A Content Management System (CMS) is the platform on which a modern hotel’s website is typically built. Just a few years ago, programs like Dreamweaver, Contribute, FrontPage and Adobe GoLive were more commonly used tools to update a website. Now, a whole new generation of content management systems allows multiple individuals to share in the care and feeding of a website: designers, programmers, administrators, clients, SEO specialists and bloggers.
Choosing a new CMS is a big decision – a CMS that is a good fit can put you in hotel heaven or a bad fit into hotel hell. Here are Blizzard Internet’s top 9 tips to consider when choosing a new Content Management system for a hotel or resort.
- Easy management of special features ~ prioritized by use. A CMS system needs to accommodate the most frequently made changes with grace. Beyond general content updates, tourism websites may need:
- An event calendar that is easy to manage
- Image management and photo upload tool
- A packages or special management tool
- A banner ad or graphic rotator to feature specials or partners
- A full-featured blog is always a nice addition to any website
- Search engine performance is clearly non-negotiable! Don’t even consider a CMS that doesn’t allow you to manage the following SEO elements:
- Meta description
- Meta keyword
- H1 tag
- Anchor text
- Your URL’s are important. Don’t settle for a content management system that doesn’t create flexible URLs. URLs should be friendly and manageable.
- Getting locked into a CMS provider is risky. A CMS system should be open and non-proprietary. Look for a CMS with a large group of developers and providers. Open source CMS like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are extensively used worldwide. Blizzard Internet uses and recommends WordPress. Hotels move their websites to new vendors every couple of years. Before you buy a new CMS, find out if you can move your website to another provider if you are not pleased (and keep the CMS intact of course!).
- Hosting platforms may matter. The LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/Php) platform is probably the most popular. Developers like it for being fast, inexpensive inexpensive and secure. The alternative Microsoft platform is still also widely used and tends to cost a bit more overall. Blizzard Internet has used the Microsoft platform for years, and still does, but we greatly prefer working on the open source LAMP platform.
- It takes a village. Make sure your CMS allows multiple users to login and make changes. Providing different levels of access and tracking changes are two features many tourism websites value.
- Simple, simple, simple. For Goodness sake, make sure your CMS is simple to use as possible… generally the more powerful the CMS, the harder it is to use. Having an overpowered CMS may be as bad as an underpowered CMS!
- Honestly assess your internal resources. Is your staff really up to the job of updating websites? Do they have time? A CMS is rewarding to a company that has talented and dedicated internal resources updating and adding content. A CMS is only as good as its users!
Many other considerations also go into a new content management system for any hotel, resort or tourist business.
What do you think should be added?