Making sure you have the correct website for your guesthouse is probably one of the most important marketing decisions you will make. Most guests now look to the internet to secure their travel arrangements; if you are not there you miss out on a huge segment of the market.
Most third-party marketing such as leaflets, adverts and booking agents also refer to the Guest House’s website. In essence your website is your window to the world.
Below we give you an insight into successful website development. This section is constantly being updated.
What to Look for in Your Website
The web is inundated with special offers of 5 page sites for R1995 and for many guesthouse owners it is a new area that is not fully understood. With websites the expression that cheap is not always good is most applicable. As your most important marketing tool it is worth spending time and money on.
Put simply if your website cannot be found by the main search engines it is has lost much of its use and value. Most searches are made via Google, with a visitor typing in a search term – such as – Guest house Cape Town.
If they can’t see your website the result is no visits and no bookings.
Flash is a terminology for a type of language used in building websites. They look great with moving graphics, however ……search engines hate them and you will be penalised.
Writing website content is an art form and very different to writing for media or brochures. Searchability depends greatly on what your website says and how it says it.
Whilst rich text is has its place, visitors are aware that most GUEST HOUSESs will be displayed as beautiful, scenic etc, your content need to cover the practical issues.
Website visitors are profoundly impatient – they want to get where they are going now – if it is not obvious they will leave and go elsewhere.
Graphics play a huge role in selecting your GUEST HOUSE – there are only so many ways you can describe a bedroom. Prospective guests want pictures, but be careful: the wrong pictures and wrongly sized pictures do more harm than good as pages load slowly and show off GUEST HOUSE in a bad light.
On Line booking
The whole point of the web is the immediacy of the transaction, quick search, view availability and quick booking. Guests do not necessarily want to swap lots of e-mails or phone calls, but wish to make there booking then and there.
Visiting banks to affect transfers is fast becoming a thing of the past – people want to book online and pay online.
Repeat bookings, referrals form happy guests – the very best way of spreading the word on your GUEST HOUSE. Websites are great for maintaining databases of your clients and mailing lists. Newsletter functionality allows you to communicate on mass and regularly.
Complex and difficult websites mean paying developers every time there is a change. Simply back end management systems prevent this. Invest a little time and soon you can put up your own articles and pictures. Before you know it you may find yourself in the world of blogs, twitter and facebook
Choosing a web designer
The proof is in the reality. It’s not just how they look – can you find their sites by searching for them. If not, stay away.
Your web engineer should be able to train you and introduce you to facebook, twitter and other online marketing tools.