The question I get asked is “why does my property need a vanity website” when really the question should be “what am I missing out on by not having a vanity website.” Whether you’re an independent hotel or branded hotel, B&B or vacation rental property, having your own vanity website is critical.
For properties part of a brand, their hotel will be listed on the brand’s corporate site. A vanity website (also known as an independent website) goes beyond that and gives you a website completely devoted to your property, irrespective of your brand (and for independent properties who don’t have the added benefit of a corporate website, a vanity website is a powerful marketing tool to reach travelers).
Question: Why Does my Hotel Need a Vanity Website?
Answer: Every hotel has its own story. The stories you tell online are powerful in compelling travel shoppers to book your hotel versus another. Many hotels have features, amenities and local attributes that cannot always be presented fully on a brand website. The brand websites do a very good job of providing factual information in the context of the brand and the other hotels that are represented under the brand and its website.
By contrast, the primary role of a vanity website is to focus on the uniqueness of your hotel and its local story, features, amenities, reputation, appealing to your key target markets and improving your search engine results page (SERP) for your hotel in organic search.
Supplementing your presence on brand.com with a property (often referred to as a vanity) website provides you with a few key opportunities.
Your vanity website can tell the whole story of your hotel complete with its local personality and uniqueness, which is important for any hotel that wants to differentiate itself from the competition. Storytelling not only sells, it can even help you raise prices.
Your vanity website allows you to tell compelling stories about the unique features of your hotel such as your world-class food and beverage, specific features tailored to business travelers and event features such as weddings.
In an era of personalized and constant communications, consumers expect tailored messages based on their needs and questions – which is what a vanity website can help with. Your vanity website provides increased flexibility to target different segments of your hotel’s business.
You can create stories with deep relevant content, targeting meeting planners, group planners, SMERF (social, military, educational, religious, fraternal), weddings, special events, MICE (meetings, incentive, conference/conventions and events/exhibition) for both conversion and organic search rankings.
You can also use your vanity website to build content or event-specific landing pages that communicate to specific groups – sports teams, local events, etc.
Using a vanity website, you can improve conversions by engaging visitors with deeper and richer visual content including virtual tours and video. Most brand websites do not fully support on-page rich media presentations and/or the ability to easily post or change this content.
Vanity websites give you the ability to add rich media which travel shoppers crave (according to Google’s 2014 Traveler Study, 80% of hotel bookers watched online videos to help them with their trip decisions) and using Vizlly, you don’t need a webmaster to update or add content.
A property website can enhance SERP for your hotel property by working in tandem with the brand site, having unique content and linking to it.
Many hotel marketers believe that their online efforts improve when they have both a property and brand level website. The hotel vanity website is a key component of an effective overall multi-channel online marketing program and Vizlly, our Multi-Channel Digital Marketing System, was designed with this in mind.
I’ll be answering more Vizlly FAQ in future blogs – stay tuned. In the meantime, take a look at what Vizlly can do here and let me know if you have any further questions.