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Ten things you should be doing on your website but probably aren't

No matter what type of business you’re in, a well designed, fully optimised website is a must and for hoteliers it has never been more important. It is effectively a “shop window” to the public through which the hoteliers can attract more business. If you’re not using it to its full potential, you are effectively closing the door to sales. evolution (http://www.evolutiondistribution.com), the hospitality e-commerce and e-distribution provider, has compiled the top ten things hoteliers should be doing on their hotel websites but probably aren’t.

1. Add social media share buttons

Adding social share buttons such as facebook like and buttons and twitter share buttons to your website is a quick and effective way of boosting traffic to your site. Focus on offers, interesting articles and promotions and make sure the buttons look neat and tidy. Be careful not to clutter up pages with too many buttons. By a few people clicking these buttons, your message can potentially reach thousands of people.

2. Monitor your site loading time

Optimising your website loading time is essential for keeping your visitors on your site and not your competitors’. Ensure your page loading time is no longer than four seconds. Internet users are impatient and if your site is slow they will go elsewhere. Don’t have unnecessary background music, flash, embedded elements or large unoptimized images. All will increase your load time which will turn potential customers away.

3. Booking engine

Every hotel website should have a booking engine. If you don’t have one you will lose guests to your competitors. Install a booking engine that seamlessly integrates into the look and feel of your site. Make sure that it is user friendly and is able to sell ancillaries to the customer such as dinners, spa treatments or arrival gifts then sit back and watch your bookings grow!

4. Remove broken links

A website with broken links looks unprofessional. When most people come across a broken link, they will leave the website. Broken links also have negative effects on search engine rankings so check your website regularly to ensure there are none. It’s inevitable some busy hoteliers will miss one or two so get creative with your error messages. Avoid “coming soon” pages where possible; if this is unavoidable, at least includea date when the information will be available and redirect the user to another useful page.

5. Have a clear brand image

Let potential guests know who you are and don’t overcomplicate things. If you’re not clear about who you are, your guests will be the same and will swiftly leave your site. Include a prominent hotel logo in the top left of the site at all times and always link it to the homepage. Include a descriptive tagline that clearly states what your hotel is about and don’t use marketing jargon.

6. Improve your landing pages

Improving your landing pages is one of the easiest ways to improve your conversion rate. Once you’ve got the potential customer to your site, your landing page needs to convince them to stay on your site and ultimately to make a booking. Think about the user and what sort of information they expect to find out from the page. Remove anything that’s not needed and keep it simple and focused.

7. Analyse site statistics

Without analysing your site statistics, it’s impossible to improve your website. Familiarise yourself with the terms used to describe website traffic including - visits, hits, page impressions, unique views, etc. You’ll be able to find out which pages are the most successful, what times of the day are busiest for you, which search engines people use to reach you and lots more. Track and analyse these statistics and you’ll know how successful your website is and what you need to do to improve.

8. Keep it above the fold!

Web users spend 80% of their time above the fold – the upper half of the webpage before a user has to scroll down. Whilst some web users do scroll down below the fold, the space above it grabs the most of their attention, so make the most of it! Include prominent calls-to-action in this space as well as an appealing photo.

9. Be consistent

Make sure your website is consistent, clean and uniform in every way - it’s reflecting your hotel after all. The tone of voice in the copy, the colours, font style and size, the style and the type of images should all be consistent. Avoid bold, highlighted and underlined text as well as excessive use of capitals and exclamation marks. Be consistent with your site navigation, users don’t like learning how to use an unfamiliar site and do the same with the layout of the pages.

10. Use Google maps

Use Google maps to identify the location of your hotel. Show places of interest, good restaurants, bars and tourist attractions on the map to show the proximity to the hotel and highlight its convenient location. The rise in popularity of geo-tagging applications such as foursquare and facebook places also means that you can offer incentives for “check-ins” to your hotel.

evolution is a unique hospitality e-commerce service provider and assistance with hotel marketing and website design, optimisation & traffic generation are just some of their services. For more information visit http://www.evolutiondistribution.com/, call +44 (0) 20 7380 8589 or email more@evodist.com. For more tips, become a fan of evolution on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/reservationssystems

-ends-

For press enquiries please contact:

Brooke Jester - Marketing and PR Manager, Great Hotels of the World

Note to editors:

Great Hotels of the World (http://www.ghotw.com) provides global hotel reservation, sales and marketing services for an exclusive portfolio of primarily independent hotels and resorts worldwide. Great Hotels of the World provides a range of products, services and innovative technology solutions for over 250 hotels worldwide through trade shows, e-marketing, business travel sales, meeting and incentive sales, public relations, Meeting Forums and a private label GDS chain code (GW).

By acknowledging that each hotel’s core business is different, Great Hotels of the World help’s hotels and consumers to “find their niche” by categorising member hotels into niche travel markets. Great Hotels’ dedicated programmes are aimed at the leisure, meetings and incentive and corporate markets, whilst the individual leisure collections reach precise areas of the market in which the hotel specialises in including gourmet, spa, golf, honeymoon and many more.

Membership of Great Hotels of the World is split into three tiers: the Luxury Collection, the Premium Collection and the Classic Collection and is by invitation only. Hotels must meet strict criteria before being accepted into the brand.

Further information on Great Hotels of theWorld can be found at (http://www.ghotw.com).

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