News for the Hospitality Executive
Does Your Website Have Its Own CMS?
Why CMS Is a Poor Choice for Hotels
By: Neil Salerno – October 2010
Every now and then, I come across an article which is so self-serving and outrageous that I just can’t resist giving an alternative viewpoint. It was titled “Does your website have its own CMS?” They were promoting the use of content management for hotel websites and encouraging hoteliers to make their own site changes and additions. It’s great to post articles for hoteliers, but to publish a covert ad in the guise of a news article, I find disingenuous. Well, here is what they didn’t tell you.
First, just about any website designer can provide a Content Management System (CMS) for your hotel website, but there are some very good reasons why smart hoteliers don’t use them. If you are only relying on your webmaster to make the changes to your site that you request, you are sadly missing the boat. A good webmaster should be working with you to make improvements to your site.
Assuming you have selected a website designer with hotel marketing experience, I encourage you to collaborate with them to continually tweak and improve your site based upon the results you are getting from it. There are many knowledgeable site designers looking to become your Internet marketing partner.
What a Website Should Do
A well-designed hotel site is one which will attract visitors through organic search and has carefully developed content to convert visitors into reservations. These two functions are highly dependent upon knowledgeable composition and writing skills. You have heard the phrase “content is king”; developing content for your hotel site and maintaining effective content requires knowledge of search engine requirements as well as how and why travelers choose hotels on the Internet.
Sure, you may save a few dollars by making these adjustments and changes yourself, but making changes yourself can also destroy the effectiveness of your site. When changes are made to your site, they often require research for additional keywords to be added to that text to optimize search find ability and create internal link development. “Pay me now or pay me later”; save money today, but reduce site effectiveness and you’ll pay later in loss of site production.
The article added “So get rid of your webmaster”. To me, this just demonstrates a lack of knowledge of how hotel websites work. Making content changes to your website requires more than knowledge of HTML technology. Their suggestion indicates they believe in the old-style design-it, publish-it, and say-goodbye theory of site design; an out-dated concept. Today’s web designers should take responsibility for the site’s reservation production after it is published.
Their suggestion sparked other ideas; since most of us are not plumbers or electricians, we can create ezPlumer and ezLectric. These new and FREE products will allow you to get rid of your plumber and electrician so you can make changes to these systems yourself. Once a hotel is built, I’m sure it doesn’t matter how changes and additions to plumbing and electric are made; it even sounds silly, but hey, it’s an idea.
From the ridiculous to the honest and realistic, let’s consider the effects of time restrictions. There are many hoteliers that have difficulty finding the time necessary to even discuss changes and additions with their webmaster; none-the-less to actually make those changes to their own site. What about keeping up with new Internet technology and changing search engine requirements.
It’s a very attractive proposition to be able to make your own site changes using CMS, but in reality, it is neither practical nor beneficial for most hotels.