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3 Reasons to Not Neglect your Website Just Because you’re Fully Booked
I’ve come across far too many successful restaurants and boutique hotels recently that have clearly neglected their websites.
If you’re worried about whether you may be one of them, then this blog is for you.
Businesses aspiring for more customers are more likely to have beautiful, up-to-date websites, but the ones that are fully booked or even have waiting lists seem to have the most poorly designed websites of them all.
It may be because they don’t think they need a good website because they are busy enough, OR they don’t think they have the time to work on it.
Neither is a good enough reason.
I’ve evaluated thousands of websites in my career so fully understand the benefits of having a well-designed site and also the pitfalls of having a poorly designed website, at all stages of business growth.
In this post I will outline 3 important reasons why you shouldn’t neglect your website even if you’re very successful. Then at the end, you should be able to assess whether or not you need to update your website.
1) It will dilute your branding
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon
As a high-end restaurant or boutique hotel, branding is extremely important to you. Your brand helps you connect with your customers and goes way beyond just a logo or graphical element.
Branding is all about how customers perceive you at every single touch point.
Your website is often the public’s first encounter with your brand so it starts here. If your site is old or unattractive and unreflective of your hotel or restaurant, the overall impression of the business is unlikely to be the one you would like to convey.
But perhaps you’re thinking, “but most people hear about us via word of mouth or through various media“
In that case it’s even MORE important, as they already have a high expectation of you and your brand. What if these people visit your website to find out more and encounter a really badly designed, out of date website?
You’ll be judged. Immediately, and any positive preconceptions may be altered.
“consistency can help a brand take market share from rivals, or at least ensure it stays in the game” (source)
If your restaurant is sleek, modern and minimalist, then your website should reflect this to help the customer build up a true picture of you. They need to know whether or not they’ll enjoy the experience and that goes beyond the food.
If you’re able to convey this before they dine with you, they can make a better-educated decision before booking and will ultimately result in a happier customer and better reviews too.
“The consistency in brand messaging also enables consumers to form a solid opinion of a brand in terms of reputation.” (source)
The more consistent you are with your branding across all media, the more professional you will appear and more high expectations you will meet.
Ask yourself: Does your website reflect the style and quality of your boutique hotel or restaurant?
2) It may effect your reputation
This is closely linked with the previous and next points, but reputation is so important that I wanted to highlight it separately.
Do customers often talk about you like this:
“terrible website but the food’s amazing”
“ugly website but the hotel is gorgeous”
So many businesses appear to accept or ignore these kind of comments. They’re often distracted by the positive and overlook the negative.
However, this could be dangerous
If a customer is looking for the best, they expect the best. If it’s not what they’re experiencing at every level, the reputation of the business may suffer.
When maintaining or building a good reputation, trust and reliability are the essential building blocks. Our websites are our most valuable resource when communicating trust-worthiness and reliability.
As Peep Laja from ConversionXL put it:
“Great design gets people to trust you and to stick around. Poor design creates mistrust and makes people leave.”
When first impressions are 94% design related (source), it demonstrates just how important investment in design is for your reputation.
Ask yourself or impartial others: What does the design of your website say about you?
3) Your customer service is incomplete
When you reach or are aspiring to Michelin level cuisine or 5 Stars it’s fair to say that customer service is arguably as important as the room or food itself.
Customers book a room at your boutique hotel or a table at your high-end restaurant and expect a certain experience. If they’re paying a premium they expect to be wowed by the interior design, the ambience and the service. Not just the room or food.
You know it doesn’t just begin and end with the so-called ‘product’.
If customer experience is vital to your business, it needs to start with their first touch-point with your brand. The website.
Nowadays a website is an extension of your customer service. It helps visitors get to know you, find out whether they might like you and then ultimately helps them to decide whether they like you enough to place a booking.
As such, customer service needs to be consistent both off and online to avoid letting your customers down and instead, satisfying their expectations.
Ask yourself: Does your website have the equivalent level of service you have ‘in-store’?
In summary, paying more attention to your website could transform it from a static, unappealing brochure website into an interactive and useful resource which enhances your brand, reputation and customer service.
However, if you answered ‘no’ to any of the above three questions it may be time to think about redesigning your website.
We have a whole heap more tips just like this to help boutique hotels and top restaurants make the most out of their websites so they really start working for them. Just enter your name and email below if you’re interested in receiving these straight to your inbox starting with a downloadable test to help you find out how Michelin-worthy your website is.
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