Most B&B owners recognise that they need a B&B website in this digital age. This article sets out the 5 common mistakes made by accommodation providers when first creating their online presence.
1. Rushing in to a B&B Website
One of the biggest mistakes is diving in and cobbling together a B&B website that may be visually pleasing (or not) but that has limited functionality. The likes of WIX and GoDaddy tell you that you can have a website up and running in less than an hour. It’s true, you can, but it will generally be rubbish. Start by sitting back and listing what you want the website to do. Next give some thought to how you want it to look. Browse the web for other B&B sites and take note of the good and less good features.
2. Choosing The Wrong B&B Website Platform
Having got an idea of where you are going with your B&B website the next big mistake is choosing the wrong platform. Each platform has it’s own restrictions and constraints with turnkey solutions like WIX and Google at the low end of the pile and Content Management Systems (CMS) like Joomla and WordPress at the top in terms of functionality, features, development community, and support. Using a “turnkey” website platform might seem like a good idea because it’s quick but many live to regret it and move on to a CMS. Ask around, what are other B&B website owners using? Look at their websites and evaluate the features, design and functionality.
3. Going Bespoke
Seemed like a good idea at the time? Get a cheap offshore resource to knock up a B&B website in php or similar and have a completely unique look and feel that will wow the competition. This option can be completely flexible in providing exactly what you want in terms of features and how the whole thing will look once published. It’s great right? The issue is that a static B&B website will be difficult to update and almost impossible to quickly adapt as the internet evolves. It is also often the case that the initial resource drops off the planet once they’ve been paid and adding or changing functionality and fixing bugs becomes a nightmare.
4. Choosing The Wrong Hosting
Some CMS offer a quick and easy hosting for free. You can have a website hosted on wordpress.com, for example, and it can have wordpress domain name for free e.g. mywebsite.wordpress.com. If going down this route, however, it is much better to at least buy your own domain name. It would still be hosted on wordpress.com but will at least look like your own site. The problem here is, although you don’t need any technical nor design skills to set up such a website, it will be very restricted in functionality. As your website should be your number one marketing tool then invest in it by choose one of the big players like GoDaddy, Hostgator, SiteGround or similar. All offer lots of features including free SSL certificates, backup systems, and guaranteed uptimes.
5. Choosing a Packaged Service
There are several packaged service platforms out there such as Lodgify and Little Hotelier and these can be feature rich and generally easy to build and operate. However, this comes at a cost and only larger establishments will get a good enough return on their monthly investment. Starting prices can be from $120 to $500 per month so you really do need a good return in order to use these services. They are generally good but they are always going to be expensive.
At properbnb we work closely with Ellis Web Services who produce modern, responsive websites for accommodation providers. These individual feature rich websites have everything that you would expect to find on a B&B website from availability calendars to booking systems, invoicing and payment gateways. Oh, and they look great too. Check out the example at La Maison au Coin and contact Ellis Web Services if you would like to bring your website into the 21st Century.