Congratulations! You’ve taken a step toward improving your hotel’s online marketing efforts and decided to build an independent website. There are many ways your team can help facilitate a successful, timely site build, and I am here to fill you in on the top three!
Before we dive in, it is important to understand the two different types of website builds Blue Magnet offers: template websites and custom websites. In cases of hotel brand reflagging, there is a third option that involves reworking your existing website to reflect your new hotel brand. Knowing which category your site build falls under will help you understand your involvement in the process.
Type 1: Template Site Build
Template site builds are the most common type of website build among our clients. Blue Magnet offers five different, customizable templates, allowing hoteliers to choose the one that best fits their property’s needs. This type of build is suited for clients who are first time builders and for those looking to upgrade their current website. First time builders benefit from template sites for many reasons. Specifically, template site builds are budget friendly, have a quicker turnaround time, and have good content flexibility despite being a template.
Type 2: Hotel Reflagging
When you are reflagging or rebranding, you have likely already spent time building a website with your Blue Magnet Account Manager under the guidance of our Design and Development team. This means your team is already familiar with the build process and understand that your feedback is critical to moving forward with changes and modifications. This site build requires the least amount of client involvement since the initial site build process was already completed.
What does it mean to reflag a website? Reflagging is the act of rebranding your existing website with your new brand. This entails changing out logos, brand names, service offerings, links, and all other brand affiliations. A content overhaul and photo audit will also take place to ensure we’ve removed old brand standard services as well as images that may contain old brand references or colors.
Type 3: Custom Website Build
While we offer a variety of templates to choose from, you may find none of them fit the style, look, or functionality you want out of a website; therefore, you will want to consider a custom website build. Custom sites take longer to build because the design and functionality are being built from scratch. These builds also require more client participation since there are more decisions to be made throughout the process.
Now that you understand the different site builds Blue Magnet offers clients, let’s dig into the keys to the kingdom I mentioned before.
Key #1: Client input is the most important factor in a successful site build.
No matter what type of independent site build your hotel’s website falls under, the most important aspect is your participation. That’s right, you and your team play a crucial role in the process. Before we begin a site build, your Account Manager will host a kick-off call with the key decision makers on your hotel team, as well as members of our own Design & Development team. This call is critical because it gives your team a better understanding of what we are creating and a clear picture of important deadlines your team will need to meet. On this call, your team will choose a color palette and the template from which your site will be built. Since our Design and Development team averages 60 days to build a website, deadlines are set and we cannot move forward on specific components without having your approval first.
Key #2: Know your hotel’s vision, market, and personality!
One of the best parts of having an independent website is we are able to express the personality of your hotel and show off the wonderful on-site amenities and property in a way brand.com websites just cannot compete with. Clearly communicating your hotel’s voice and personality makes it easier for your Account Manager and the design team to choose visual content for your site – resulting in fewer modifications and back and forth communication throughout the process. It is beneficial to meet with your internal hotel team before the initial kickoff call to get a clear picture of what your team wants out of this website.
Brainstorm with your team:
- Who is our target audience?
- What type of visitors do we want to attract to our hotel?
- What kind of business do we want to increase at our hotel? Weddings? Groups & meetings?
Key #3: Give Us the 4-1-1 on your property.
You know that saying, ‘the devil is in the details’? Well, it applies to your independent website build as well. The more property-specific elements you have on your site, the better it will perform and the more you will stand out from your competition. Sure, these details can be added post-launch, but having the information available to users immediately will increase the chance they will book your hotel for leisure, a meeting, or a wedding. Here are some ideas of website material you may need to give us to ensure your site launches with the best available content:
- Onsite Restaurant Menu
- Happy Hour Menu
- Room Service Menu
- Children’s Menu
- Onsite Bar or Lounge Menu
- Room Dimensions and/or Capacity Charts
- Floor Plans
- Holiday Party Menu
- AV Equipment
- Meeting & Event Catering Menu
- Break refreshment menu
- Plated breakfast, lunch, or dinner menus
- Buffet breakfast, lunch, or dinner menus
- Wedding, Indian Weddings, Quinceanera Catering Menus
- Plated Dinner Menu
- Buffet Dinner Menu
- Floor Plans
- Bridal Shower Packages
- Baby Shower Packages
- Shuttle Schedule
- Shuttle Map
- Preferred Vendors
Now that you have learned the key components necessary for a successful site build, your team can work seamlessly with our Design and Development team to construct an independent website capable of a healthy ROI.
Contact our team with any questions you have about building an independent site to assist your hotel internet marketing initiatives.