We know that people surf around before they purchase or book anything online. The question becomes, how do you stand up to your competitors in terms of wowing visitors with your website design and function? Is your travel destination website the one that Internet surfers compare all others to, or is it the one that people curl up their nose at and leave or bounce out of before finding out what you truly have to offer? We all are aware of the fact that aesthetic appeal is incredibly important in turning a visitor into a sale or a hotel booking. So why are there so many unattractive and outdated websites out there? The answer is that business owners get attached to their websites and lose the critical eye necessary to evaluate ever-changing and advancing website designs.
When is the last time you checked out the the travel industry by visiting your competitors’ websites? I do not simply mean the hotel or bed and breakfast down the street, but the travel websites that have great Internet presence? Most likely, “Internet competitors” are an entirely different group than what they consider their real competition.
Even without a tracker, you can find out whether or not it is time for a new design for your travel destination or lodging website. The task is to find four or five of your top internet competitors, as well as location-specific competitors, and surf through their websites. Ask yourself the questions below about each one.
Naturally a business owner will be biased towards their own website, so ask a number of people from whom you can get genuine answers.
COMPARE THE FIVE SITES:
1. Are you sucked-in once you view the home page? Is there the “wow” factor?
2. Is it easy to find what you are looking for?
3. Can you book or purchase online? Is it easy?
4. Are the pictures captivating?
5. Is there an attractive flash show?
6. Is it easy to navigate throughout the website?
7. What don’t you like? Make sure you are not duplicating on your own website what you were critical of on your competitor’s site.
8. Is the website optimized and search engine friendly?
9. Of the five, which one would you book with from looking at the home page alone?
10. Of the five, which one would you book with from looking at the entire website?
In gathering answers to these questions from a number of people, it should be clear whether or not you need a new design, or should at least consider it. Often, we hear from business owners, “everyone says they love my website.” But those people who left your lodging website and booked elsewhere aren’t going to call you to tell you they hated your hotel website. It is important to put your own feelings and attachments aside and look to your client or customer needs.
If you would like a detailed analysis of your website design, contact your account manager. If you would like a quote for a new design, please contact our Business Development Department at Info@BlizzardInternet.com.
Katie White – Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc.