Web presence crucial for hotel success

In the most recent issue of InnFocus, the B.C. Hotel Association emphasizes that an up-to-date website is increasingly essential to the successful operation of a hotel.

People often search for accommodation before they ever visit a place. Even those who wait until they are in the neighbourhood are far more likely to search online using a mobile device like a smart phone or a tablet computer.

While the overall numbers of booking online are still comparatively small, they are growing steadily. Mobile booking was responsible for 2.6 per cent of all travel booking in the U.S., with a value of $2.6 billion in 2011. It is expected to grow to $8 billion by the end of 2013.

Surveys show if consumers find a badly designed site, almost 60 per cent said they will move on to a competitor. The article quotes online marketing consultant Gayle Palas, who says consumers won’t spend time searching poorly designed sites.

“Analytics indicate you have no more than four to six seconds to entice site visitors to click deeper into your website, so it’s vital that home page messaging is consumer-benefit focused,” she said.

For example, if customers are mainly leisure travellers, content should explain exactly what they can enjoy at your hotel and surrounding location. Palas said for smaller operators who don’t have much money to build a website, there are still many important things they can do.

“The key to people finding your site is to create a network of incoming links that Google and other engines see, and the more they see, the higher your listing,” said Palas.


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