Unsolicited advice for fellow hoteliers…

I have been working in Sales & Marketing in international luxury hotels for the past 10 years and am now on the “other side”, in online marketing.

With this background, and currently researching hotels in Europe, my head is spinning from the number of webpages I am looking at, and I simply can’t understand why there is so many lousy web appearances out there. Not talking about hostals or road side motels….. talking about what is supposed to be luxury. Unfortunately it is apparently not very high on the list of some DOSMs, or even worse, marketing departments of corporations.

So, taking the liberty here of pointing out some do’s and don’t’s

  • Language button clearly visible… I do speak some languages, but not good enough to go through a whole www in Italian
  • No music à slows down loading time…. And is definitely not everybody’s taste. (might be an opera singer at the Scala Milano…. But shouldn’t be the music of a hotel’s website (www.grandhoteletdemilan.it)
  • No flash – apparently some marketing professionals and cyber agencies haven’t heard yet that Steve Jobs didn’t like flash and no apple device is currently running a flash properly à visitor lost
  • Big pictures – these hotels are certainly amazing. I just can’t get them to load here. If the hotel is interested in a direct booking on their web, good luck. Every visitor will abandon and book elsewhere (so commission will have to be paid), if he is booking that hotel at all as driving him to an online travel agency is actually risking to lose the booking completely
  • Small pictures – there’s nothing to hide… so just find a healthy compromise middle of the road
  • The wording….. “best kept secret” sounds nice…. But why the hell would you want to keep it secret? In the end, it’s a business. Or, “the brand new hotel opened in 2003”. Wait, 9 years old is brand new? Or did somebody just forget to check www? Nothing worse than outdated pages.
  • The plug ins…. Facebook, twitter, tmblr, etc etc . make sure, that if you have these badges, there is actually somebody behind it, and managing those. It doesn’t look good at all when I click on the twitter badge, and a twitter profile page pops up with next to nothing on it… no tweets, not following anybody etc … it’s free, but you probably paid somebody to add the badge to the site, so start using it
  • Intriguing the visitor might be nice, but when he wants to get in touch, let him do that. Alpina Gstaad, has a very elegant landing page… but there’s no contact email, phone, anything. Good it opens in December 2012, but maybe with not as many guests as hoped for if they can’t get more info 6 months out. And seriously, it’s hospitality, so open the doors, also the virtual ones! www.thealpinagstaad.ch
  • Meridien… chic and experience is ok, but I wasn’t able to find the rooms section… am I blonde or is it non discriminating just hidden somewhere?
  • Definitely NOGO….blinking, turning and bright colors…. (relaix Strasbourg)
  • No people in pics…. And even less if the pics are as bad as those (www.hotelmajestic.com)


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