What do you want visitors to your website to do?
Book (hotels); contact you (estate agents) - so your whole site should be dedicated to this end.
Most common errors...
|Not quite the hotel! Definitely not the estate agency!|
Examples (real, but no names!):
"Within easy reach of [Buckingham Palace]" - again - 3 miles and 6 tube stops (that 'looked close' to their web designer who was in Manchester)
"Park view" [4 rooms out of 60] setting the hotel up for a constant stream of complaints on TripAdvisor: 'Our view was of the hotel opposite.'
"Quiet" [unless the nightclub is open, which it is - until 2 am - Thurs-Sat] - enough said
One lonely testimonial (for an estate agent), from 2009 - from a client called 'Mr P'
A link from an estate agents' site to a site that ranked them 213th in the UK
Last Christmas's special offer still on the site in May
What the visitor to your website wants in 2012
It's all about first impressions. And that impression has to be made instantly. In the early days of the web it was all about telling everything, now we know you have seconds to convince the consumer. By all means include detail but keep your home page clean - the detail can be kept behind tabs.
We are constantly surprised by the contrast between websites and reality; estate agents who spend huge amounts of money on their offices, but next to none on their websites, lovely hotels with awful websites. Great websites need not cost a fortune, but cheap ones will cost you a fortune in lost business.
According to TripAdvisor the average guest visits seven websites before booking. And one of those will be the hotel's own site - so the hotel has at least a chance of getting the booking (and getting it direct) if their website does what the potential guest wants.
You want them to book through your website, so...
|Where DO I start?|
- Photographs - the bigger (and more professional) the better, with accurate descriptions - of bedrooms and other facilities the guest will use - exterior shots are great, but remember they will be staying in the hotel
- An easy way to book - with all the options - booking engine, phone, email
- The credible opinions of people who have stayed recently
- Biographies of the owner/gm/key staff - it's a people business
Most visitors to estate agents' own sites are, by definition, potential sellers/landlords (purchasers/tenants visit once the transaction is underway). What do they want to see?
Just like hotels, it's all about first impressions:
- Clear and informative
- The answer to the question: 'what value will this agent add?'
- Biographies of key members of staff - again 'its a people business'
- The credible opinions of clients who have done business recently
|Staff photos are great - but steady with the gel!|
- Lavish the same care as you do with your hotel/office
- More images - less words (unlike this blog!)
- Personality - people buy from people
- Credible reviews - up-to-date