As a result of the economic downturn, many hotel website owners have been trying to make it through the last couple of years on as little as possible, just like other businesses have been doing. In most cases, this meant patching up ageing websites and trying to make do, instead of embracing the newest Web 2.0 technologies and putting them to best use. Unfortunately, many hotel websites still read too much like a brochure, with maybe a couple of social media widgets tacked on and are not designed to offer the kind of interaction that today’s guests expect.
Now that the worst of the global crisis appears to be over and there is some optimism in the air, it’s a great time to take stock of the situation and seriously consider the benefits to your business of catching up on the online game.
The fact is that a lot has changed in travel marketing in the last 2 years:
- The Internet has established itself as the primary travel planning and booking channel, and the number of people making online reservations continues to increase.
- The typical hotel guests have become much more active on the Internet, especially in the social media. They tweet, post and blog about their holiday and travel experiences, often in real-time. They upload photos, and let everyone know their opinion on Facebook and other social networks.
- Social media is now a tried and tested and very powerful marketing medium, with companies working hard to engage with online communities and reap the benefits of the internet version of word-of-mouth.
- The mobile web is also rapidly gaining popularity, with an increasing number of people making bookings through their phone’s web browser while on the go.
This means that if your website is more than 2 years old, you are most likely missing out on a lot of opportunities to attract new clients and win more business for your hotel.
People who visit your hotel’s website today will be looking out for a clean and easy-to use design with all the Web 2.0 stuff neatly integrated. They will be keen to see your hotel blog, regularly updated with the latest news. They will be interested to read other guest’s comments and opinions both on your hotel’s site and also on independent travel sites. Prospective guests will also expect to see your different social media initiatives, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn, accessible through your main website.
Moreover, they are likely to form an opinion of you based on your social media interactions, such as how you respond to people’s comments and questions online. Some guests may even (quite superfically to be honest) judge you by how many people like your Facebook page.
Then there are those who are browsing your website on their mobile phone and expect to find an alternative mobile-friendly website layout that loads quickly and is easy to read and navigate.
If you want to attract these people to your hotel, it’s time to take your business into the New Digital Age in 2011. As you do so, we strongly recommend you apply the popular 5 CEO Maxims:
- Accept change - The social media revolution is real, so gear up to take advantage of it.
- Dare the status quo – Be aware of the current online trends. Explore the new and powerful ways to market your hotel.
- Act continuously – Stay on top of the game. Keep up to date with the latest trends and make sure your hotel remains at the forefront.
- Participate personally – Get involved with the online community and interact with your audience regularly, to win people’s hearts, minds, and business.
- Tear down boundaries – Don’t let yourself be boxed in by old-style marketing ideas. Have the courage to go down exciting new paths you wouldn’t have dreamed of a few years back.
So… are you going to step up and cater to the ever-growing number of hyper-interactive travellers?
As you take the bull be the horns and breath new live into your website and your online marketing, we want you to know that Sorted Sites is there to help you every step of the way. We will redesign your website in compliance with modern Web 2.0 best practices, to integrate and make the most of the powerful social media. We will help you get your SEO right and be found easily on the search engines. We have the expertise to guide you as you build a solid and effective online marketing strategy. We will give you all the support and training you need to manage your own social media campaign.
And once you have your new website and online marketing strategy in place, we also offer you (and highly recommend) very affordable maintencence and marketing packages to make sure you keep up with the times.
Ready for greater success in 2011? Contact Sorted Sites today and let’s take your hotel business to the next level!