Three Key Success Factors for an Independent Hotel's Website

By Pedro Colaco President & CEO, GuestCentric Systems | April 22, 2012

The Hidden Reality: most hotel websites do not generate enough business.

GuestCentric recently conducted a survey of over 300 hoteliers in North America, and the results were quite telling: while 84% of all hoteliers ranked their online strategy as important or very important, and 86% stated that they were happy or very happy with their official website, their main concern was that almost all hotel managers felt that their website did not generate enough business. This should come as no surprise, as only a staggering 14% pursued a structured online strategy!

This article tackles the issue of how independent hotels should create a structured online strategy to ensure e-commerce success for their official websites.

The online opportunity for Independents

Many industry studies show that the overwhelming majority of travelers (up to 80%) make their hotel selections and over 50% end up booking online and that 82% of those would prefer to book directly at the website of the hotel if they can get the best price and a trustworthy experience. If you tie these results with the fact that online bookings are the only growth market in hospitality in 2009/10, then it is clear that Independent hotels that provide their guests with a sub-standard online experience need to quickly upgrade their offerings to capitalize on the online opportunity. A strong e-commerce offering will enable Independent hotels to maintain their occupancy rates and decrease distribution costs through direct online bookings.

What is a successful hotel website?

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.