Why your own website is your best marketing tool…
Appearances are so important, and this is even more true of websites. The sole aim of your website is to educate your visitor about your accommodation.
Getting visitors to your website is the biggest challenge, but once you have got them onto your website, you don’t want their experience to be a disappointment. It’s like anything, the better it looks, the more someone will want it – if your website isn’t very inspiring, you are unlikely to get bookings as a result of your website. On the other hand, if your website looks beautiful and showcases your accommodation well, is easy to navigate and easy to either book or send an enquiry, the end result will be an increase in bookings.
The appearance of your website is something you have control over improving – simply by getting your website updated with a fresh new design. Many accommodation owners spend a lot of money on advertising or on booking engines and neglect to spend on their own website, without perhaps realising how central their own website should be for their overall marketing plan.
Why is your website so important? Think of it as your own “shop” that never sleeps, and is always accessible day and night. How many people look at your website, browse and then go away again? How many of these visitors book a stay with you? Your website should be working for you harder than almost all of your other marketing channels combined… because unlike a listing on a large site, your website is just about your accommodation, no one elses! So once you have got a visitor on your site, you want to keep hold of them, so that you can show them everything you have to offer. This will give you a greater chance of turning just a browser into a booking!
Many Inn owners have avoided freshening up their website due to the cost – but there is now a cost effective offering – we realised that there is the need for a “cheaper” website – so we designed our “Budget” range – but we made our designs look like our premium range! Costing just £299, these websites aren’t going to break the bank! Allowing for up to 5 pages, we designed these specifically for Inns with accommodation. Not only do these designs look lovely, we can have your new site up and running within a couple of days! If your website isn’t turning visitors into bookings, you need to consider why this is. Could your website be in need of a freshen up, or is it not laid out in the best way for a visitor to navigate? Most importantly, how does your website work on a mobile or tablet? With the majority of website searches occurring on a mobile or tablet, if your website isn’t responsive, then visitors are much more likely to leave your site and go to your competition instead. You need to consider if you were to convert more of your site’s visitors, how much more bookings would you be getting? Another way to look at it, how much money are you losing out on? A good analytics program should be able to show you how long visitors spend on your site. If they are quick to leave, you may have a problem!
Sarah from Web Design For Accommodation tells us why using them rather than a generic designer makes getting a new website so painless: “Specialising in accommodation websites such as for Inns, Bed & Breakfasts & Guesthouses has allowed us to become highly proficient in this area. We understand exactly what is needed for an accommodation website, and so when an owner comes to us for a website, we are able to tell them if their website brief is missing something, or if they should have it laid out a certain way to make it better for (site) navigation. Having made so many websites for Inns and other accommodation owners, it’s so easy for our clients to take a look at what we have made already and then tell us which aspects of our sites that they would like us to include (if choosing our premium bespoke range). It’s even easier if the client opts for our standard range, as with these, they simply choose one of our designs which we then customise with the client’s colours and choice of logo. This allows us to have a new site up and running within a couple of weeks of ordering, and our budget sites are even quicker – we can generally have a turnaround of a 1 to 2 working days!
If you are thinking of a new site, head on over to Web Design For Accommodation’s website (www.WebDFA.co.uk) and take a look at what they have to offer – you can also call Sarah on 020 3371 8790. Please mention Inn Keeper magazine if you get in touch and you can also get a 10% discount by using voucher code INNMAG when ordering!