

  1. Is your landing (home) page clean, with static images and well written text and void of ineffective, but “pretty” flash elements?
  2. Is your text written in priority order, with the most important information in the first couple of paragraphs? Does this text reflect key words and phrases to allow search spiders to more easily find your site?
  3. Is the navigation of your site simple and easy to follow?
  4. Is the text written to sell your hotel to visitors? This is the most important part of the entire site. 
  5. Is the hotel’s location highlighted in the text, not just the hotel’s address?
  6. If you have public space, does your site contain a “request for proposal” for groups?
  7. Do you have a real-time booking engine attached to your site? They are very affordable and are guaranteed to drive more bookings. The ROI is impressive.
  8. Does your site have a good link strategy to help drive traffic to your site?
  9. Are your Meta tags and key words carefully chosen through research and popularity?
  10. Is your site cluttered with unnecessary information like “local weather” and other such information?
  11. Was your site designed by a techie without the direction of a hotel marketing person? It’s not an online brochure, it’s a sales piece. 
  12. Are you tracking “bookings” instead of just unique visitors? If it’s not producing business, what good is it? Would you only judge the effectiveness of your sales team by just tracking the number of people they see?
  13. Do you have a good search engine submission procedure?
  14. Does your photo gallery contain text along with the graphics so, search engines can find them?
This is simply a partial list. If you answered “no” to any of these questions…It’s time to”Break it”. Your web site should be responsible for a third or more of all your room business. Don’t let more business pass you by. 

Neil Salerno, C.H.M.E., C.H.A.
The Hotel Marketing Coach

Also See: Independent Hotel Web Sites - Marketing Winners…and Losers / Neil Salerno / May 2006
Tired of Hotel Sales Training That Excites… But Doesn’t Change Anything? / Neil Salerno / April 2006
Hotel Web Site Productivity…The New Way to Measure Your Site’s Effectiveness / Neil Salerno / April 2006
Hotel Revenue Management. . . The Way I See It / Neil Salerno / April 2006
Hotel Web Site Lookers & Bookers; Want to Convert Lookers on Your Web Site? / Neil Salerno / March 2006
Hotelier Rebuts Article Concerning Third-party Online Aggregators / Neil Salerno / February 2006
Great Opportunity for Independent Hotels - Cash-in on Electronic Sales / Neil Salerno / January 2006
Some Hoteliers Still Don’t Recognize the Benefits Derived from Third-party Listings; Shame, Shame, Shame on You! / Neil Salerno / January 2006
Online Hotel Rating Sites Driving Anxiety into  the Hearts of Many Hotel Managers / Neil Salerno / December 2005
Hotel Web Site Priorities –Some Do’s, Don’ts; Why the Heck Did You Do That? / Neil Salerno / November 2005
The Best Hotel Sales Director I Ever Met; What Do The Good Ones Have in Common? / Neil Salerno / November 2005
The Best Hotel General Manager I Ever Met / Neil Salerno / October 2005
What’s your eMarketing Proficiency? Using Electronic Marketing Tools / Neil Salerno / October 2005
When Times Get Tough…Get Tougher! Sell Harder Before You Cave-in on Rates / Neil Salerno / September 2005
The Web Site Conundrum…Are You Winning the Electronic Marketing Game? / Neil Salerno / August 2005
Lions and Tigers and Bears…Oh My; The Hotel Yellow Brick Road is Less Scary than It Used to Be / Neil Salerno / August 2005
Running Dry on Good Hotel Ideas? It’s not What You Know - It’s Who You Know / Neil Salerno / July 2005
Revenue Grabbing Tips for Independent Hotels; Start Thinking Like the Chains / Neil Salerno / July 2005
Hotel Web Basics That Really Work…Content is King / Neil Salerno / July 2005
Hotel Supplier Sites versus Online Travel Agents; The War Chronicles / Neil Salerno / June 2005
New Hotel Technology Surround Us; Yet Face-to-face Selling is Still Most Productive / Neil Salerno / June 2005
The Internet…The Great Equalizer For Independent Hotels / Neil Salerno / June 2005
Third-Party Booking Sites Still Dominate Internet Sales;  Why Do So Many Consider this Bad? / Neil Salerno / April 2005
Now That Online Hotel Booking Is Here to Stay, New Challenges Emerge / Neil Salerno / April 2005
Independent Boutique Hotels Can Compete With their Big Box Neighbors / Neil Salerno / April 2005
Who Are Your Most Important Guests? We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby! / Neil Salerno / March 2005
New Consumer Hotel Booking Preferences - They Love the Internet…Now What? / Neil Salerno / March 2005
Who Would Have Thought - Today's Hotel Marketing Necessity Is Also its Best Value / March 2005
Time For a Hotel Web Site “Make-Over”? Methods for Building a Successful Web Site Change / Neil Salerno / March 2005
Create Impact by Developing a Link Strategy For Your Hotel Web Site / Neil Salerno / February 2005
Steps to Develop Your Hotel's Presence on the Web / Neil Salerno / February 2005
Five Hotel Internet Marketing Myths - Busted!/ Neil Salerno / January 2005
How Does Your Hotel Web Site Measure-Up? 2005 Will Be the Internet’s Most Productive Year so Far / Neil Salerno / January 2005
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
Don’t Compromise Your Goals In 2004; Five New Year’s 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 'Maxi’s' Guaranteed To Boost Hotel Sales / Neil Salerno / November 2003
It’s 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 You’re 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 Doesn’t 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' ? It’s 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.... You’ll Always Get What You Always Got! Hotelier’s 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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