Why are hotel websites so bad?

It’s because they are agencies that overcharge to justify their massive overhead and existence. I am a HORRIBLE blogger because I am a hotel guy, but in 2011, I sort of wrangled up what I thought were the best websites, at the time. Turns out they were cutting edge because it’s all about simplicity and ease of use to book, and it’s really just about big awesome photos at this point.  Hotel Website & Travel site best practices? What is cutting edge hotel website design in mid-2011?

It is NOT rocket science.  But you would be amazed – agencies take a cut of SEM spend, so they bloat that.  They make you have unbelievable amounts of pages, so they can charge more.  They make silly maps, social things, so they can charge for it.  It’s unbelievable how fleeced our industry is, right now.  The agency model spends hotel owner’s money in the best interests of the agency’s bottom line.  That simply isn’t how hospitality operates, and it’s a business about professionalism, and honesty. At least in our corner.  So we are *all* about relationships, and trusting professional vendors to ask the questions we don’t know to ask…. and protecting an owner’s or professional peers’ money as if it was your own.  Hospitality has a “we’re all in this together” model that has made our industry unparalleled, but also when we work with people in other industries, we get eaten alive by our ignorance and their inability to follow those rules we cherish: honesty, transparency, and doing what is in our best interests and for *our* bottom line, not theirs.

That doesn’t even talk about the bureaucratic, robotic, template, uninspired way that people design and produce sites.  Because they are worried about their bottom line, the agencies go for the Amazon model of websites, instead of Google or Apple. Less is more, possibly?  Nope… lost in pages, scrolling for hours, so much text! Utter dysfunction.

We are a boutique independent hotel company that is DESPERATE for a larger market of competition in hotel website design, because we are currently getting sub par stuff, often outsourced to other countries, and rigidity that doesn’t lend itself to understanding the nuances and particular challenges that each hotel faces.

Some of our properties do zero distribution through OTA’s, and we have 90% occupancy at a few properties… our problems for internet marketing our so flipped from the normal ones, and these agencies just can’t break out of their mold to figure out how to help us.

Here’s how you become successful – no sliding scale on pricing. Make everything transparent. Make simple, elegant sites, understanding it isn’t marketing, so much as it is a revenue channel.  EVERY single thing about a website is getting people to book, and head in through, going from a visitor to a guest.  And you might want to forgot agency models of pricing hourly, etc.  It takes half your time just to run your business, and then you can’t produce sites.  Figure out how much it costs in your time to build a site, and find a price.  Use industry best practices based off penguin, panda, and hummingbird – don’t trick people to stay on the site, don’t make too many pages…… get people the information they want, easily, quickly, and get them on their way.  Other than that, it’s for booking, and it just needs to be clean and simple.  The only person doing this right now, and totally nailing it, is Buuteeq, and tiny small shops. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations, like GeriNet Consulting out of BC

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