There was once a time when hotels attracted and retained their customers by word of mouth and by distributing physical marketing material to potential guests. While that might have been the most effective way to let people know about your brand, it’s no longer true. Digitalisation has grown at a rapid speed across all industries, especially travel. In fact, a survey found that in pre-pandemic 2017, already 88% of people preferred to make their hotel bookings online.
The best outcome of this acceleration into the future is that many things that used to take a lot of time and investment are now more accessible, affordable, and offer ease of use, like building your first hotel website. Gone are the days when you would have to spend a heavy amount of money to hire a developer and designer. It’s now as easy as a drag-and-drop tool. And if nothing else, a hotel website will tell the world that you really exist.
Expand Your Reach
When you operate from only one location, your business’ presence tends to be restricted to the area you are in and to the capacity of your marketing efforts. With a website, you would no longer be limited to a customer base that is in physical proximity to your shop. Your hotel may be located in Chicago, but your customers can be from as far as Japan.
You might think, “but social media channels can offer me this same reach.” And while that may have been true a few years ago, this rapid digitalisation we are all experiencing is changing the way the public uses these channels. Facebook reported that people in 2018 spent 50 million fewer hours on their platform than the year before. With most of the mainstream social media channels losing traction, many businesses have been switching over to having their own websites to ensure their online presence doesn’t get trampled on the way out.
Control the Narrative
To avoid setting up their own website, some travel businesses set up a presence on an OTA, like Booking.com, or Agoda. They believe that they can still receive the same benefit of discoverability without needing to create their own presence. The problem is, when you leave your brand storytelling on a third-party platform, you are locked into that specific platform. If they change their guidelines, shut down operations, or decide that they don’t want you on their platform anymore, you’re at their mercy. When you don’t take ownership of your messaging online, you’re risking bad reviews, incorrect information, and no easy way to contact you directly.
When you build your own website, you are in charge of what audiences see of your hotel. And while it may be difficult to control what people online say about you, utilising your own platform can influence how they see your business. A blog is a fantastic way to allow customers and clients to get to know your hotel by crafting your own, branded story on the website. You can share various content that shows off your values, services, and everything you can offer to potential guests. Plus, having a blog with fresh content can increase your search rankings. With a hotel website and a blog to go along with it, instead of relying on someone else to tell people about your hotel, you control the story.
Put Your Guests First
The hotel website is your platform to answer all questions your potential guests may have about your hotel and brand. When people visit your website, they are looking for answers to basic questions like where you’re located, what your rooms look like, the types of amenities you provide, availability for booking, etc. A huge advantage of having a hotel website is that it can improve your resources for customer support, and in doing so, improve your overall customer service.
Having something as simple as an FAQ page with frequent concerns or a chatbot on your website that addresses common questions can be more valuable to you than you might think. Making these answers available on the internet 24/7 saves you time, effort, and cost. Having all of this information on your hotel’s website means that your content is available to users anytime during the day and more importantly, at their convenience. So even if someone visits your hotel website in the middle of the night, you’ll always be interacting with them. Use your website to keep potential and existing guests engaged as well as informed.
Show Your Credibility
Not having your own website is one of the fastest ways to lose credibility as a business in 2022. It makes your hotel and brand look dated, out-of-touch, and untrustworthy. Having a well-designed and up-to-date website can do wonders for your business. According to research from Stanford, 75% of users will judge a company’s credibility based on their site’s design. Even if your hotel has acquired a 5-star rating on review websites like TripAdvisor or Yelp, people expect to be able to find your hotel website to get more information about you.
Display original and high-quality photos of your hotel, the staff, the different room types, and your additional services. There’s a reason they say that a picture speaks a thousand words. Sharing real and updated photos of your rooms, amenities, and services makes for quicker bookings and higher conversions. In addition, having guest reviews and logos of other known associations you’re affiliated with builds trust with a website visitor and can swiftly turn them into a future guest.
Advertise for Free
Think of your hotel website as a digital brochure. You can centralize all of your hotel information and marketing messages and it is much more efficient than printed ads or other marketing materials. It’s also where potential guests can learn about your hotel. And in today’s world, where people search Google to find almost everything, a website acts as your digital front door.
In an instant, you have a chance to introduce people to your products and services to people all over the world with the click of a button. You’ll be able to update your information and offers quickly and efficiently. And if you optimise your hotel website, you'll also show up in searches for people who weren’t even looking for you. The best part about having your own hotel website is that once you invest in it, you have it forever and it continues to work for you at extremely low costs.
Compete with OTAs
Stop relying on sites like Booking.com and other OTAs to promote and sell your rooms and services.
Many hotel owners and tour business operators depend on these third-party platforms and avoid setting up their own hotel website because they think it will be complicated to do or expensive to build. A clean and simple website with clear messaging can absolutely level the playing field for smaller companies trying to compete against industry Goliaths.
Having your own website can help you generate leads from all over the world and turn them into confirmed bookings. It can also help visitors take the next step towards a sale by allowing them to make a reservation or book one of your services, etc. Not only will you be creating a stronger relationship with your potential guests, but you’ll also save the extra costs of third-party commissions.
Having a professional hotel website means that people who are looking for your services can find you and get the information they need, especially in this digital age. With a website, you can quickly go from being a locally-known hotel with occasional bookings to a hotel that is fully booked with international visitors throughout the year. To get started with a new hotel website, click here or contact us via live chat for more information.