Some of the common pitfalls that independent hotels face when starting their own website can lead to expensive and incredibly unpleasant consequences. Find out below what some of them are.
When starting a new website for your hotel, you have two options:
- Use a custom, proprietary content management system (CMS) developed by a specialized company or a freelance web developer.
- Use a popular, open-source software to power your website, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.
1. Using a proprietary CMS for a hotel’s website
In theory, using a proprietary CMS is a good idea: you get software built by a developer (or a team of developers) specifically for your website and your needs. You make a list of what you want on your website, and some weeks/months later, you get your product.
However, in reality, for small hotels this can be an awful long-term decision. Here is why:
1.1. They are Expensive
Proprietary solutions for hotels are often too expensive. It is financially absurd for a small independent hotel to throw a couple thousand dollars on a website. It is no surprise to see a bill for $X.XXX for a custom CMS.
When you decide to make some changes to the website, most probably you will have to hire the same developer(s) to do it for you. The bills will keep coming and coming.
There are also subscription-based (cloud) solutions that don’t have a setup fee, just a monthly fee for as long as you decide to use the product.
Even if these monthly fees can look insignificant at first, at the end of the year it can add up to $1.000 – $3.000.
And the worst part? When you decide to leave, you can’t take anything with you, maybe just the content (text and images). So you will have to start your website from scratch. Now you found yourself in a financial trap.
1.2. Limited Support
If you are hiring a freelance developer to create your hotel’s website, chances are that you will find it hard to get timely, efficient support. Your e-mails can go full weeks without an answer, if not ignored completely.
This leads to hiring other developers, which in turn have to mess with someone else’s code. Your website’s code gets bloated, inconsistent and inefficient.
1.3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is Outdated
Search Engines update their algorithms constantly. It takes time and effort to keep up with these dynamic changes. Something that was OK last week, tomorrow can be frowned upon.
A custom website content management system will have difficulties keeping up, especially if it is no longer updated by the developer.
2. WordPress for Hotels: Unprecedented Value
WordPress is FREE, open-source software, with hundreds of volunteers contributing code to constantly improve WordPress, used daily by millions of people.
WordPress is a smart, efficient and affordable solution for any small or medium business, such as hotels, B&Bs, resorts, SPAs, etc.
Getting a professional, beautiful and modern website has never been so easy. Here are some reasons why you should choose WordPress for your hotel’s website:
2.1. Easy to Get Started with WordPress
Installing WordPress on your website takes just a couple of minutes. Some hosting providers even offer one-click installations of WordPress, which makes it even easier.
2.2. WordPress is Easy to Maintain
Maintaining WordPress is incredibly easy thanks to automatic updates. Click a button and a few seconds later your software is updated. No hassle, no code, nothing. Peace of mind at the cost of a simple mouse click.
2.3. WordPress is Popular with Businesses
According to recent statistics, over 23% of newly registered websites choose WordPress. If big companies like Ford, Sony, Samsung, CNN, Yahoo, etc. use WordPress for parts of their websites, you can rest assured that it will be good for your hotel’s website as well.
2.4. Search Engines Love WordPress
Websites using WordPress get indexed faster and more efficiently. The software is developed with SEO in mind, so there is very little you have to worry about. But if you decide to take it even further, there are free WordPress plugins developed specifically for SEO. No wonder that WordPress is the first tool of choice for many experts marketers from around the world.
2.5. Complete Separation of Content and Design
WordPress beautifully manages to separate content and code(design). Thanks to this, it is incredibly easy to switch from one theme (design) to another. Content is not lost, everything is safely kept in the database. Don’t like your current theme? Switch to another one with just a click of the button.
2.6. The Community Around WordPress is Amazing
WordPress is amazing thanks to the professional and friendly community formed around it. If you ever need a developer for some custom features on your hotel’s website, you shouldn’t have problems finding good people. There are numerous professionals doing excellent custom work.
WordPress is great for small and medium hotels because it can save you time and money. It is cheap and easy to setup and maintain.
Five years ago it could cost over $5.000 to get a website similar to what you can have now for $200. If the website can get you 3 additional clients per year (and it will), then it completely paid for itself.
Have your Say
Have you used (or considered using) WordPress for a hotel’s website? What were the things that made you choose WordPress, and were you happy with the results? Please comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.
WordPress Themes & Website Support for Independent Hotels & Inns
HermesThemes is a family-run business that helps independent hoteliers and innkeepers create, maintain and improve their websites. Since launching in 2013 we have helped hundreds of independent property owners to take control and make sense of it all.