A Hotel Website Worthy of Its Acclaim
The Rise of the Customer-centric Experience
By Lewis Fein CEO, Lewis Fein Communications | November 15, 2015
Imagine a luxury hotel with a second-rate website, hosted by an unresponsive and (mostly) unaccountable group of overworked and underpaid technicians in the deepest recesses of India, Pakistan or the Philippines.
Picture that physical property with its manicured lawns and teams of topiary experts, trimming and shaping a garden into a verdant dream world of elephants, lions, tigers and giraffes, and compare that scenery with a hotel's mediocre website: A vulnerable assemblage of weeds and digital rot, where hackers and cyber criminals may riot and revel in their thievery, while the overall appearance of that site – as well that obsolete backbone of servers and auxiliary support – undermines any pretense of excellence, loyalty to guests and fidelity to the founding principles of your hotel or resort.
There should not be, and there must not be, a disconnect between the service a hotel provides and the online experience that same organization delivers (or too often fails to achieve). There is no room for error, and there cannot be any intrusion of generic templates and mundane photos at the expense of customized service and colorful design.
Consider these words a call to action, not a rant or a complaint, because I believe it is a hotel executive's responsibility to be as vigilant about the integrity of his property's online identity as he is of its physical image and tangible operation.
A hotel executive must, therefore, be conversant with the nuances of web hosting, domain names, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), and virtual and dedicated servers. This assignment is too significant for a hotelier to ignore or pass on to a subordinate; its implications are too serious, and its consequences are too grave, for an executive to dismiss the necessity of this project by having some anonymous IT worker manage this process, unbeknownst to the men and women within the upper echelons of a property.
For, unless a site projects respect for the business or leisure traveler, and without a verbal commitment to superior service and visual confirmation of the same, a hotel's online presence will diminish, its bookings will decline and its reputation will descend into negative publicity.