Dick Smith is always looking out for the small Australian business and in his latest rant he’s called the Internet to task for the way they are siphoning off a huge amount of money from the Australian accommodation industry. I have to agree…the internet is no longer the friend of these small businesses.
10 to 15 years ago you could make a website for a small accommodation operator and it was always good value. Anecdotally we saw across a broad spectrum of accommodation types in many localities (rural, city and destination) that a business could usually fill at least 35% of their room nights with direct bookings made from their website. These are high value bookings because they have the best customer brand awareness and they don’t cost commissions. What’s not to like?
Now direct bookings are down because Google has decided to cash in on commissions. First Google changes the format of search results shifting the business off the top of the page to favour commission paying websites; Booking.com, Wotif, and others. They display availability and rates within the search results directing guests to click into paid ads. It is very unfair, but Google probably doesn’t agree. They own search and they can do what they like.
But I think at the very least they should pay tax.
Biloela Countryman Motel has a basic issue where their website after years of being first on Google search has dropped off the first page. While one would like to say, “Yes I can fix that” in fact you can never guarantee search engine placement. All you can really do is try to make updates to web pages that emphasis important keywords:
Use Keywords in Page Titles,
Add Keywords to the Text with particular interest in the first paragraph,
Of course, the other basics are to work on inbound links from Authority websites like your local Chamber of Commerce, Visitor Info Centre, ATDW, as well as locality websites like Yelp.com.au, Aussieweb.com.au, Hotfrog, Truelocal and others.
Countryman Motel uses BurgungySky as their website CMS. There are some limitaions with this system in that you do not have the option to use search engine friendly urls, but so far that has not stopped most websites from ranking well.
The owners are Chinese and for fun we looked to see what Feng Shui might suggest for web site design and found some surprisingly nice colour combinations that proved to be interesting and attractive.
Feng Shui lucky colors for the Year of the Snake are Blues, Orange and Gold.
Located in Melbourne and part of the Golden Chain Motels group; Lamplighter Motel offers motel-style accommodation as well as serviced apartments. They also have a restaurant providing breakfast and dinner.
Hume Villa Motor Inn in Fawkner Victoria recently asked us to make a new website and help them get better search rankings for guests looking for accommodation in Melbourne and accommodation near Melbourne Airport.
Hume Villa is a Member of Golden Chain Motels. They decided they would use the Online Booking systems provided by Golden Chain to Members. Our website design will easily include booking systems from many suppliers: SiteMinder, ResOnline, and others.
Great pictures are always important to making a good looking accommodation website. David Murphy, Hume Villa’s manager was able to provide a good selection of room type images that make it easy for guests to see what is on offer and pick the best accommodation for their needs. This is important because whenever you review your website stats you will always see high traffic for your rooms page. Pretty obvious when you think about it.
Using Blog Posts to Attract Visitors to Your Website
When I was visiting the motel last month, I showed David how easy it is to make a post to the blog about any subject. Blog Posts are an excellent way to attract visitors to your website on topics that relate to basic themes that bring customers to your motel. I asked David what he thought attracted people to accommodation in Fawkner and he said they got a lot of guests coming to events at The Meadows Greyhound Racing which is a popular venue for Conferences and Functions in North Melbourne. We added the post and then Googled the subject and found the new post on the first page of Google with a comment saying the page had been added 57 seconds ago.
In a perfect world, David would not set a reminder and add a new post at least once in 2 weeks. He could add posts about local events, visiting Melbourne, accommodation near the airport, and more. This stream of new information would make his website more interesting to Google for Search Engine results as well as providing his guests more info about staying in Fawkner and Melbourne.