To win in 2009, you will need your hotel’s website to contribute to your reservations production. So, here is a countdown of the Top Ten Tip-Offs that your hotel website needs attention. It's time to seek advice from a hotel Internet specialist, when:
10. You do a generic search and can’t even find your own website. 9. People see your website and can’t tell if your hotel is in Albany, NY or Albania. 8. That template you used to make your site, looked good until you published it. 7. Your home page takes longer to load than "Gone With The Wind". 6. People click a link on your site and nothing happens. 5. People see your website and assume it was designed by Picasso. 4. People need a GPS device to navigate your super cool website. 3. You think Meta Tag is a cool game kids play in elementary school. 2. Your site is so out-of-date, the photos still feature shag carpeting. And Number 1. You’re the owner and, even you don’t refer people to your website.
You probably never heard this countdown on Letterman, but if he developed websites, he might have used it. These were obviously meant to be funny, but if any of these situations strike a chord, it’s not a funny matter. Many of these problems actually exist.
Some things in life are self-explanatory and other things take some time to understand and implement. Given enough time and specific interest, any general manager or hotel owner can learn to develop and implement a workable Internet marketing program. Of course, finding the time and developing the interest most often prevents this from happening. During hard economic times like this, time is not our friend. Loss of time could mean loss of opportunity.
It’s a common scenario to hear "we can do that ourselves" and the usual response is "of course, you can", but, in reality, it rarely happens. The problem is that the road to success is littered with good intentions; that road can be bumpy and twisting, but you need to get to the success end of the road, as quickly as possible.
It All Has a Familiar Ring to It Whenever I think about this subject, I’m reminded of one of my favorite stories about the man who has a squeak on his home staircase. Every day he comes home, his wife takes the opportunity to remind him that he said he would fix it. Running out of time, he hires a carpenter just to get it done and finally bring some quiet to his household.
The carpenter arrives, walks up then down the stairs, takes out his hammer, and quickly hammers in a nail to quiet the noise. He then hands his bill to the man who promptly looks at it and says "$60???, all you did was hammer in a nail! I could have done that myself." Then as he looks closer, the bill says "hammer in a nail - $2; knowing where to put the nail - $58.
Many times, it’s more cost-effective to put tasks in the hands of an expert to get things done, quickly and properly. The time and efficiency factor looms big in the decision to collaborate with a specialist. Can you do these things yourself? Sure, but will you?
What Kind of Help Can you Get? The difference between hotel website design and website development lies primarily in the way one views the use of the Internet. For a long time, the focus was directed towards simply having a presence on the Net; many people knew that it was a smart thing to do, but most of us had no clue as to what the potential might be.
As the popularity of using the Internet to research and book hotels increased, more hotels discovered the virtues of search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. In many cases, this was the total extent of their Internet marketing programs…until now!
Today, a good Internet marketing program includes site market positioning, revenue management, search engine regional marketing, link strategy, package marketing, promotion creation, email promotion mailings, guest comment referrals, website design optimization, and more. Your collaboration with an Internet specialist should go far beyond simply having a website designed and published.
Marketing your hotel on the Internet is a complete process; it begins as a collaborative effort with an Internet specialist to position your hotel within the marketplace. Work with a specialist to develop a complete marketing program for the Internet.
Only one question remains, can you do it yourself? Of course you can, but will you and how long will it take?
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