Four Ways to Make Your Property’s Website Work for You

Posted by

You don’t have to be a world traveler to pick the perfect place for a vacation in an exotic location halfway around the world from home. The Internet has made it possible to virtually walk through a hotel or bed and breakfast as if you were there. Most provide a virtual tour or a gallery of photos of the guest rooms, restaurant, bars, pools and other amenities. It’s easy to compare and choose the perfect location based on the hotel itself and not only on price and availability.

Your property’s presence on the Internet can work for or against you. Guests don’t like surprises, especially when they believe they are getting less than what was expected. Perception is a personal thing, no matter how well the photos represent the real thing. But if the photos and content of the website adds up to a true misrepresentation, some guests are going to be unhappy before they get to their rooms.

1. Where are you located? Beachfront means exactly that. If there is a road separating you from the shore, or a big asphalt parking lot, it’s best to say you have “close proximity to the beach,” or a “short walk” to the beach or “150 ft.” from the beach. An hour’s drive to the ski slopes may be a “short drive” to you, but to your guests, an hour on icy, snow covered roads may be much too far. Fudging on your hotel description is like lying on your resume. One misrepresentation and the whole thing is suspect.
2. Come clean on condition. Newly renovated to you may mean you changed the bedspreads in ’06. Your guests may expect flat screen TVs, wireless high-speed Internet, pillow-top king size mattresses and steam showers. If you can’t honestly describe the condition of your tired but friendly property in glowing terms, find some that fit. Again, no surprises. A hotel or Inn that is comfortable, clean and convenient for the guests’ purposes, paired with exceptional service, forgive a nick on the furniture or a thread hanging from the bedspread.
3. Deliver what is promised. If the pool is going to be closed for cleaning in the middle of July, make that a note on your website. If you have a pool bar, but it’s only open for two hours on Saturdays, be sure you make the hours clear with any alternatives. Someone may have chosen your property with the intention of lounging by the pool sipping a mojito from the pool bar. If you say you have “world class service” or “the best clam chowder in Maine,” that’s what your guests will expect.
4. Make it shine. Guests expect clean and in working order. I have stayed in five-star hotels that drove me crazy with burned out light bulbs, with scratchy sheets, poorly made beds, missing hair dryers and amenities and hair on the bathroom floor (my personal hot button). I have also stayed in properties that were a little tired and shabby, but they paid attention to details and personalized my stay with the right kind of pillows, extra coffee supplies, an on-time wake-up call, and requests filled quickly with a smile.
5. Update your site often. Have someone on your team that can update your site. Capture email addresses with your reservations so you can send out a notice when something happens unexpectedly.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a freelance writer, blogger, and consultant. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in "Training" magazine, "Training & Development" magazine, "Supervision," "Pulse" and "The Savannah Morning News." You can read her blogs at, and on the web at

Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch