Print your web pages out. This is what many potential visitors will do. If you are happy with it then it's a good start. You can then subtly hint to potential customers to your web site that although you do produce a brochure, it contains less information and is less up to date than the web site and that they may find it more convenient to print off the web pages. This will save you a lot of extra costs printing and sending out brochures.
It's surprising just how many web sites look awful when printed and some even have white text on a dark background (like on the left here) which can leave the paper blank!
When a potential customer first sees your web site, the first
thing they will want to know is just how many people the accommodation
is for. Say on your home page that it Sleeps 5 or what ever.
If it's Tourist Board graded say the Grade and give the
Price Span at the same time. This is all basic information which
the visitor needs to know so that they can decide if the accommodation
comes into question. There is nothing more irritating than having to
hunt for these facts.
It's also good practice to give other deciding information such as your policy on pets, bed linen or smoking, a quick list of the facilities available such as washing machine, telephone, the type of heating and if there are any extra costs etc on the home page.
Choose a good hosting company with near 100% up time and fast connections
with no banner adverts. A good hosting package will cost you between
£30 and £70 a year. Good hosting companies
that you might like to try are:
You may like to build your own web site using templates from Xara software which costs about £40 and requires no programing skills!
Your own domain name
Get your own domain name (www.yourcottagename.co.uk). This will cost
you about £3.50 a year and can be bought from
any of the firms above or try
can then 'point' this name to your present web site (such as at a members.aol
web space). This
is all quite easy to do.
Incidentally, the UK name space (all domain names ending in .uk) is organised by Nominet www.nominet.org.uk
Spam or junk email is becoming ever more of a problem. The addresses are
harvested by computers trawling through web pages scanning for the '@'
sign which signifies an email address.
So one easy way to beat them and greatly reduce spam is to write your email: < owner AT cottage-name DOT co DOT uk >
Once you have your own domain name, hosting package and a web site, you'll
be able to view your web site visitor statistics. Using a free tracking
service (counter) such as
www.extremetracking.com or Google Analytics, you can
see where people clicked from to get to your
web site and so you will know which advertisements are working!
Your web sites purpose is to sell your
accommodation. Ask yourself why visitors should choose to stay in
your accommodation and make this clear on your web site. Here
local pictures will play an invaluable role and is why the web site is
best designed locally. Take outside pictures when the sun is low in
the sky (either in the morning or evening) for best results. Show
the locality, the detail of which no agent can ever hope to achieve.
This will really sell your accommodation.
Potential visitors will always want to see what past ones had to say. So
quote and quote recent entries from the visitors book. This is a must.
Availability & live
The times have long past in which a web site which
just looks like a colour brochure will do. People today expect to be
able to see latest availability and provisionally book live online. This involves quite some programming and means that you either
need to be a programmer or you need to have one on standby should
something go wrong.
For this reason it makes much more sense to draw on an outside supplier to provide you with the availability and also a live provisional booking component to your web site. We have partnered up with www.justbooking.co.uk which is the UK's No. 1 supplier of such a service and allows us to supply availability and booking modules for just £25 per accommodation unit per year.
This is very easy to integrate into a web page (just add a web page link) and is controlled by the accommodation provider over the web. Bookings go straight to the accommodation provider by email with an optional fax or SMS alert.
Remember that one of the biggest benefits of adding a centralised availability (and booking) module to your web site is that your available weeks can be marketed and advertised throughout the internet - see www.holiday-cottages.co.uk www.country-cottages.co.uk www.coastal-cottages.co.uk etc.
Everyone wants to be on the first page which is not possible. Therefore other advertising sources both offline and
online will need to be found. Try
some local and national web portals. Your web site statistics will show
you which ones are worth it. If possible, ask for a free 3 month trial to
test their worth.
Here at www.holiday-cottage.co.uk we charge nothing for an advert and make our money through offering an availability search where there is a small charge (£15 / year) to appear.
Up to date
Last but not least show on your home page that your
web site is up to date. There's nothing worse than to discover that
the availability is from 2007 thus indicating that the web site hasn't
been touched since then.
|Information||For more information, a free advert or to apply for a 3 month free trial of a yearly calendar and to appear in the availability searches, click to email us giving details of your accommodation web site.|