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#AskDJV – Episode 26: How Does Hotel Information Architecture Affect Your Website Design?

Hello everyone! Thanks for watching this week’s episode of the #AskDJV Show! In Episode 26, I’m talking about how your hotel information architecture can affect your website design.

Want more #AskDJV? Visit our website to view all of the episodes we’ve posted.

Check back here every Friday for the latest episode and follow me on Periscope (@DJVallauri) and Meerkat.

Do you have a question for me?

Tweet me @DJVallauri using the hashtag #AskDJV, and your question could be featured on the show!

Until next week!

A Real-Life Look at the Downside of Renting a Website for Your Hotel

I had such a sad telephone conversation with a General Manager yesterday. It was so sad and disappointing, in fact, that I wanted to share it with you here. Let it be a cautious tale about renting a hotel website…

The conversation started with the GM just looking to get some information about whether Lodging Interactive might be able help him drive more business and booked revenues into his hotel.

You see he proceeded to tell me he had his “new” website created and launched about 8 months ago and ever since the first month his search engine rankings and subsequent direct online bookings had dropped. He was now only getting 1-2 bookings per month!

To make matters worse, and just as I figured, his hotel’s website was nowhere to be found within Google search engine results. He told me that prior to his “new” website, his old site always ranked well and booking volumes were very good.

So I asked him, “what happened?”

What happened was that he signed with a vendor that promised him a fully optimized, latest technology website. A website with full content management so he could manage the site himself.

And the cost for this “new” site? He is renting it for $100 per month.

He invited me to log into the website’s Content Management System with him to take a look around and see if my firm could help to optimize his site. I jumped at the chance to look under the hood of how a cheap and ineffective website worked, or this case didn’t work.

To our mutual horror we confirmed there was no onsite optimization and the website was only ONE PAGE. Wait, his previous website had over 20 pages and now he had only one page?!  What’s that all about?  So we poked around to see where additional pages could be added.  No such luck. The GM was stuck with his one page website.

So here was a one page website with no optimization, a proprietary content management system that won’t allow him to add new pages, no search engine rankings and 1-2 bookings per month. He asked me what he should do. Unfortunately I had to deliver the bad news.

There was nothing he could do except throw away this disaster of a website and start again from scratch with a proper website design and build. I could sense tears running down his cheeks as he expressed concerns on how to tell his hotel owner.

All in all, the GM did technically get what he paid for — I guess that is the good news if there ever was any in this story. Probably less stellar news for the GM is that when he tells the hotel owner what he’s uncovered about the low-cost, rental website he bought into, the owner will likely be looking for two things: a new GM and a new website for his property.

Demystifying the Concept of Renting Your Website Versus Buying Your Website

I often hear of hoteliers deciding to “rent” their website versus paying a developer or agency to create a site. Most of the time hoteliers are presented a slick sales pitch for why “renting” a template-based website is in the hotelier’s best interest. This is so far from the truth that I want to clarify for those who might still be confused about “renting” versus buying.

Website Design Based on Prefabricated Templates

Your hotel is unique. Your service is unique. These are items that separate you from your competitive set. Why would anyone think that your website shouldn’t be unique as well; uniquely emphasizing your points of differentiation? Yet the “rental” sales rep assures you that having your hotel website look like hundreds (thousands?) is ok and the new way to design websites. Really?

Proprietary CMS Provides Ultimate Control

This is truly laughable. Having a proprietary Content Management System only assures you will never have control of your website. Remember your website ONLY works with the back end CMS. If one day you decide to leave this vendor, your website CMS cannot go with you. At that point your website is rendered useless and all the costs you sunk into it are for naught. Always select an open source platform CMS such as WordPress. Open source CMS platforms ensure any agency can operate your website in the future. If you’d like to test what I’m saying, ask the “rental” agent who owns the digital assets that make up your website? Watch out for the fancy footwork on this one.

Renting Your Website is the Lowest Cost Solution

This, in fact, may be true as startup costs are minimal, usually a few hundred dollars. After all you’re just selecting your website from prefabricated templates remember. Ongoing, you only pay a small “rental” fee and you’re good to go. But any smart hotelier will know that you get what you pay for in life; there is no such thing as a “free lunch”. So ask yourself, or better yet the “rental” agent, considering the low monthly fee how much time will be spent on marketing and identifying ways to drive business to your website? The answer is clear to me, not much time as no business can stay in business if it’s not making money. Time is money.

Interested in learning more about investing in you website?
Read about Lodging Interactive‘s website services or contact me.

Lodging Interactive Wins Multiple Awards for Excellence in Website Design

The hospitality industry’s full-service digital marketing agency has been honored with three awards for outstanding achievement in hotel and resort website design

Lodging Interactive, a worldwide-recognized leader in digital marketing and innovative web design exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, is the proud recipient of multiple Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in website design from the Interactive Media Council Inc.

This month, the Interactive Media Council Inc. recognized three property websites recently built by Lodging Interactive by awarding the second highest honor given by the IMC. Two of the award-winning sites feature responsive design – an innovative web design aimed at optimal viewing and seamless navigation across web-based, tablet and smartphone platforms.IMA 2014 Winner Icon

The 2014 IMA award-winning websites include:

Courtyard Marriott New York LaGuardia, Fitzpatrick Hotel Group and Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf websites were chosen from thousands of entries. The Interactive Media Council Inc. grants Outstanding Achievement Awards in the Hotel/Resort category to websites that “represent a very high standard of planning, execution and overall professionalism,” according to the Interactive Media Council Inc. The IMAs, an annual international award that honors excellence in web development and design across a number of industries, are judged by members of the council.

“We are thrilled to be recognized once again by the IMC and its members,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. “Lodging Interactive consistently wins awards because of our commitment to the full-service customer experience, which includes but goes beyond website design. Our expertise in managing website content, online reputation management and social content all play a role in these successes.”

For nearly 15 years, Lodging Interactive has provided more than 700 hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in over 40 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services including: website design and development, search engine and social media marketing as well as online reputation management and social customer care. The full-service agency also developed website management tools for optimizing search, maximizing bookings and fostering engagement.

“Lodging Interactive offers more than website design,” Vallauri said. “Our complete suite of digital marketing and social media engagement services provide real solutions and a customized approach for each of our clients.”

Visit Lodging Interactive’s website for more details on the full suite of services built exclusively for the hospitality industry.

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About Lodging Interactive

Lodging Interactive, headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry for more than a decade. The company provides a portfolio of effective hotel Internet marketing services to hundreds of hotels, resorts, ownership properties, spas and restaurants. Clients include branded hotels from nearly every major brand as well as prestigious, landmark independent hotels.

Through its CoMMingle Social Media Marketing Agency operating division, the company offers hospitality focused and fully managed outsourced hotel social media marketing customized solutions. In addition the company offers Social Voices, the hospitality industry’s first 24/7/365 day a year Social Customer Care service (www.socialvoices.com).

Lodging Interactive has been recognized as a leader by the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Web Marketing Association and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards. It is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and is a Preferred Vendor for Best Western International. Lodging Interactive is a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). For more information please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com or at 877-291-4411 ext 701. The company’s website is located at www.lodginginteractive.com.

Lodging Interactive Wins Travel Weekly’s Magellan & W3 Awards For Excellence

Lodging Interactive, an award winning Interactive and Social Media Marketing Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, today announced it has won two prestigious industry awards for its work on the Wyndham Garden Hotel New York Time Square South.

“The Travel Weekly Magellan Awards honor the best in travel and acknowledge the outstanding web designers behind it all,” said Mr. DJ Vallauri, Founder & President of Lodging Interactive.  “Our team is honored to, once again, have been bestowed the prestigious Travel Weekly Magellan Award.”

Lodging Interactive was also awarded a W3 Silver Award for design excellence from the International Academy of The Visual Arts. The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning sites, marketing programs, and video work created for the web. The W3 Awards received over 3,000 entries from Ad Agencies, Public Relations Firms, Interactive Agencies, In-house creative professionals, Web Designers, Graphic designers and Web Enthusiasts.

Lodging Interactive Wins Design Honors at 2010 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards, Winning Multiple Design Awards

Magellan2

PARSIPPANY, NJ , September 27, 2010
Lodging Interactive, an award winning Interactive and Social Media
Marketing Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, today
announced that is has been awarded multiple Travel Weekly Magellan
Awards for its superior website designs.  Travel Weekly Magellan Awards
were presented for Lodging Interactive’s website design for the Hotel
and Resort Overall Mid-scale categories.

The Travel Weekly Magellan
Awards honors a broad range of industry segments including Hotel and
Resorts, Travel Destinations, Online Travel Services, Airlines and
Airports, Travel Agents and Agencies, Tour Operators and Car Rental
Companies. 

“Travel Weekly Magellan Awards
represents the best in travel and salutes the outstanding travel
professionals behind it all,” stated Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging
Interactive’s Founder & President. “We are grateful to have been
bestowed multiple awards of excellence for ourselves and our clients.”

View award winning websites:

 

http://www.HomewoodSuitesChicago.com

 

http://www.thewilshiregrandhotel.com/

 

Lodging Interactive
is proud to add its Travel Weekly Magellan Awards to the Interactive
Media Awards it previously won earlier in 2010.

Podcast: CoMMingle Social Media Marketing For Hotels

Hot out of the studio, we're pleased to release our CoMMingle Social Media Marketing for Hotels podcast.  Twelve minutes you can listen to online or download into your iPod!

Lodging Interactive  makes sure your ears and eyes are tuned into the ever changing, ever important marketing component of "Social Media" and the impact it can have on your property.  Get Tips on how to measure the reach of your Social Media footprint.

Visit CoMMingle  and see how we can assist you in the jungle of Social Media vines most hoteliers get tangled in…It's all here on HotelCast 2.0!