The design, organization, and development of a bed and breakfast’s website is key to its success, primarily in the form of direct revenue, but also guest satisfaction. In Skift’s 2014 State of Travel report, ease of reservation and website satisfaction rank #1 and #4 respectively for hotel customer satisfaction.
Many B&Bs are hamstrung with a less than desirable, outdated website. This often leads to reduced reservations and lackluster guest satisfaction.
But fear not: The Odysys team has compiled a list of key elements to B&B owners should consider as they embark on a website build or re-design.
Anatomy of an effective B&B website:
- Design an experience that resonates with the people you want to reach. Your website should create an instant positive emotional impression. Great photography can be an effective way to do this. Consider the needs and wants of your target audience, the draw of the surrounding area, and the strengths of your property.
- Make it fast. Don’t lose visitors by taking more than a few seconds to load your site. Fast sites lead to higher visitor engagement and conversions. Optimize your images, limit data heavy media, and ensure your site is developed using modern best practices. Google has several useful resources to ensure your site is dialed in.
- Design for mobile first. In 2014, more than 40% of Americans booked travel reservations on a mobile device. That’s up 20% from the same period the year prior. Whether you’re using a mobile-friendly reservation system or taking phone calls, your site needs to look good on a mobile device.
- Have a content strategy. Staying at a bed & breakfast is a lifestyle experience. Create a content strategy that is useful to potential visitors and conveys your property’s uniqueness. Focus on creating non-property content, such as “7 nearby places to hike” or highlighting local vineyards. Create useful resources, not self-promoting marketing content.
- Don’t forget about search engine optimization. Understand the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Stick to Google’s documented best practices. Give visitors the information they are looking for and don’t fall for a spammy SEO scam. Keep it simple: Make your content accessible and write great content.
- Encourage visitors to connect. Bed & breakfasts are, by their nature, social places. It makes sense to create a connection online as well. Social media is the de facto method of sharing experiences. Your website should encourage sharing experiences with easy social integration. Don’t go overboard with a bunch of ugly sharing buttons. Instead, focus on social media channels that you regularly take part in.
Remember: A great website leads to more reservations and and improved guest experience.