Hotel Online  Special Report

Getting Frustrated With Your Hotel Web Site? 
Spent Too Much with Poor Results?


By: Neil Salerno – September 2006

Hotel sales and marketing has changed a lot in recent years. A decade ago, we dreamed that the Internet would become a new, exciting, and cost-effective, way to produce needed room business. For some hotels, that dream became a reality; many hotels report 50% or more of their total room business is now coming through their web sites. But, for many other hoteliers, the dream is fading.  

Every week, I hear from hotel owners and managers who express their frustration with the lack of sales results from their web sites. Almost universally, their disappointment stems from the fact that their sites were set-up for failure by improper design by web masters who simply don’t understand search engines or how to sell rooms on the internet. 

An all-too-common experience 

I spoke to a hotel owner the other day who expressed a fairly typical account of her experience with the Web. She spent $5000 to have a site designed for her hotel and an additional $7000 in search engine optimization efforts; all with just mediocre results. The designer never spent a day in the hotel industry and the site reflected it. They designed a beautiful brochure; but a pretty bad selling piece. 

This experience is too common in our industry. All too often, we have the blind leading the blind; hoteliers who judge their sites by how good they look instead of how well they work and site designers who know nothing about hotel marketing or how search engines work. Some of them are even designing entire sites in flash; a certain recipe for disaster. 

There are some excellent designers out there; people who know how to apply all the necessary elements to produce a marketable hotel web site. Using some due diligence to find the right designer is well worth the investment of time and effort. Do they know as much about hotel marketing as they know about building a web site?

But there are still many wrong designers who charge exorbitant fees and have no clue how to build an effective hotel web site. 

Here’s how to determine if you’ve found the wrong designer:

  1. When a designer tells you that all you need is SEO, as the first solution to your non-productive site, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  2. When a designer wants to produce your site in flash because it looks cool, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  3. When a designer uses more graphics than text content, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  4. When a designer suggests using cute terminology for site navigation links, like “lobby” for home page, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  5. When a designer has placed lots of outgoing links prominently on your home page, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  6. When a designer thinks that the number of “unique visitors” or “hits” on your site is the true measure of success, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  7. When a designer charges $100 per hour, but passes the design job on to a $15 per hour associate, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  8. When a designer uses the same title and description tags on all your site’s pages, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  9. When a designer wants to use words like “cost” and “price” in your site’s text, instead of “rates”, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.  
  10. When a designer spends more time and effort on cool graphics instead of writing effective sales text, you’ve probably found the wrong designer. 
  11. When a designer forgets to put your hotel’s address or location on your site, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  12. When a designer tells you that you don’t need a “real-time” online booking engine, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  13. When a designer is wearing a beanie with a propeller on top, you’ve probably found the wrong designer.
  14. When a designer thinks “link strategy” refers to sausage, you’ve probably found the wrong designer. 
The actual content of your site is extremely important from a search and a sales information delivery standpoint; it’s a two-step process. It’s wonderful that good sales content will result in more visitors and more reservations from those who visit. 

Would you, no could you, be content with only converting 3 or 4 reservations from every one hundred visitors to your site? That’s about average for most hotel web sites with a booking engine. The mission is to increase the number of visitors and to increase the percentage of visitors who make a reservation directly on your site; now you’re cooking. 

The Internet is not simply hype; your hotel site can produce a substantial contribution to your overall room revenue. For those of you who have read some of my other articles, you can now find all of them on my web site; give me your feed-back, I’d love to hear from you.


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

Also See: Production Benchmarks for Your Hotel’s Web Site / Neil Salerno / August 2006
Adapt Your Hotel Web Site To Lock-in More Corporate Transient Business / Neil Salerno / July 2006
Effective Hotel People Thrive on Change; Remember the IBM Selectric Typewriter? / Neil Salerno / July 2006
Good Ideas are a Dime a Dozen…But, Success or Failure is in the Execution / Neil Salerno / June 2006
More Hotel Web Site Hints, Tips, and Tricks - Unwrapped / Neil Salerno / June 2006
Nine Tips to Create a Dominant Hotel Web Site / Neil Salerno / May 2006
Your Hotel Web Site: If It Ain’t Broke…Break It! / Neil Salerno / May 2006
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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