Setting Priorities for Hotel Website Improvements

By Tema Frank CEO, Frank Reactions | January 27, 2012

Site Goals Are Key

How you set priorities depends on what your goals are for the site. If your main goal is to get more conference and event bookings you'll focus on different aspects of the site than if you are primarily after foreign tourists, which will again differ from a target market of repeat business travelers.

Website Statistics

One of the most useful ways to get clues about what changes are needed is to look at your website statistics. These are also called "metrics" or "analytics" , and you probably have access to some of this data already through your internet hosting company (or "ISP", in the industry jargon).

At a minimum, your hosting company should be able to tell you where people found your site, how many visitors you are getting, and how many visited each specific page. If there's a page you think is crucial but almost no one is seeing, that's a good indication that either your site structure needs changing, or what you are saying is simply not compelling enough for people to want to read it and continue on your site. Change is needed.

The cost of site analytics packages ranges from free to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how sophisticated you want to get. At the more expensive end, you can find out what exact paths people are taking through your site, and details such as where their mouse traveled and/or where most users' eyes rested on each page. This will give you further clues about where trouble spots are.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.