How your business appears online is as important as how it looks in person. Is your web presence costing you customers?
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ou want the best hotel website, you know it has to be mobile friendly and easy-to-navigate, you want beautiful photography but what else do you need? While it makes sense to keep your website modern, the best hotel websites help potential guests solve problems and make it easy for visitors to complete the travel planning process. In today’s post, we’ll review the most important features for great hotel website that convert lookers to direct bookers.
How to Plan a Great Hotel Website that Converts Lookers to Bookers
First Tip… Hire Mannix Marketing! Really, we know how to design hotel websites that convert lookers to bookers. After every hotel redesign, we love to hear our customers as they share their success stories. We’d be happy to share with you how we price, what we do and why our hotel websites greatly improve bookings. Call us for a 15 minute chat at 518-743-9424 or contact us online. Want to learn more about how we design websites, here are 13 features we recommend, this is the tip of the iceberg and a nice start to a great website, but a well optimized SEO friendly hotel website that ranks well is critical… that just happens to be our specialty.
great hotel website example1. Book Now Button or Embedded Reservations
Online reservations are a must, on mobile have a simple book now button on desktop when possible embed a date selection wizard into every page that connects to your online reservation system.
2. Smarter Live Chat
A huge number of people are secretly planning their vacations at work, so they can’t really pick up the phone in their cubicle and ask a simple question. Make it easy for them by adding live chat. The cheapest no frills solution is www.providesupport.com, the best solution for the price is www.livechatinc.com – much more customizable and personal with better administrative functions. Be smart, don’t just pop up with Hi, can I help you, why not a live chat that offers a benefit for booking direct!
3. Sticky Mobile Click to Call
When you view the site on mobile, the phone number or a phone icon that you can click on to call should be on every page and stick to the top of the screen regardless of how far down the page you scroll
4. Photos and Videos Dedicated Page
Sure, you have photos and videos throughout the whole site, but travelers want to see them all in one place and be able to self-direct what photos they look at. Each photo should have a description that describes the photo and features the unique selling points of the resort. Consider having multiple photo album pages that focus on different interests, rooms, activities, weddings, meetings, amenities etc.. Example from the Fort William Henry Resort in Lake George.
how to design a great hotel website
5. The Google Driving Directions Widget
This may sound obvious but does your hotel website just have a Google Map or does it have the Driving Directions Map? Most hotel sites have a map, but the map widget they use often doesn’t have the directions easily seen in the screenshot.
driving directions feature for hotel marketing
6. Humans to Answer the Phone
If you can’t answer the phone, hire a service to answer the calls that you can’t answer and book the reservation for you for a small percentage. Not sure who to use, we can help. Also, we recommend that you consider training your new staff with call tracking, listen to every call and coach them on how to improve their customer service skills.
7. Don’t forget The Resort, Hotel or Amenities Page
So many hoteliers get caught up in weddings, their restaurant, their rooms and photo pages, they forget the amenities and resort overview page that sells the property as a whole. Don’t depend on the main home page to do this, have a special page dedicated to your resort common areas, unique selling points, amenities and the many reasons that make your resort a great place to stay.
8. Specials and Hotel Deals
Everyone is looking for a deal, even if you don’t offer deals you should consider packages or at least explaining that you rate
9. Itineraries, Events or Activities by Season
Are you off the beaten path, or are there special activities by season that you can highlight, are your guests looking for scenic beauty, adventure or romance, think about each of your customer types: families, millennials, young couples, girls getaways and show them all that your resort and region have to offer just for them. The Trout House is a perfect example, family run and bucking the trend to sell inventory on the OTA’s, so they sell themselves well by sharing the experience by season.
hotel website design companies
10. Give them GREAT reasons to book direct
Whether it’s free upgrades, a glass of wine upon arrival or an extra room night when they book four, find a way to entice your customer to book directly with you, we like this example below from the http://www.thegothamhotelny.com/ , they are using The Guest Book to run this program.
how to increase direct booking tips for hotels
11. Social Proof: Testimonials and Guest Reviews
We all know how powerful TripAdvisor is, but they are selling bookings through OTA’s and diminishing your margins, why not add testimonials and reviews to your own hotel website!
There’s a feeling of assurance that comes from hearing what actual customers have to say about their experience with a business- be it a hotel, resort, or any other type of company.Rather than asking visitors to hunt down this information on their own, however, the best hotel websites highlight their guests’ reviews directly on the site, as shown in the example below from the Carolina Inn. In fact, this hotel’s TripAdvisor rating as being 3rd out of 16 hotels in the region indicates that they’re comfortable with their ranking (whereas many businesses might only display their TripAdvisor rating if they were #1 in their category).
Showing guest reviews and star ratings from multiple noteworthy online review sites adds a tremendous sense of trust and credibility to the Carolina Inn website.
12. Local Insights Blog
As consumers, we don’t always buy the highest quality product or the lowest cost option. Often times we forgo the most logical option by choosing to buy local or buy from a company that delivers the best service and support. Why? Because these businesses understand that the product is merely part of a larger experience.
In the world of lodging and hospitality, travelers aren’t simply looking for a place to rest their head at night- they’re looking for things to do in the region, places to eat, and an experience.
Often times, hotels have a deep connection to the region when it comes to hot spots for tourists, best restaurants in the region, and recommendations on area attractions that are likely to be sought out by their guests.
However, for the majority of hotels, their website hardly reflects their knowledge of the area, leaving an opportunity to speak to travelers’ desire to explore the region.
The Modern Honolulu stands apart from the pack as they use valuable real estate on their website’s home page to highlight something other than just their accommodations, venue, or specials. Specifically, they’re leveraging their deep knowledge of Honolulu’s tourist attractions to appeal to travelers’ other needs.
The Modern Honolulu’s use of local information on their website indicates a deep understanding of their guests’ needs, using valuable space on their home page to talk about the fun and exciting region.
13. Easily Accessible, ADA Compliant, Responsive Design
If you’re a smartphone or tablet owner like me then there’s a good chance that your smartphone is within arm’s reach of your body right now. Or, you may even be reading this article on your mobile device.
Whether they’re on a desktop, tablet or smartphone, today’s travelers are hopping from one screen to the next to find hotels online. This is why it’s imperative for hotels to have a website that’s designed to work across devices and provide a great experience for desktop, tablet, and smartphone visitors, as shown in the example below for the new responsive designed website for Scotty’s Lakeside Resort.
The Scotty’s Lakeside Resort website was designed with Responsive Design, giving desktop and mobile visitors an easy on-site experience.
Considering a New Website for Your Hotel?
If you’re considering a new website for your hotel and want to convert more lookers to bookers, then request your free marketing review with the team that specializes in website design and digital marketing for hotels. There is a lot to creating a hotel website that converts, let’s chat for 15 minutes, we promise that you’ll learn a lot and most likely you’ll find out that you want to do business with us.
Call 518-743-9424 and ask for a 15-minute digital marketing review and we’ll show you what we can do to increase your bookings and increase your ADR and increase your occupancy rates!
Content Credit: this great post was originally written by Mannix Alumni Jeremy Abel in 2014 and has been rewritten to include more features by Sara Mannix
THE FERN LODGE
The Fern Lodge is an Adirondack resort with luxurious suites, cozy amenities, and a picturesque venue for weddings and other events. The owners needed help getting their special offers in front of a relevant audience, modernizing the look and feel of their website, and, ultimately, increasing bookings, so they contacted Mannix Marketing for a high-impact travel and tourism digital marketing program.
Website Redesign and Digital Marketing for Luxury Resort in the Adirondacks
We kicked-off the program by redesigning The Fern Lodge’s website- giving it a fresh, visually captivating look and building it with responsive design for a user-friendly experience on desktop and mobile devices. Next, we focused our efforts on growing the lodge’s visibility in the search engines, on social media, and through other relevant channels to attract more potential guests to their website.
Organic Search traffic increased by 56%
Traffic from Google organic search increased by more than 60%
Mobile traffic grew by 6X
Home Page Bounce Rate decreased by 16%
Bookings are up compared to last year
To spread the word about The Fern Lodge’s specials and packages, we launched a local advertising and promotion campaign through LakeGeorge.com and Adirondack.net, and promoted the Lodge’s offers on our Adirondacks Facebook page. Because this page reaches a massive audience that loves the Adirondacks, the posts attracted thousands of potential guests from Facebook to the Lodge’s website.
In addition, some of the Lodge’s most qualified traffic comes from advertising on LakeGeorge.com- a local online guide to the Lake George region. Here, The Fern Lodge’s display advertising and business listing catch the attention of travelers who are searching for hotels and resorts in the Adirondacks and then guide those visitors to property’s website.
This case study illustrates how an SEO friendly, responsive resort website and local online advertising program has helped The Fern Lodge build more awareness for their rooms and packages, attract considerably more potential guests to their website, and increase their bookings.
Need help promoting your specials, getting found by potential guests, and filling rooms at your hotel or resort? Contact us today to see how we can help your property!
THE ALPINE LODGE
The Alpine Lodge is a cozy Adirondack resort conveniently located near Gore Mountain- a prime destination for ski vacations in upstate New York. However, the Lodge’s website was starting to look and feel outdated and they needed to get found by more travelers who were searching for Adirondack lodging and ski packages near Gore Mountain. Mannix Marketing created a modern, SEO friendly lodging website and online promotion to grow The Alpine Lodge’s traffic, enhance website engagement, and improve bookings.
Lodging Website Redesign, SEO, and Online Promotion Grows Website Traffic and Bookings
The Alpine Lodge has a uniquely warm and welcoming atmosphere that is all-the-more enjoyable after a long day of skiing or exploring the region. To capture this feeling and create a user-friendly experience for potential guests, we created a site that features large photos of the rooms, ample whitespace for a clean and breathable design, a stylish Adirondack color pattern, and strategic calls-to-action encouraging visitors to “Book Now.”
Another priority for the Lodge was to encourage direct bookings, and one of the best ways to bring more travelers directly to The Alpine Lodge website is by getting found in the search engines- where many travelers start their trip planning process. Built with Search Engine Optimization, the redesigned website ranks incredibly well in the organic search results for a variety of important keywords and attracts more travelers from the search engines than before.
Traffic from Organic Search grew by 6X
47% increase in visits from mobile device users
45% increase in Pageviews
Home page Bounce Rate decreased by 22%
Site-wide Bounce Rate decreased by 20%
In addition, we ran a Facebook ad through the Adirondacks Facebook page to promote The Alpine Lodge’s Ski & Stay Packages. With just one post, The Alpine Lodge reached a massive audience and attracted prospective guests to their site:
37,502 People Reached
Based on the stats, more travelers are returning to The Alpine Lodge website more often, staying on the site longer, and finding the mobile-friendly responsive design easier to use on smartphone devices. Not surprisingly, this is having a positive impact on bookings at the resort.
We had a great holiday week and the season looks like it’s off to a great start! I’m sure the updated site has everything to do with that. Thanks so much for getting it done prior to our winter season!
FORT WILLIAM HENRY HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER
Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center is a Lake George landmark. This historic and scenic resort sits on an 18-acre estate at the southern basin of Lake George, with 193 spacious guest rooms and suites, indoor and outdoor pools, spa, restaurants and a 10,000 square foot conference center. Fort William Henry hosts family vacations, group tours, weddings, meetings and conferences, and reunions.
A 6-month plan including basic SEO practices and the introduction of new content was the basis for this project.
7% increase in page views in July over July of the previous year
A nearly 3% increase in the number of unique visitors
A 28% increase in referring sites over a one-year period.
With a national and regional economic downturn that is affecting the hospitality industry as a whole, the traffic results for Fort William Henry highlight the importance of continued optimization.
Keyword Placement Results of 6-Month SEO Plan
Placement Results July – July
Nearly an 18% increase in the overall number of top-30 search engine placements
Top-10 keyword results for Google, Bing, Ask and Yahoo increased 29%
#1 placements increased 71%
Keyword Results Upon Plan Completion
Google: “hotels lake george”, “adirondack resort”, and “lake george resort vacations” in the top 10, #1 result for “lake george conferences”
Yahoo: “bus tours lake george ny”, “lake george activities”, “lake george weddings” in the top 10
Bing: “spa services lake george”, “family reunions in lake george”, “adirondack resort spa” in the top 5
Through careful optimization, an increase in relevant website content and regular attention to key performance indicators, the Mannix Marketing team was able to both maintain and increase current placements. This 6-month program allowed for ongoing, long-term results across a number of key areas — an important factor for a client who strives to thrive year-round in a primarily seasonal lodging market.
Are you a current website design or search engine optimization client and wish to have us showcase your business? Please give us a call (800) 928-9154 – We love to show off good results!
Web Design Services for Resorts & Hotels
Custom web design that drives inquiries and bookings
Vacation and travel have always involved a lot of research, with travelers relying on recommendations from travel agents, family, and friends for destinations and accommodations. The research phase is still integral to the vacation destination decision making process, but today’s travelers mostly do their research through online search and reviews or social media queries. Mannix Marketing works with hotels and resorts of all sizes to make sure their sites rank high in organic search results and are optimized to help convert website visitors into hotel and resort guests.
Our developers are experienced at hotel website design, creating mobile-friendly, responsive sites with prominent images of rooms and views to engage potential guests, whether they are searching from their couch or a highway rest stop! Here are a few of our best hotel and resort websites.
Digital marketing has become increasingly important for the hospitality industry. More than 1/5 of all hotel and hospitality bookings now take place online, meaning that investing in your online presence is now more important than ever. Luckily, we’ve analyzed marketing agencies located across North America that specialize in hospitality marketing, helping you find a digital marketing provider you can trust with the expertise you need. Take a look at our list of the best hospitality marketing agencies below!
graphic and web design Graphic & Web DesignGive your brand a stunning, visual presence across every project from websites, invitations and e-brochures to traditional printed work like menus, sales kits and property collateral. graphic and web design Social Media MarketingJoin the conversations. Use the latest in social media and content marketing: analytics, content creation, blogging, social listening and advertising.graphic and web design Property CollateralReinforce your brand with bespoke pieces – sales kits, brochures, newsletters, in-room pieces, menus and more.graphic and web design PromotionsIncrease awareness. Drive sales. Invite, announce and engage your target with inimitable pieces, like new product cards, event programs, signage and specialty items.graphic and web design CopywritingEnsure your content is written with style. We blend substance with personality while writing copy that is clear, concise and grammatically correct. graphic and web design Ad CampaignsWhether designed to spec or from scratch, let us help you achieve your objectives using the most current and effective integrated marketing communication tools. graphic and web designBrand DevelopmentRefine your brand identity with specialized design, brand standards and positioning strategy development services. graphic and web designVideo ProductionWe’ll handle production, scripting, directing, shooting and editing then get it ready for delivery via DVD, Blu-ray or the Web.
McConnell Marketing has been exceeding the expectations of hotel marketing professionals one project at a time. We do the basics, consistently. Calls returned. Quotes honored. Deadlines met. Promises kept. Truth told. Our clients expect nothing less.
When you hire us you don’t become our client – we become your team member.
At the end of the day, our goal is the same as yours:
achieve top line revenues and bottom line results.
Hospitality Marketing Services
Super-human feats! Death-defying courage. We’ll help ease the way into this emerging online marketing world. Make use of the latest technologies that let you do more and ease your daily tasks at the same time. Online booking engines, integrated OTA sales, cloud-based property management systems, beautiful websites designed specifically for hospitality are just a few of the things we help lodging owners handle. Yep, it’s super-human. It can be yours today.
Brand & Marketing Essentials
Everything starts with your brand. Is yours ready to take on today’s challenges? We’ll help your business stand out and create a brand presence that let’s people know what they’ll find when they visit. Authentic and attractive branding.
Then we create finely crafted content, photography and business materials that tell the story of your brand. Feel the need for traditional advertising? Yes, we can help with that, too.
Destination Branding & Marketing
New! Destination Branding & Marketing – Social Energizer has expanded its team and expertise to offer small communities affordable, effective ‘Place’ Branding and Marketing without the big agency price tag. We can deliver a proven ROI for your room tax investment.
Our mission is to improve your communities’ brand identity, jumpstart your marketing efforts through the use of new technologies and create an environment that provides measurable results.
Leverage Your Data
We bring Big Data analytics closer to your team so you can work smarter, not harder. Insight from Big Data empowers your team to connect with your guests in relevant ways, resulting in increased loyalty and a deeper brand connection.
Partner With People
When you partner with HMA, you partner with a team of industry experts whose approach to CRM is personal, not automated. HMA brings expert data management and proven marketing processes to every client partnership – and a team that is not afraid to be flexible and creative to achieve success.
Sustain Your Effort
Sustain your marketing efforts in a highly mobile industry. HMA provides strategy, data analytics and marketing support services that stabilize your CRM platform for long term success.
WordPress Lodging Websites – The Secret to Our Not so Secret Sauce
April 28, 2017/
One of the most important decisions hotel and resort owners face is how to choose the infrastructure for building their websites. For the best success, we recommend sites be WordPress lodging websites. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) which allows people to create websites and blogs on an easy to manage platform and integrates with many online services like e-Newsletters, Google Analytics, online forms, etc. Simply put, WordPress is the ‘not so secret sauce’ that you need in your recipe for success. WordPress logo
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a relatively easy way where users themselves can blog and post content. Think carefully here; the Internet is a global phenomenon that is never ending. WordPress powers over 27% of the entire Internet, from Fortune 500 companies to celebrities and social media influencers. If that hasn’t won you over yet, the features and benefits of WordPress are, like the Internet, never ending.
What we find works best is when lodging property owners team with us to create their properties’ websites. As WordPress-skilled designers, we understand the tools and have the expertise to create a site that functions well, represents your property in it’s best light and converts lookers to bookers!
The flexible WordPress platform allows a team approach with each party performing the needed tasks to build a successful site. From strong content about a given property and it’s many recreational assets to top notch attention-getting design, the build can be performed well with an all-hands-on-deck approach. Or you can just leave most of it to us. The choice is yours.
Custom features like simple forms for users to fill out like Concierge requests and special requests help ease guest management. A few simple forms that allow property staff to publish blogs, specials and reviews can also work well to ease the time constraints that hoteliers all face. Why fight a system when you can just fill out a targeted form for this type of repeatable entry?
The CMS allows users to connect social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to their website to increase engagement with potential guests. Many other integrated services help ease the steps in publishing fresh content consistently and is limited only by the imagination. With WordPress, even the smallest of businesses can create websites that can compare to multi-billion dollar organizations. WordPress connectivity
To put it in simple terms, WordPress is the key to our success at Social Energizer, LLC. The WordPress open-source platform allows us to build beautifully designed websites that can be affordably hosted and managed. WordPress sites are assets to business owners and live on in perpetuity supporting their businesses. Instead of recreating the wheel every few years, WordPress sites can be simply redesigned, updated and the foundation built upon, strengthening the site as years go by. In contrast, other website builders often become obsolete and are not ‘Real’ (as in real estate) investments. The value of your WordPress site can be factored into the value of your property upon sale (really). You ‘own’ it.
Now the technical stuff. WordPress is a huge success because it is optimized for SEO or search engine optimization. This means that WordPress helps you make your website easier to be found by search engines like Google, an absolute necessity when constructing and maintaining a successful website. In our blog, Google Mobile, Goodbye Desktop – Hello Mobile Ranking, we discuss the importance of businesses being found on mobile optimized websites or websites that your customers can use on their cell phones or tablets. WordPress is making our lives easier and creates responsive websites that work on desktop computers, smartphones, and everything in between. Another win for WordPress!
Fun for the Hotelier
Clearly, WordPress is beneficial and something that every business should be utilizing for the websites. For hoteliers, reaching WordPress graphpotential guests and being able to integrate social media onto your websites is an absolute must. WordPress can do this for you, and so much more. Property Management Systems can be integrated into WordPress that allow for consumers to book stays at your hotels and lodges right on your website, just the way it should be. The tourism industry is booming and to stay in the game and to be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, websites are necessary, and WordPress is key. If you have questions about WordPress or would like to convert your hotel or lodging website to a WordPress site, contact us at Social Energizer, LLC., we would love to help!
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Five Reasons to Create a Strong Lodging Website
April 27, 2017/
Your Website your world1. Online Channel Conversion
2. Reduce Risk of 3rd Party Channels
3. A Strong ‘Virtual’ Presence
4. Controlled Marketing Environment
5. A Measurable Financial Asset
Over 80% of travel is now booked online, with 51.8% booked on mobile devices. These statistics are rising daily. It is vital that lodging owners understand the structure they need for successful online marketing. That online structure is your website.
Online Channel Conversion
Online bookings begin with your potential visitor starting an online search for where they want to go or stay. Your business’s online presence might include digital media channels like TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Expedia, FlipKey, and Instagram. If setup correctly, all channels will move the online visitor to your website where they might learn more about your property and then ultimately book a room.
Reduce Risk of Dependence on 3rd Party Marketing Channels
It is important to understand that while Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and Expedia might bring you valuable bookings, they do not necessarily have your best interest in mind. In fact, the opposite is true. Quite simply, when a guest books on your website you make the most money. All of those channels want a piece of that, and they are all getting better at figuring out how to get a piece of the pie. Your pie.
Resist the urge to let them do all the marketing for you. You need to fight for the control, not relinquish it. No matter what changes with social media channels or OTAs, if your strategy is to have a strong website and bring everyone to that website from all channels consistently, you limit your dependence and minimize the risk.
Create a Strong ‘Virtual’ Presence
Your website is the virtual representation of your property. It needs the same thought, care, and attention that your physical property receives. Your goal is to get that same delighted response from your website as you receive when someone walks in your door. You also want your newly arriving guests to feel that they have already become acquainted with your lodge or hotel online and that what they’ve gleaned from your website matches their physical impression and experience.awesome hotel experience
A Safe Place to Experiment with Marketing
You’ve seen offers like, “Get your free review widget from TripAdvisor” when working online. This trend is growing with all 3rd party channels employing a strategy to outfox lodging owners by convincing them to embed links to their websites. I’ve seen many lodging owners use these widgets, with the good intention of being proactive in their marketing. But little do they know, that once those links are clicked by a web visitor, the forwarding website takes the opportunity to market directly to that web visitor. They often do that by cross marketing to your competitors. Why do that? Keep them at your secure basecamp.
If you employ the strategy of keeping your web visitors on your site, then instead of sending them to unsafe places where they might get lost, you can test new ways of attracting and securing their attention and creating a personal connection. Evolve the web customer experience, right on your website. Then hone your messaging to convince these visitors that, in fact, your place IS the best place to stay.
A Measurable Financial Asset
While having a presence on the 3rd party channels is important, you do not own these profiles. A well-developed website has a measurable value that can be included in your property’s list of financial assets when selling or assessing the value of your lodging business. You own it. Creating a marketing presence online is a time-consuming, expensive investment. Why not invest in something you own? For this reason, alone, it makes sense to put 80-90% of your online efforts and money into your website. Don’t skimp here. Pay yourself first.
At each step of the relationship with your hotel and potential visitors, your website must strategically provide the information they desire, offer an opportunity for you to engage with them and finally persuade them to stay at your property. Then come back on future travels. Yes, a strong website should also engage post-stay guests, but that’s for a different blog, different day.
Updated from the original post published: Sept 12, 2015
No matter your means, we can draw up a blueprint to maximize every dollar so you’ll get maximum exposure. To do that, we start with the basics. We look at your brand and its market to develop an aggressive strategy that targets key demographics. Then, we set our sights on the unique qualities and characteristics of the market and create media plan recommendations based on our findings.
When you need a helping hand, we’ve got you covered. Since we’re hospitality and gaming experts, we work to become an extension of your staff to help you determine your messaging and decide your allocations for outdoor, print, TV, radio and digital.
We help in developing plans to create excitement around promotions, events, live entertainment and more. When you’re ready to learn how Touchpoints can maximize your media spending and give you better reach for fewer dollars, just e-mail us.
Specific Support for Lodges and Retreat Centers
How your business appears online is as important as how it looks in person. Is your web presence costing you customers?