What's the point of your hotel website?Whether it’s taking a higher cut from bookings, or being proactive with the image your hotel is projecting, establishing a website to represent your hotel online is essential.

It will serve as the hub of your online marketing activities, and be the place where customers can find out all they want to know about who you are and what you do.

A website isn’t something that you can throw up and leave, however. You need to be committed to creating quality content, and keeping it fresh and optimised to help you achieve your aims – and to achieve them, you need to know what they actually are.

Many hoteliers feel a nagging need to create and maintain a site, but don’t fully understand why it’s so necessary.

Your site can do many jobs. To get the most out of it, you need to know what you actually want from it. It can:

• Be a place where customers can book with you directly
• Be an information portal
• Be a place to publicise your hotel business, encouraging customers to use other channels to book (phone, third party site etc)
• Be the home of a member’s community, where you can share special offers
• Be a place to demonstrate expertise in your specialist topic, and generate interest
• Be a vessel for attracting customer email addresses, so you can improve your email marketing efforts

Your website can do all of these jobs and more – but it’s essential to know what you want it to do, rather than creating a website which lacks focus.

This will help you to design a site that’s optimised to achieve your goals as successfully as possible.

Measuring your results

Now that you know what roles you want your site to play, you need to have a way to actually check that it’s performing. When spending any resources on marketing, it’s essential to be able to measure whether you’re getting a return on your investment.

This not only reveals which elements of your marketing are making you money, but also lets you focus on the profitable areas, and really capitalise.

So if you are trying to get users to book with you while on your site, for example, you need to be analysing the reasons why customers do decide to go through with the purchase – or decide not to – and see what you can change to encourage more to convert.

By measuring your website conversion rates, your site will slowly evolve, becoming more efficient and effective all of the time. By constantly adapting to meet the needs of your customer, you’ll make your business more profitable.

– Image courtesy of  tiramisustudio / freedigitalphotos.net