In today’s digital age, as a traveler, I rely heavily on the internet to research and book my travel accommodations. A hotel’s online presence, specifically its website, is crucial for attracting and engaging potential guests like me.
As a traveler, I appreciate finding a website that is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provides comprehensive information about the hotel. An optimized website that is discoverable through search engines and offers exclusive promotions and packages can help to incentivize me to book directly on the hotel website, reducing the likelihood of booking fees and commissions.
Having a proper hotel website is an important part of the guest’s journey even for those guests that tend to book via OTA websites. How so? Well, those guests will usually narrow the search to a couple of properties in a desired destination. Then, they read reviews and also check Google and TripAdvisor reviews. They will look at the hotel’s website and social media accounts if that isn’t enough for them. They do this to determine whether the resort is a safe choice for families traveling there and to see if they would be able to get a better rate by making a direct booking, especially for longer stays.
So, having an up-to-date website can help your hotel get more OTA bookings, but also transfer a few percent from OTA to your direct booking channel.
Building an effective hotel website requires careful planning and attention to detail. This checklist will guide hoteliers through the key elements required to build a successful hotel website.
Steps to cover before creating a new hotel website
- Work on your hotel’s brand identity. Create a logo, and choose your fonts and colors. You should stick to these choices not only on your website but also in all other marketing activities (social media, advertising, email, print ads, etc) and the hotel’s official documents.
- Get your hosting and a domain name. If you are not sure how to choose a hosting package and a domain name for your hotel property, you can write to us and we would be happy to provide a few tips and suggestions.
- Set up all the email addresses with your domain name. You will need those for the website Contact page, but also for your regular work. The worst thing you can do is to use your Gmail or Hotmail account as an official email address.
- Prepare your website structure. This is the most crucial step in this phase for your future SEO success. Think carefully about how many and exactly what pages will you have on your hotel website. This depends a lot on your property, but try to think if you should have a page called Rooms and then list them all on that page, or do you want separate pages for each room type? Name all those pages and think about what do you want to place on your main menu. Don’t forget the footer section!
- Plan a design layout. Now that you know all the pages that you will have on your new hotel website, you can start sketching the layout for each of those pages. It means deciding what would be the order of information on each page, choosing a photo/video position, deciding where a text and call to action should be positioned, etc. So, you are not doing a design here, you are just preparing things for a design phase and making your and your designer’s life a lot easier! Here’s what these sketches can look like:
- Choose your hotel website design agency. Who will create your website? Can you do it on your own? Is it going to be a freelancer or maybe a professional web design agency? Whatever you choose, make sure that people have previous experience in creating and managing travel industry websites and specifically hotel websites.
Ok, now let’s start with the hotel website development checklist:
- Choose a user-friendly website platform and design a responsive website that is optimized for all devices.
- Ensure that the website has fast load times and is easy to navigate.
- Develop a clear and concise website layout that is visually appealing, and showcases high-quality images and videos of the hotel.
- Provide comprehensive information about the hotel, including room descriptions, amenities, location, and pricing.
- Implement a secure online booking system that allows guests to easily make reservations and payments.
- Integrate customer reviews and ratings into the website, and provide a platform for guests to leave feedback.
- Incorporate relevant calls to action throughout the website to encourage guests to book, such as special offers and promotions.
- Ensure that the website is optimized for search engines and includes relevant keywords and meta tags.
- Develop and publish valuable and informative content, such as a blog, that showcases the hotel and its offerings.
- Utilize analytics tools to track website performance and make data-driven decisions to improve user experience and increase conversions.
Steps to take after the website is online