Why Your B&B Needs a Visual-First Website: Part 1 of 2
Your local community may rave about your B&B’s impeccable service or you might be a hidden charm travelers stumble upon. You might have a wonderful view of the ocean, city or countryside or maybe your property has a unique history that travelers come from near and far to visit.
What sets you apart from other types of accommodations is you know your unique features and selling points – you know the story that makes you different and you’re ready to share that unique story with the world.
The only problem?
If you don’t have a great website that showcases this unique story, you may be losing out on reaching millions of travel shoppers and losing bookings.
And that’s a big concern in the B&B industry right now because in between the daily tasks of keeping your property in great shape, taking care of your guests, responding to reviews and so much more, keeping your website up to date can fall to the wayside.
If that happens, you risk losing bookings and revenue which is why it’s critical that you have a website that showcases everything you have to offer and entices travel shoppers to book.
There may be a few reasons why you’re losing out on direct bookings from guests:
- You still have a text-only circa early 2000s website
- You have a website, but you don’t keep it up-to-date with fresh content
- You don’t have a website at all!
Either option, unfortunately, is not a good one. Why? Because a compelling, visually-driven website gives you the opportunity to tell your story and drive bookings, especially important considering today’s travel shoppers crave images, according to Google’s most recent Traveler Study.
Travel shoppers want to see your rooms and unique features – and they want to anticipate the experience they’ll receive if they stay at your property.
Read on to discover the importance of a B&B website and second, why you need a visual-first website that shows off your unique story.
Why a Property Website?
Your website is the place where you can tell your story, share your unique features, and ultimately drive direct bookings, without paying commissions to third party websites like OTAs.
The Manoa Valley Inn’s website showcases their unique features through compelling
imagery and makes it easy to book.
It allows you to introduce your B&B by opening your virtual front door, welcoming travel shoppers in and perhaps offering them a spot of virtual tea to stay awhile.
3 Reasons Why You Need a Visual-First Website
Travel shoppers not only care about visuals, they crave them. They want to experience your property and know exactly what they are getting prior to making a booking. A visual-first website makes it easy to feature the things guests care about most, such as your guestrooms, local attractions, special offers and any unique qualities your property has to offer.
1. Visual Storytelling Sells
Every property has a unique story to tell , especially B&Bs (just yesterday we saw a great B&B share snippets on Twitter of their historical background: they’re located on the plantation established in 1642 by George Washington’s great-great grandfather!).
Overall, you want to differentiate yourself from the competition with your unique story; and without a great online visual presence where you can showcase all of the above, you might lose a travel shopper’s attention or may not be noticed online at all.
Cedars of Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast are masters of visual storytelling. Their
compelling media show shoppers exactly what their B&B looks like and what they can
expect if they choose to visit.
2. Magnify Targeting
We are living in an era where if you have a question you can easily Google it, and if you want to communicate with someone, you can do so within seconds via mobile.
Today’s travel shoppers are used to getting the relevant information they want, at their fingertips – and that’s why a visual-first website with unique, fresh content tailored to your target demographic matters.
The key is to create stories that target specific groups. You can use your visual-first website to build content or event- specific landing pages that communicate to a variety of different groups such as weddings, special events, meetings, or conferences.
The Glasbern Country Inn does a phenomenal job when it comes to targeting those who
are ready to say “I do.” They have an elaborate photo gallery that displays dozens of
photos of weddings that have taken place at their property.
3. Increase Conversions
On your visual-first website, there are a variety of opportunities to engage travel shoppers with rich multi-media including virtual tours and video which ultimately can increase conversions and bookings. Because you’re incorporating multi-media in your story, you’re allowing travel shoppers to imagine themselves at your property and anticipate the experience they can expect to have – in a way that text alone can’t do.
The White Wolf Inn incorporates a tour of their guestrooms and amenities on their website.
Adding multi-media makes it easy for travel shoppers to envision themselves at the property.
The three points mentioned above are only a few of the many benefits that come with having a visual-first website.
At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to be able to experience a property first-hand before making a booking? Well, with a visual first website and by amplifying your visual storytelling, you can make that possible for today’s travel shoppers.
Stay tuned for part two: 6 Factors to Consider Before Launching Your B&B Website.