Why Hospitality Businesses Should Have Their Own Web Site!
Do you own your web site? Think again! Let’s start with the less obvious. If you are a franchise or part of a hospitality network and use the same home office/headquarter website everyone uses, within the franchise, then, corporate controls it and you don’t really “have” a web site.
Another even less obvious is an independent hotel, motel, resort, B&B owner/manager…. who thinks that they have a web site but do not realize that it is not self hosted and therefore, do not own it. Examples would a WordPress.com (not .org) site or a blogger site which give you very little control. On these platforms, and many others, they have no ability to make real adjustments to the web site and the framework is very constricting and confining.
Also, watch for web sites built by web designers that host the site on their own servers which means, you don’t own the internet space and really have no control. The rug can be pulled from under you so fast!
If you want to have a great digital marketing campaign, you have to completely own the real estate your site lives on. You may have heard rumors of not needing a web site and running all your web presence on some social media platform but again, you lose too much control and what may work today may be lost tomorrow if the social platform, you depended on, decides to change their format or, even worse, goes under. You need to fully own a self hosted web site!
Here is a message we saw the day after someone with a Twitter account decided to connect: “This account has been suspended. Learn more about why Twitter suspends accounts, or return to your timeline.” Can you imagine spending months and years developing this account only to be shut down overnight!
If you are not ready for a fully self hosted site, you may be able to use a temporary patch like leadpages.net for a quick site built. That will certainly be better than a LinkedIn or facebook landing page. One big advantage being that you can add tracking codes on those pages (also called tracking pixels.) And you do not need to be a web designer!
Advantages Hotels, Inns, Resorts, B&B…have when they have control over their web site? They can…
Install tracking pixels – Nowadays you need to be able to track your web traffic. Particularly from sites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter… And it is as simple copying a code that you need to be able to paste to your own site. It is so crucial that you have the ability to see where traffic is coming from. You cannot get that information without analytics tracked through these pixels..
Get leads from their own site – How can you easily take people to the next step if you cannot offer an optin form that you control. You can’t do a retarget, such as with emails, if you have no control over your site. You not only need the custom web form but also the option to guide visitors to the next step after they filled out the form. Today, you can also offer online chat, call me buttons and, one we recently saw on Michael Hyatt’s web site, a “Leave a Message” button.
Some hospitality businesses may spend much time and effort on LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter… but where are they sending social media visitors who are interested in more information? Their needs a place to send them to. That should be your own web site!
Control content – Do you want to be a thought leader or just want to share your own content to attract traffic to your hotel, resort, inn, B&B…? You need to own the platform it is being hosted on. Imagine a hotel franchise or any other hospitality franchise deciding to write their own local oriented content. If the hotel did not save their content on their own web real estate they will have no way to direct that traffic to their local place of business. And, worst of all, they will not be able to take advantage of organic (free) traffic from search engines. And, they can be so much more specific on their own site and attract more targeted customers.
And, none of this has to be complicated or expensive.
For site development platform – We recommend WordPress.org (not .com). It can be self hosted (see below for hosting). It is free and, once the site is built, it can be easy for you to add content.
For hosting – We recommend Godaddy (they have been an industry leader for many years, offer great customer service, reliable hosting uptime, plenty of platform options (like WordPress) and, last we checked, also offer $50 to $100 coupons you can use on Facebook, Google and Bing. Godaddy does have a specific WordPress hosting option but we do not recommend it as we have found it to be slower and it gives you less control. Godaddy is our go to for all of our self hosting needs!
Themes – Those are templates you will use to build your site in WordPress. Themes are the basis for your site appearance and general functionality. We recommend themeforest.net. They are one of the largest theme seller, have plenty of options for the hospitality industry (hotels, motels, inns, resorts, bed and breakfast, restaurants…) and also offer plenty of plugins for additional functionality
We would be happy to recommend themes for you. It’s free to ask and no, you don’t have to worry about a pitch on the latest whatever!
We hope this has been helpful in your efforts to attract new business and better service your existing hospitality clients.