Re Web Site Discussions

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gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

On another Forum, there was discussion on crappy web sites. I stated my site had been designed by someone who understood B & B and that I believed sites should use the KISS system - Keep It Simple for the Stupid as we all know people do not read. I received this e-mail this morning:

Please don't be offended and I don't usually respond to Linkedin topics but your website was not designed by someone who knows the B&B industry. Some simple suggestions, if you don't mind.

Your call to action to make reservations is the last thing in your navigation. No phone, maybe you don't want calls and that is OK but making it easy to book is paramount. Someone should not have to search to find out how to contact you.

I looked at my web site this morning after reading this. Yes, Book Now is at the bottom of the menu - BUT it is prominent and it takes one to the online reservations. My phone number is at the bottom of my pages, comes up on the map on the Directions page, and is on my Specials page in the GC paragraph. I am not anon here. I DO get a lot of phone reservations. So my question is this - Should I put my phone number in another place - and if so where do you suggest?

I am not offended by this e-mail (other than to imply my designer did not know B & B). The e-mailer also implied my bounce rate would tell me if this was effective (saying 30% was too high). Do not know my bounce rate - I am not techie and would not have a clue what to change or how to change it anyway.

OK - have at me. I can take it.

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05/30/2008

I agree with Maddie that if you want your *Book Now* link to your online rez & your phone number contact to really jump out at potential guests, it needs to be in the upper right of each of your pages.  People just don't like to even look at the bottom of a list or scroll to look for anything...

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Hotelogix's picture
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Hi there, 

I am into online marketing and what this person has written to you makes sense

The call to action on any page should be visible without having to browse down on the page. Visitors usually dont want to read too much, they would prefer getting the information right in front of them. so i would reckon keeping your information limited to what guest are looking for. 

Highlight the unique part of your B&B, make sure they are visible and highlighted eg pricing, call to action, benefits, advantages, and whatever is special and unique compared to your competitors. 

Contacts and social media icons like facebook, twitter etc should look good on the top right hand side of the page. i would suggest you have them on each page. Looking at your website, i find that area is available and you can highlight these fields there.

If you want to know about bounce rate, you would have to take up an account with google analytics. it would provide you, every details, from the number of visits on your website each day, unique visit, no of bookings, geographies of visits and what not. you will get all that you want. However it depends if you really need them as it would cost. 

Also if you get web tools and you have the your website ftp access, u can do all this yourself with no extra cost. Its very easy....

 

 

 

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gillumhouse's picture
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I do not like "badges" of anyone on my web site other than my B & B Association - they are NOT paying me to advertise them (the assoc is a badge of pride). Since FB made their changes I have a hard time doing anything with my biz page. Plus I am one of those who go there rarely - I have too much going on in my life to go there. I have a google analytics - it has more info than I can understand and last I knew - it is FREE, no charge. I just have not spent the time to figure it out. I have a tracker that tells me what I can understand and that has helped with my marketing.

If my phone never rang, I may have been more inclined to listen - but I get more phone reservations than online. So I guess people ARE finding my phone number. It is actually all over my web site in many places and in many of my blogs. Quite honestly, that as a blanket statement - starting statement, LOWERED my acceptance of the expertise of those who made the statement because my contact info IS everywhere. Meaning you really did not LOOK at my site!

Thanks for the kick in the butt JB - it was not Valentines but I had not taken down the Egg-special that expired in May.

Madeleine's picture
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K- if you need/want help translating your analytics, email me.

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Hotelogix wrote:

Contacts and social media icons like facebook, twitter etc should look good on the top right hand side of the page. i would suggest you have them on each page. Looking at your website, i find that area is available and you can highlight these fields there.

That only works if the innkeeper USESa nd is ACTIVE on Facebook, twitter etc. Don't assume every person online uses social media. Why would that be so important? This website is for B&B reservations, not sending them off to follow you on social media.

There would be NOTHING WORSE imo than to have all of that on the in a primary location on the website only to click over and see NO UPDATES for months, and no activity. If you are not able to maintain activity on Twitter/FB then don't have the link ANYWHERE on your website!  Same goes for a blog. Don't do it if people go and think  you have died or something, since the last activity was last January.

SAME WITH SPECIALS. I clicked on someone here who had Valentine's Special on their website still, do you even realize it is JUNE?

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Madeleine's picture
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I just updated my site getting rid of May info and it weighed on me until I got it done. I have, however, found things I missed that were embarrssing to find. Really outdated stuff.

Had a guest call once and ask for a pkg I wasn't running. Turned out that just because I removed the link from the packages page did not mean the special deal page itself disappeared. Thus, I learned about the 'private' folder to remove pages from view.

We sold them the pkg at the price on the page they found and I learned something important.

Madeleine's picture
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Hotelogix wrote:

Contacts and social media icons like facebook, twitter etc should look good on the top right hand side of the page. i would suggest you have them on each page. Looking at your website, i find that area is available and you can highlight these fields there. 

 

Do not lead your traffic OFF your website to FB & Twitter by making those links SO easy to find. Guests cannot make reservations on FB and Twitter so why send them there so quickly?

I have those links at the bottom of pages so guests can see I'm 'cool' if they get that far but to lead them away from the site to FB where they get all distracted? No, not a good idea.

Besides which there's not much on FB that isn't on my website already.

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08/18/2011

Although we have a twitter account, I don't feel it is of much value to our B&B so I do not have a link on our website or ever promote it.  I have a relatively small Facebook icon (link) and a Google +1 button towards the top right of our page.

It is not difficult to set up custom page tabs which can take bookings on Facebook.  I don't have my reservation system embedded into my Facebook simply because I have set up webervations to exactly match the look of our website.  It is too wide to fit in a custom facebook tab.  But I do have a "Reservations" button/link to a custom page that says the easiest way to book is online through our website and there is a link to make their reservation.  I also have an "Accommodations" tab that has a photo and description of all of our rooms, each with a two month availability calendar shown and a Book Now button.

Re: WiFi

Every hotel I have stayed at in the past 5 years has had free Wifi in the rooms.  I haven't stayed at any fancy hotels in a long time, but Best Western, Holiday Inn, Ramada, and similar hotel chains always have free WiFi.

Madeleine's picture
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How did you do those custom tabs? Just point me to a set of directions and I'll be fine. I thought those things were all apps I had to sign up for.

Hotelogix's picture
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Very true

Never thought of that, though it depends on the type of business and i suppose in this case its not as relevant as you mentioned earlier 

However i still reckon that contact details should still be visible, and as a trial we can keep the social media on top too

Who knows might work out good for the business

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 Think your site has a lot of good things going for it.  It loads fast, not many scripts (unlike mine), and nice & clear.   Spacing around the picture is a little cramped, at least on my browser (see below). 

I think Book Now is pretty good.  I liked the little bullets to highlight.  You do have a lot of links in the menu bar, some which may not be as important as others.  You may want to consider a submenu or simply put an extra space or break between Book Now (see below) and the other items to make it stand out.

Of course, I have 39 coding errors in my website that I'm trying to fix, so take it as you will.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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At the hotels I've been to in the past couple of years, they tend to have free wi-fi, but it's down in the lobby which is inconvenient. They do tend to offer tethered internet access, which again is a pain.

As far as your telephone number goes, you can add to the top if you'd like, but most everyone knows to get the address and phone info, you look at the bottom. I've got mine at the top and bottom and I swear, people call to ask stupid questions because they see the number at the top and they haven't even looked at the site at all. I'll ask them if they've seen our site and they say "well, I'm on it right now, but I haven't looked at the pages yet".

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

At the hotels I've been to in the past couple of years, they tend to have free wi-fi, but it's down in the lobby which is inconvenient. They do tend to offer tethered internet access, which again is a pain.

As far as your telephone number goes, you can add to the top if you'd like, but most everyone knows to get the address and phone info, you look at the bottom. I've got mine at the top and bottom and I swear, people call to ask stupid questions because they see the number at the top and they haven't even looked at the site at all. I'll ask them if they've seen our site and they say "well, I'm on it right now, but I haven't looked at the pages yet".

That is what I say, go to the lobby for free WIFI, you will not get it in the rooms.

Sorry, without posting it all here.  Every time we go anywhere we have to clamour around the lobby to connect. Or, better scenario I can see two or three other WIFI connections via neighbors, condos etc and get onto those! 

We were on a WIFI hotspot when all this first came out, and I sued to tell people park in a hotel parking lot and you can pick up the WIFI for free from the office, or now of course any McDonalds and many other chains.

Madeleine's picture
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I've had WiFi in the room. Free.

Hilton Garden. Ayres Suites. Comfort Suites. And a bunch of $59/night motels in VT & NY & ME.

I'm not trying to argue, I'm saying that my experience with WiFi at hotels has been different.

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Madeleine wrote:

I've had WiFi in the room. Free.

Hilton Garden. Ayres Suites. Comfort Suites. And a bunch of $59/night motels in VT & NY & ME.

I'm not trying to argue, I'm saying that my experience with WiFi at hotels has been different.

I think your experience is quite common, at least with mid-range accommodations. Instead of derailing this thread further, I'll go start a new one...

Joey Camb's picture
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Here is seems to be half and half (ie pay or not pay) however the free places tend to be more inconvenient ie The Old Swan you can only get wi-fi at all in the bar area - cos thats really handy if you have a lot of work to do or its confidential -

Harrogate is a conference town - ie here for work and a lot of people have to send in orders and so on at the end of the day which requires concentration - cos thats going to happen in a bar!

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Madeleine's picture
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IF you wanted to make any changes-

Put the call to action info and the phone number in the upper right hand corner of each page. Do not remove it from where it is, just add it in a box to the upper right. Kind of like mine.

Your pages are short enough that there is not a lot of scrolling to find the info. It's clear what each link in the menu is for. Not like you have to search for info like on some sites.

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 I just clicked over to look (even though I know your website and the webdesigner well)

          *BOOK NOW* is easy to see and at the bottom for that reason - it is on every page

           Your phone number AND 800# is on every page, easy to contact you.

 

Now you can see why I feel the linkedin group are just so off it ain't funny! There is a dude on there arguing with me that most every hotel offers free WIFI, I told him never in my life have I seen a hotel offer free WIFI, not yet. Every B&B I have seen does! 

So take it for what it is worth. I am sure the guy telling you this has a web design company...if he is soliciting you let me know and we can ban his butt.

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Re: Free WiFi - I just bought a Living Social deal for 2 nights in a large suite at a fancy 4 star hotel in a large metro city in our state (Father's Day and late anniversary getaway for my dh & me).  It looks like there is a charge for Internet in the rooms, even at the retail cost of this suite, but WiFi is free in the lobby.  I think this is so odd.  Same thing happened when I went to a B&B conference years ago at an upscale hotel.  I'm not planning to bring a laptop or anything where we need Internet access because I'll have my smartphone.

I will keep the forum posted....

gillumhouse's picture
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Actually she does - but at least she contacted me privately unlike that Michael dude who "manages thousands of B & B web sites" and spouts as the all-knowing. I also have yet to see a hotel with free wifi.

That is why I LIVE here and VISIT there.

Madeleine's picture
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Oh I do dislike those people who say they manage a thousand websites. Really? Thousands? How good is the customer service on that?

Madeleine's picture
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In re paying for WiFi...we had to pay in Vegas. Nowhere else. All the hotels, motels and 'other' types of lodging we've stayed in the past few years have included the WiFi. BUT, we stay at low end places. It's the high end places that are nickel & diming.

Your arguer probably stays at low end places.

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When we went travelling earlier this year, all the hotels we stayed at had free wi-fi.  Also, the hotel I worked at, also offers free wi-fi.  None were hi-end hotels, but mid-range.

gillumhouse's picture
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I admit I do not stay at many hotels - but the Mar ri ot and other hotels I have been in on city biz and the 2 that I stayed in at Vegas all charged for WiFi.

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