How Do I Build A Website For A Hotel or B & B?
Today I’m going to explain how to build a website for a small hotel, Bed and Breakfast (B & B) or self-catering accommodation.
So if you run a small, independent or family owned hotel, self catering accommodation or B & B and you’re thinking of building a new website or re-vamping your website then I’ll explain exactly how to do this.
I’ll also give you a template online marketing plan that you can use to market your hotel, self-catering accommodation or B & B online.
Here’s what you’ll discover in this post:
- A selection of the best web design tools to use for every budget
- The cost of building a hotel, self catering accommodation or B & B website
- The pros and cons of using a ready made template or custom designed website
- The best way to structure your website and the content you should use
- Ideas for marketing your hotel, self catering accommodation or B & B on the internet
OK, so let’s get started.
Best Web Design Tools for a Small Hotel, Self Catering or B & B Website
If budget is an issue for you then a good starter option would be to build your own website using a DIY Website Builder.
They’re easy to use and are included in your web hosting plan.
They’re template based so you just choose the one you want then add your own text and images. You can create as many pages as you like and they have loads of useful features like Google Maps, Social Media buttons and a Contact Form for collecting contact details from potential customers.
On the downside the end result won’t look as good as a professionally built website and there aren’t many extra addons which will add extra functionality to your site.
But look, in the accommodation business first impressions count. You want your potential guests to have a good first impression.
The last thing you want is to leave them the impression that you’re some kind of DIY outfit. They might be thinking that if your website looks tatty then what will your accommodation be like?
Let’s face facts – people do make snap judgements whether we like it or not. If they see your competitors have got a professional website and they compare against yours you might not be giving yourself a fair chance.
But a good alternative that I would recommend is called WordPress.
WordPress is what is known as a Content Management System (CMS). That’s just a flash way of saying a web design tool.
But WordPress isn’t just any old web design tool. It’s by far and away the world’s most popular web design tool. In fact over a quarter of ALL websites are built using WordPress. Now believe me that’s a LOT of websites.
And there are a number of reasons it’s so popular. Here are just some of the main ones:
- It’s 100% free so there are no setup or ongoing fees for the WordPress software
- It works well in the search engines like Google
- It’s an industry standard tool – it’s not exotic and it’s fairly easy to use
- There are thousands of ready made WordPress Templates (called Themes)
- There are thousands of extra plugins which can add more functionality to your website
How Much Does A Small Hotel, B & B or Self Catering Accommodation Website Cost?
OK, so if you use a Website Builder you’ll just have the web hosting costs. So that’s around £5 or £6 a month or £55 to £60 a year with Pickaweb.
If you go down the WordPress route then you’ve got a couple of options there which will influence the price you pay.
You could either buy a WordPress Template (Theme) and get it customised with your content (text and images) or you can get a web designer to build a custom website for you.
For a Template based approach, the templates cost around £40 to £50. Then for the customization you can get a company like Maxima Local to do that for around £300 for 6 pages or £500 for 10 pages.
So all in all you’re looking at around £400 or so.
For a custom made website you’re probably looking at anywhere from £1000 to £1500 for a decent design depending on the number of pages.
If you want my personal opinion the best option is to go for a ready made WordPress Template (Theme).
Let me explain why…
Should You Use A Website Template Or Get A Custom Web Design?
Once you’ve decided to go for WordPress the next choice is whether to use a ready made WordPress Theme or get a web designer to build a custom WordPress website for you.
Let’s consider each so you can make an informed decision.
WordPress Templates for a Hotel, Self Catering Accommodation or Bed & Breakfast Website
The great thing about using templates is that you get a high quality design at a low cost and in double quick time.
Pricing is around £50 which is exceptional value when you consider the quality.
They’re usually mobile friendly too which is really important nowadays because people are increasingly viewing websites via mobile devices like phones and tablets. This is called Responsive Design.
You’ll also find that your website is ready very quickly because all that’s required is to customize the template rather than have a designer start from scratch.
Of course there are downsides and the main one is that because you’re choosing a template you may not have a completely unique website. But in reality that’s a very small possibility.
Getting a Website Built By A Web Designer For a Hotel, Self Catering Accommodation or Bed & Breakfast Website
However, if you really want something unique for your business then you’ll want to consider a Bespoke design. In terms of cost you’ll be looking in the region of £800 to £1200 for a well designed, mobile friendly.
But the advantage is that you get exactly what you want.
In terms of choosing a designer if you have a reputable one locally then use them.
Or you can hold a design competition with a company like 99designs. With this approach various designers present their design ideas to you and you choose a winner.
Aside from the extra cost this approach will take more of your time and will take longer than a template based approach.
How to Structure A Hotel, Self Catering or Bed & Breakfast Website and the Type of Content You Should Create
Now that you’ve got the design addressed you need to think about the structure and content of your website.
A common problem I see with this type of accommodation based website is that they don’t have enough content.
Generally they will have a few pages such as home, about us and some pages showing the accommodation.
But think about it, most people who come to stay with you are coming to visit the area and want to learn more about what’s on offer.
Your website is a great opportunity to help them.
So as well as all the great information about your accommodation you can provide lots of useful information about interesting and fun things to do in the area.
You could create guides on events and festivals or maybe even a calendar of upcoming events.
Why do this? Well, consider what your potential visitors are searching on. They’re probably looking for local attractions, places to visit, things to do.
So all you need to do is to help them. Just be the local cheerleader for your area and you’ll start to appear in the Google rankings.
The best way to do this is to create a blog. And guess what? If you’re using WordPress you’re already covered. WordPress is the ultimate blogging platform – that’s what it was built for.
How Do I Market My Hotel, Self Catering or Bed & Breakfast Business on the Internet
That’s a great question.
There’s probably loads of different approaches but here’s how I’d do it.
First up you need to think about On Page Optimization and then you’ll need a Content Strategy. Let’s deal with them in turn.
On Page SEO for a Hotel, Self Catering Accommodation or Bed & Breakfast Business
SEO means Search Engine Optimization and that just means that you’re applying best practice to give yourself the best chance in the search engines.
To illustrate this, think about the two or three lines of content you see in each of the search results. These are read by Google and taken from the website and used to present the results.
These are called Metatags. To be more precise they are the Page Title Element and the Meta Description.
You need to optimize these by including the services you offer and your location. With the Page Title you have around 65 characters and the Description you have around 170 characters.
You need to do this for EVERY page on your website, not just the home page. They need to be relevant to the content of each page.
They need to include your keywords so for example if you run a Boutique Hotel in Windsor you should include something like ‘Boutique Hotel in Windsor – Perfect for Windsor Castle & Eton’.
You need to include these in the Metatags on each page as well as the Headings on every page. Think of headings like headings in a document. They give the page structure and help the reader understand what’s on the page. It’s the same for Google – it helps it to understand the content of that page.
Also include them in the URL (or page name as it appears in your browser). So in the case above if you have a page about a room with a view of the castle you could have windsorboutiquehotel.com/hotel-view-windsor-castle
Also try to have at least 500 words per page.
Off Page SEO Strategy for a Hotel, Self Catering Accommodation or Bed & Breakfast Business
Ok, so you’ve fixed the main SEO point on your website.
Now we need to turn our attention to getting other websites to link to you. This is called ‘Off Page SEO’.
Now this can get complicated for larger businesses in really competitive markets.
But if you’re a local business like a hotel or bed and breakfast you don’t need to go crazy on this side of things.
What I would recommend is to start with a few quick wins like getting listed in Google My Business, Bing Places and Yahoo. These are the basis of a good local link building strategy.
Then you can start to build links from websites that Google considers to have authority for local business. Things like Yell or 118. SOme may be paid but usually there is a free option. The important point is to get a link back to your website.
One thing you must be aware of is that you need to list your correct Name, Address and Phone (NAP) details. This creates a consistent profile for Google to list you.
Then of course there are the travel related websites like TripAdvisor and Booking. Sure, there may be fees to get listed but if your competitors are there you should consider getting listed too.
If you’ve built your website with WordPress then you should include a Blog section. Here you can add content regularly so that Google picks up on it.
In terms of a content strategy, my strong recommendation is to think of yourself as being a travel guide for our area. Create content on local points of interest, places to visit and things to do.
You could create a calendar of local events and invite the organisers to contribute content for you or you could interview them. Once you start to build up a network of local contacts you’ll find that they really appreciate you supporting their event. They’ll help promote your content on Social Media and over time you’ll start to see your website getting more and more traffic.
By now you’ve got a good idea about how to build and market your small hotel, self accommodation or B & B website.
You can create your own site using a DIY website builder but a more resilient solution would be a WordPress website. You can either get a ready made WordPress Theme or get a custom build. The Template (Theme) option is quicker and cheaper and the results are excellent.
Try to create plenty of content and consider setting up a blog section too.
If you want to get a high ranking in Google you need to pay attention to on page SEO like Metatags, Headings and URLs which include your keywords.
Also don’t forget to build links from places like Local listings and Local Directories which google considers to be authority websites.
So there you go. Do you run a small hotel, self catering accommodation or Bed and Breakfast? Let us know how you built your website and have you used any of these tools or techniques?