Why websites are important to the Tourism and Hospitality trade!
06 Dec 2014
How many of you have been excited about going on holiday, sat down at your computer to start planning it, and within an hour are so frustrated that you resort to the telephone to make enquiries & bookings?? I know I have!
I love travelling, especially holidays I plan myself! In the "old” days I used to pour through brochures at the travel agents & get an international phone directory from the post office, then proceed to run up a large phone bill ringing around the world asking for information to be sent to me. I ended up with sooo many brochures!
Now things are different, we have the Web. The web is full of holiday stuff…..
Let’s stop right there!
The Web IS full of holiday stuff, BUT how much of it is actually working in the owners favour? How many of these tourism & hospitality websites have the following problems with their websites?
- The website either doesn’t work, or ‘kind of’ works, or will only work on your desktop PC/Mac and not on your SmartPhone or Tablet?
- The writing is too small or you can't click on a link because the link is too small. The website wasn't made responsive for mobile devices, so you have to pinch & pull to try and read it?
- It dosn't have clickable phone (to automatically dial) or address links (to take you to their location on maps), and you don't have a pen to write the phone number or address down
- The website isn't really telling you much information?
- It's difficult to find rates/prices/availability/tour times, or it doesn’t show currency conversions or a link to a currency converter? (Bookings are often made from the country of origin before they leave)
- The website doesn't inform you if there is parking at or nearby, and whether it's free or paid parking
- It has out of date prices, no seasonal prices, seasonal discount prices, and addition items prices?
- It doesn't show you what kind of establishment it is? Is it a hotel, B&B, self catering, etc?
- It has an incorrect location pin in a Google map of their location, but our GPS’s are taking us 100km away from our destination? (zoom in to the map to get a more accurate position of your location)
- The website has fancy visual navigation on their website that doesn't work on everything, and doesn't really take you anywhere when it does?
- The website loads very slow on mobile devices?
- The website of the location you are after isn't being found when looking on Google or any other search engine?
- When looking for a referral, the business isn't being recommended on social networks or travel networks?
- There is no online contact method?
- The websites wastes bandwidth by playing music or autoplay videos on viewing the website?
- It has bad photography that either doesn't show the establishment in a good light, or the photos are very poor quality, or there is a lack of photos, or accommodation that doesn't show room or facility photos?
- It doesn’t make it clear which country it’s in? (there is a Perth in Scotland & Australia & Canada)
- It doesn't tell you items of interest in the area? (it always help to promote each others businesses in a commnunity)
- The website doesn't tell you modes or distances of transport to their establishment from the nearest city/terminal?
- The website doesn't state if the establishment, park or venue caters to children, is accessible, or requires a required skill level (does it have a lot of stairs, is it close to an unfenced cliff or water supply, etc)
When you think about how many tourism & hospitality websites you may have visited while planning your travels, how many of them actually fulfilled 50% of the above. It really is amazing that anyone ever got found or booked! But we put up with it. Until now!
There is NO reason why you can’t have a proper functioning website. If you’re engaging a web professional, they should be able to deliver on the above criteria. Most of the above comes down to planning. If you’re not happy with the way your current website works, then discuss this with your designer or look further afield for a designer that knows what they are doing. This isn't rocket science. Any designer worth the money you invest in your website should know how to present you at your best, with clear instructions & web tools that work.
If your business is important to you, then your website should be too. It is as much a part of your business as your front door. Yes they cost money, but they are an investment in future bookings & trade. For what you spend on print advertising a year, you could have a website that will last a lot longer.
But if you haven’t got a website yet, then it really is time you considered having one. When customers are looking for accommodation or things to do, you really have no excuse for missing out on their trade. If you are a small business & can’t afford a website investment just yet, then set yourself up a business page on one of the social networks or travel networks. You will be gaining exposure, being talked about & maybe recommended, your business name is becoming known. Then, when you are ready to have a website, you have somewhere to announce your websites progress, it’s launch date and be able to promote it there.
How do we know all this? Because we are web developers who love to travel. We've camped in the caravan parks & used Internet cafes, and we know the complaints that websites get. We also know what we hate when trying to plan & book holidays. We know there are a lot of travellers out there using mobile technology such as Samsungs, iPhones, HTC, Blackberries, Galaxy Tabs, Lenovos, Surface, Kindles, iPads, notebooks, just to name a few, to book their holiday routes. We also know which websites users say to stay clear of because they are slow to load, crash computers, or are just useless. Don’t be one of the "bad” websites.
Also, remember… it’s not just the tourist you could be losing, you could be losing a lot of business travel too. Busy business men/women or their staff that plan their travels, have no patience for lack lustre websites or ringing around. They like their information quickly & efficiently. Don’t exclude the business traveller from your target audience.
If you are interested in getting the most out of your website, or are thinking of getting a new one, then pop over & visit us at TOLRAnet. A chat & a quote are free. So what have you got to lose?
We can also help you with keeping in touch with previous customers & clients with the aid of newsletters & social media. Return business is always good!
Have a GREAT 2014-2015 tourist season!!
Web Producer, Creative Director, Content Creator & Distributor at clearFusion Digital, & specializes in helping businesses plan & grow their website.