What is the future for accommodation websites?
Will any accommodation owners be needing a website in 20 years time? Or will everyone just book via Facebook or other new social media? To get an idea of what the future holds I think we need to consider first of all why anyone today has a website and then if we think these reasons will still be important in 5, 10 or 20 years, we will have a good idea about what the future holds for accommodation owners, and having their own website.
First of all, it very much depends on the accommodation, and what the owner expects or requires from both their accommodation and their website. For example, a Bed & Breakfast whose sole income comes via their B&B business will most likely take their marketing efforts much more seriously than an accommodation owner whose property is a second home that they rent out only for a few weeks of the year.
The majority of accommodation owners who are keen to get bookings will most likely be on most or all of the main booking sites, as well as have their own website and social media and this is unlikely to change in the future because whilst the big booking sites provide the bookings, your accommodation is just one of thousands of properties on their site; the listings are functional but uninspiring (unless you are listed on a beautiful site like Sawdays) and so the one place that you can really be just about your place is on your own website. One of the main reasons owners have their own website is to have a definitive place to send people to view their accommodation, in a format that they are happy with (i.e. the website design), where they can display things as they want, add video walkthroughs, as many photos as they like, links to their social media etc. Your website should be your one stop shop to provide your site with all the information they need to make an informed choice about whether or not to book, lots of lovely photos, you contact details, showcase your awards and certificates, view reviews etc.
Your website is also where you can start to build up a great contact list by asking your site visitors to sign up to your newsletter, so that they can hear about your latest news, offers & late availability. This is a great way to get more bookings, and isn’t something that a listing on Airbnb can provide you with! You can read more about this service here.
Saving money on commission and getting bookings direct can be an important factor to consider too. Your own website is one place you can guarantee that all your enquiries are commission free. And of course, the cost for keeping a website online is now much cheaper (compared to when websites were new, and people spent a few hundreds of pounds a year on hosting).
Whilst social media may be one area where bookings take place in future, why would you want to restrict yourself to only the people using that social media? So again, this is unlikely to be what people will choose in the future as a website replacement.
Unless something amazingly different comes along, we probably won’t see any of the above sentiments changing drastically over the coming years… one main thing to remember about your website is that it is your own special place that is totally in your control and as such should always be considered one of your most important marketing assets, as it can be viewed as your own shop front that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, where you can change the window displays as often as you like! Making sure that your website works for you is very important, and so if your website is a few years old there are probably quite a few improvements you can add that will greatly increase the effectiveness of your site. To give you an idea, take a look at our new website service which gives you an idea of how a modern accommodation website can be a real asset – Click here