In today’s ever-changing, online arena, hotels are often faced with bombardment by companies selling something. Social Media Monitoring tools, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) assistance, Pay-Per-Click advertising, and the list goes on and on. A big question that I hear lately is, “Do I need an independent website for my hotel?” My answer to that is “yes.” And “no”….
In my last blog (“Search Engine Optimization: Why is it Important?”), I mentioned that Content is King when it comes to getting placement for your website on the major Search Engines. We know that more and more users are utilizing Search Engines for their travel research. The Internet has leveled the playing field for hotels. If your content is keyword rich (among the other factors that were mentioned in my last blog), then you’re off to a great start!
However, if your brand website prohibits or restricts you in making content changes and offering that “keyword richness,” then you will fall into the “yes” category of whether or not you need an independent website.
Another factor I look at when determining if a property needs an independent website is that specific hotel’s features such as:
Is it close to or on the beach?
Does it have a spa that is a great selling point for the property?
Does it have a fine dining outlet that needs “extra” attention?
These are just a few examples, but if your hotel has special features, then an independent website would help highlight them and should definitely be considered.
I also look at the market when determining if a property needs an independent website. In some markets, HVMG has branded properties that compete largely with independent properties. No matter how robust your brand website is, sometimes it just cannot compete with a market full of independent properties and websites from a Search Engine placement perspective. There is definitely a business case for creating an independent website if your hotel has this challenge.
A final factor that also is market-related is the actual location of the hotel. HVMG has properties that are in large markets, but some of have suburban locations. This can pose a challenge when it comes to getting great placement on the Search Engines. The competition level is high and an independent website can help put your hotel in the running.
So as I mentioned in my first paragraph, the answer to “Do I need an Independent Website for my hotel” is both yes and no. Evaluate your current website and whether or not it is being found on the Search Engines. Take the above factors into consideration and hopefully they will lead you to answer the question in a way that best benefits your hotel.