Design your website to tell your story & if guests feel like they are part of that story, they will help build your brand into a big name.
Welcome to another edition of hospitality property school.
I’m your host Gerry MacPherson and today we are going to talk about creating an effective website.
In this age of the Internet and social media, having a website is essential to developing your properties brand. It’s fine to present your business in the flesh and traditional media, but if you don’t at least have a website, you’ll be seen as old-fashioned and unapproachable.
The look of your website will influence guests on the type of property you are. If your website looks dull and boring, potential guests will think your property is dull and boring; if your website is vibrant and fun, guests will think your property is vibrant and fun.
Your website should tell your story, tell your story proudly and if guests feel like they are part of that story, they will help build your brand into a big name.
So, in this tutorial, whether you’re starting from scratch, rebranding your property or just doing a little tweaking, I will go through in a step-by-step fashion what and why items are needed for your website.
Let’s start with your domain name.
Your domain name should be your website name. Now, this might seem obvious to some of you, but you would be surprised at how many hospitality properties I have seen that has a domain name that is not the same or does not reflect the name of their property.
When marketing your property, the first thing you want is people to think of your properties name and almost 100% of the time when searching your property online people will use that name.
What are better long or short domain names?
If you put 100 website developers in a room, half will say long, the other half will say short. One thing everyone does agree on is that domain names should never be longer than 67 characters and I would include spaces in that length.
Choosing your web host
When choosing a web host you have many options. Companies such as hostgator.com or godaddy.com are popular and full service but it is worth the time to ask and shop around for the host that will best serve your needs.
There is free web host out there but most have advertising that could take away from your site’s design or contain hidden text on its pages without your knowledge. This could lead to your website being penalised by the search engines through no fault of your own. I would stay clear of free sites.
Once you have settled your domain name and web host, the next step is to design the website itself.
Your options include:
If your hands on or have an employee that is comfortable with program coding you can use a responsive web design program to build a site such as Adobe’s Dreamweaver or a free version called Kompzer.
Use WordPress. It is an open source website publishing platform with a wide variety of both free and fee themes that will meet almost everyone’s design wish.
Another option is to hire a professional website designer. Before you lay out your hard-earned cash make sure your designer is clear about exactly what you want on your site.
The first thing you should do is put your thoughts on paper. Look at what other successful site look like and sketch out the way you would like your website to look.
Use the KISS formula- Keep It Simply Simple.
The simpler the structure of the site, the easier it is for users to navigate and you want your visitors to be able to navigate your site simply.
While you are sketching ask yourself these questions.
- Is your information there, is it clear
- Is your information easy to find
- If you are going to have navigation buttons make sure they are consistent
Your page should look good but should not be so full that it is slow to load, here are a few tips that you may want to consider:
- Don’t overindulge in the text.
- Make sure your text is readable. A white or light background with black or dark text works best.
- Your website has to be mobile-friendly.
- Choose clear and easy to read fonts.
- Your colour theme has to be consistent otherwise your site can be overwhelming to your visitor’s eyes.
- I believe could clear images are imperative. Visitors want to see what they’re getting so include a gallery with photographs of your rooms, your common areas, and the on-site surroundings.
- I like videos. The short welcoming video on your home page is always great for grabbing a visitor’s attention
- A great banner can have an impact on whether a visitor stays on your page.
Have a blog
I once chatted with an owner and suggest that he should consider his own blog. He told me he had nothing to write about and then spent the next 2 hours telling the stories of his property and the area.
We all have stories to share.
Your site may look beautiful, but it’s your content that carries the day. Few people will return to your site just to admire your images, but they will be back to read what you have to say. Blogging on a regular basis can produce huge benefits – benefits from more visitors to your website and your property.
OK, that’s it for today.
If you have any interesting stories about creating an effective website and would like to share or have any questions or feedback about the Hospitality Property School, you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes at.
That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.
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So, as always, let’s work together to put heads in your beds.
Until next time, have a fun day.
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