Having delved around a large number of hotel / B&B / holiday cottage websites as the holiday season kicks off, it occurred to me that some obviously haven’t asked customers for feedback on whether the website delivers what they want to see.
For a start, there’s the website I talked about in my last post where the photographs differed dramatically from the reality. I, as a potential customer, would have preferred to see exactly what I was getting i.e. a dismal, dated and tired-looking hotel room rather than the snazzy boutique suites which the vast majority of travellers can’t afford. Yes, it would probably have put me off, but at least the website would have told me the whole truth. And perhaps it would be an incentive for the hotel to refubish the offending rooms.
On hotel / B&B / self-catering cottage websites I always go for the photo gallery because I want to see what I’m going to get. Yet so often I find ‘mood’ photos of flower vases, candles and so on which could be of literally anywhere. I want to see what I’m getting for my money – proper photos along with great copywriting that tells me everything I need to know.
Sometimes there are no photos at all except for a tiny photo of a cottage exterior. Having been lured into some real pigsties by some pretty little exterior photos in my time, I want to see exactly what’s behind the front door.
A B&B website I came across describes a holiday cottage run by the owners, yet there isn’t a link to it, just instructions on how to Google to find out more information. I hear they’re selling the cottage. I wonder if it’s because no-one could ever find it online – or simply couldn’t be bothered to do a search?
Creating a website, in this case for the hospitality industry, is a bit like insisting that the owners or managers spend a night or two in the room / property themselves. This way they can see what’s missing, whether mirrors are positioned at the right height and in a convenient place, ditto plug sockets, whether showers are powerful enough, whether lighting is bright enough, whether there are enough occasional tables, shelves or drawers, and whether anything needs fixing. (And why oh why do holiday cottages always have things like rolling pins? Who on earth goes on holiday to bake pastry or biscuits? A corkscrew and decent wine glasses, yes, but please no rolling pins!)
So when you’ve designed your basic website, whether it’s hotels, holiday cottages or any product or service for that matter, get someone else to give it the once-over as if they were a potential customer. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and do the same. Add the things that are missing, then ask customers for feedback, just as you would with your products or services.
Does your website work for them? And if not, then why not?