Designed specifically to help your hotel business boost performance, grow as a brand, and deliver amazing experiences for your guests; SiteMinder’s series features some of the best minds in the industry.
Seven expert interviews with tangible insights and a wealth of knowledge. Get actionable knowledge your hotel can take away and put into practice quickly.
In part one we spoke to Brendan Veary, director at Pebble Design, about the importance of quality websites and best practices for hotels.
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Pebble is passionate about beautiful, high converting, hotel websites
One of the first things you’ll notice when visiting Pebble Design’s website or speaking to Director Brendan Veary, is a genuine enthusiasm for creating amazing experiences and delivering fantastic outcomes.
Brendan said this is what drives the business.
“We translate the passion our clients have for their hotels into stunning, functional websites that drive ever increasing direct revenue back to our client who can then continue to enhance the experience for the guest.”
“I really love collaborating with other creative minds, pooling our resources, experiences, and wisdom to create something amazing together,” said Brendan.
Given the pandemic, this has not always been as possible as he’d like.
“Not being able to meet with people face to face and travel to see my clients is hard. I believe the collaborative energy when people are together is much richer. You can bounce ideas off each other and spiral the conversation upwards.”
With luxury clients in Australia, New Zealand, and worldwide, Pebble is now a trusted leader in the field with deep industry knowledge.
The vital nature of hotel websites and best practice tips
It’s common knowledge by now that travellers don’t hold much trust for a business without a website, and most hotels know that moving their business online is a key to continued success.
However, it’s less clear how to get the website experience exactly right and just how important it is that your hotel website is designed with quality – an investment that pays long term dividends via increased bookings and an enhanced brand reputation.
Brendan has a background in full service agencies and in this time he spent working out of London and Sydney he came to one conclusion.
“Without a doubt, the most powerful marketing tool any business can leverage today is their website. It’s easy to keep content fresh and the insights one can glean from user behaviour are absolute gold.”
“The first piece of advice we encourage is to dial the complexity down and deliver a clean, simple, message that speaks volumes of their USP (unique selling point). Their style, their story, is what guests connect with at a deeper level,” Brendan explained.
As for the key ingredients that finish the recipe for a successful hotel website? Brendan suggested hoteliers work on developing:
- Great imagery and video that immerses guests in a narrative
- A tone of voice that personifies the hotel’s brand experience
- A strategic design that is mindful of the hotelier’s goals but also user experience for guests
“Every part of the digital journey must also be woven into the SEO master plan,” he added.
When you know what really works, it stands to reason you also know what really doesn’t. For Brendan, it’s almost painful when he sees hotel websites not living up to their potential due to poor design or strategy.
“Not being original and using generic designs to cut costs creates a bit of a mess. Trying to create an effective website becomes like squishing round tomatoes into square holes.”
He also stated a lot of hotels miss opportunities the second visitors land on their site.
“You need to give online bookers what they want and need in the first 2-3 screens to emotionally engage. People need just the right amount of information to make that booking, not too little and definitely not too much.”
Brendan said hotels also need to avoid the prevalence of exit links and poor quality images when designing their site content.
Industry specific software crucial for success
Hoteliers may think any website builder, designer, or developer will do so long as it delivers them a nice looking website. However in the travel industry, where conversion is so vital, it pays to draw on proven experience to gain consistent results.
“There is a wealth of experience and learnings to draw on from the many facets and nuances having spent so many years focused in this industry. It is this wisdom that reliably equates to success online.”
“It also takes the right culture, purpose and vision of an organisation to have their finger on the pulse of that industry to truly be of service to their clients,” he said. “ I see many companies who rest on their morals or are slow to adapt or pivot to market shifts, needs and demands. At Pebble, we love working with equally progressive teams and organisations, like SiteMinder.”
Getting it right has long term benefits for a hotel, in terms of brand reputation, revenue via direct bookings and boosted guest loyalty. These key points are deftly echoed by Brendan.
“It’s a domino effect and the larger game hotels need to play,” he said. “Having a state of the art website leads to the best user experience online which in turn generates the most direct revenue, which in turn drives higher profits for hoteliers, who in turn can exaggerate the experience for their guests, which in turn leads to ‘remarkable’ stays that guests rave about, which lends again to more bookings and revenue.”
“After all this is the ‘hospitality’ industry, where ‘being of service’ is what it is all about. The profits generated along the way are a natural side part of the process and journey.”
SiteMinder and Pebble are proud partners, both serving to aid global hoteliers in their direct revenue endeavours.
Are you an expert in your field and want to get involved? Why not sign-up to SiteMinder’s exclusive partner program.