7 Things Every B & B and Hotel Website Needs

Cheap Web Design in Blackpool for Hotels

Cheap Blackpool Hotel Web design

8 Things Every Hotel Website in Blackpool Should Have

Approximately 13 million tourists visit Blackpool each year. I repeat, thirteen million. This is a phenomenal figure and Blackpool is by far the most visited seaside resort in the UK. As a Blackpool born and bred (and travelled and worked around the world for 20 years before returning) lass, this figure still absolutely astounds me. As a teenager I worked weekends and holidays in a hotel in Bispham as a waitress and I still remember having to squeeze extra chairs into the dining room each weekend during the Illuminations because the hotel was absolutely full to the brim. Eeeeee, them were’t days!

But enough of the trip down memory lane. What does this mean for hotels and their websites in Blackpool?

Low cost hotel web design in Blackpool

Of those 13 million visitors to Blackpool each year, a proportion of them will simply be day visitors. However that still leaves a huge number of visitors who will be looking for a hotel or B & B in Blackpool to stay in for at least one night. Which means that your website needs to stand out from the crowd. Your website is just one of many out there and visitors need a reason to book on your website, rather than the hotel or B & B next door or down the road from you.

What Does a Blackpool Hotel Website Need?

Mobile friendly Website

Mobile friendly hotel web design
I’m adding mobile friendly right at the top of the list. Why? Because I can’t stress how important this is, not just for hotel websites but for every single website out there. If your website isn’t mobile friendly you need to make it mobile friendly now or I can guarantee that you’re losing business.
Not sure what mobile friendly means? Basically it’s a version of your website that is easy to read on a phone or tablet. If your website looks identical when viewed on a phone as it does on a desktop, then it’s not mobile friendly. If you need to zoom in to read the text, then it’s not mobile friendly. And the sure fire way to know that your site isn’t mobile friendly is if a message from Google appears at the bottom of the page that says “make page mobile friendly”.

So, I think that you can guess that I think that this is important. But why? Imagine that you’re either sat on your settee dreaming of visiting Blackpool or perhaps you’re already in Blackpool for the day and have decided to stay overnight. The chances are that you’re going to go to your smart phone and start browsing for somewhere to stay. And if your site isn’t mobile friendly and information is hard to find, then people are going to immediately leave your site and move onto another. If you were the only hotel in town and people had no choice, then they would (possibly) persevere with your site regardless. However, competition is fierce in Blackpool and you need to keep ahead of the game.

So if you have a hotel website that looks wonderful on a desktop but not so great on a mobile, then I can’t recommend highly enough that you either have a mobile version designed, or have your website redesigned from scratch (sometimes cheaper).

A Great Homepage

Welcome Hotel Homepage

Every hotel and B & B in Blackpool will have something unique about it. If it’s a B & B this is probably the owners themselves and their ability to make guests feel welcome. Or perhaps you’ve got the best sea views in town (lucky you!) or your breakfast is organic. Whatever it is, let your site visitors know this on your homepage. The homepage is usually the page that visitors see first and so this is your chance to make a great impression.
Really think about what you and your Blackpool hotel or B & B offers that’s special and make sure your website visitors know about as soon as they arrive at your site.

Great Images of Your B &B

Hotel Bedroom Image for Website

It goes without saying that in the hotel industry, having great photos of your accommodation is a must. Along with price, these images will be the deciding factor in whether or not somebody books your accommodation.

If you’re a small B & B it’s a really nice idea for people to know which rooms the photographs are of. Tell your web designer that you want your images to display a caption showing the name or number of the room. If somebody wants to book that room then, they can tell you the name or the number rather than asking to book “the bedroom on your website that has the blue duvet cover in it and the picture of Blackpool on the wall.”

Also don’t forget to take images of your public areas also. If you’ve got a lovely breakfast room or a lounge area with a real fire or wood burner, these can be the deciding factor in whether or not somebody books with you. Make sure you show off all the best bits of your Blackpool hotel or B & B.

Cheap Online Booking System for Blackpool Hotels

Cheap Online Hotel Booking System

I need to try and write the next section without offending anybody. I have personally spoken to hoteliers who swear that they don’t need an online booking system and that “I’ve done alright up to now without one, thank you very much.” Without wishing to offend, you are wrong. You’re failing to move with the times and are missing out on business. Ten years ago I heard hoteliers saying “I’ve not got a website, don’t need one and have done alright without one up to now, thank you very much.” Those same people finally (some many years later) realised that in fact they did need a website. Hopefully sooner or later all hoteliers will also realise that they need an online booking system.

So why is an online booking system so important? According to Travel Weekly, 80% of people book their holiday online. People don’t want to pick up the phone and ask if there’s availability etc. They want to find their accommodation and book it there and then. If you don’t offer this facility then you are losing business.  And don’t think that an online booking system has to be expensive.  It can be cheaper than you think, plus commission free, other than the commission that you pay PayPal (which you’d be paying similar to accept credit/debit cards anyway).

And finally if you do have an online booking system, then make sure that it works. In my research for this article to look at the various online booking systems being used by Blackpool B & Bs and hotels, I came across two fairly large hotels whose booking systems weren’t working. I have to say I was pretty shocked. Personally if there’s a choice of places to stay and an online booking system isn’t working I won’t bother calling instead, I’ll move onto the next hotel to book.

Reviews

Hotel Reviews

I can’t stress how important reviews are for your business if you run a B & B or Hotel in Blackpool. There are a couple of ways that you can show people your reviews:
• Sign up to a site like Trip Advisor. This isn’t everybody’s cup of tea and there has been much negative press about it because of the number of supposedly fake negative reviews. However there is nothing more powerful and credible than reading positive reviews on Trip Advisor. And don’t forget that if you do receive a negative review then you have the opportunity to respond. This is a great way to turn a negative into a positive. If somebody complains about your B & B and you respond graciously and apologetically and show great customer service, then it won’t be detrimental to your business. Call them liars and tell them that they’d never be welcome back again and your reputation can be left on tatters.

• Ask guests for reviews yourself. These can then be added to your website. It’s not quite as effective but these should still be on your website

• Google reviews. You hopefully have a Google My Business page set up for your Blackpool B & B (if not, Google it right now and do it!). Getting reviews on this page is not only a great way to show how good you are, but this is also a leading factor in local SEO.

Your Facilities

Hotel Facilities

This is pretty obvious, but let people know what facilities your Blackpool B & B offers. This might include:
• WiFi is pretty much expected these days but (good) Wifi isn’t always available. Let people know if you offer this
• Bar
• Mini bar
• Transfer from train station
• Tea & Coffee (does anybody not offer this?). If you offer home made biscuits, even better. Let people know
• Lounge area
• En-suite (hopefully!)
• Books to borrow
• Dinner
• Swimming pool
• Spa
Don’t take it for granted that people will know about your facilities. Blow your own trumpet. And if they can be photographed, then even better.

Map/Directions/Distances

Blackpool Map

Make sure that people can find out exactly where you are. It’s really easy to embed a Google map into your website. I’d also recommend writing directions on how to find your B & B. You can describe how to get to your B & B better than Google can and it just shows a personal touch.

Content Management System

OK, so this isn’t essential, but something I’d highly recommend.  A Content Management System (CMS) is a system that allows you to log into your website and make changes, without having to pay your web designer/developer every single time.  You may have changed decor and want to change the images.  Or perhaps you want to run a special offer.  Or change room rates.  Or add a fantastic review that a customer has left in your Visitor’s Book.  It means that you can log in and simply make the changes.

Hotel Website Summary

I know that most of the above are pretty obvious and go without saying.  However, if you look at many of the Blackpool B & B websites some of these very basic elements are missing.  If your Blackpool B & B or Hotel website needs an overhaul, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a quote.  You’ll be surprised at how affordable a new, beautiful, responsive website with online booking system could be.

diane

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