Why hotel chains should take their time to rethink and restructure their websites and how to do it.
This is the first article of a little series to get your website clean and shiny, ready to welcome visitors from around the world. You will gain the knowledge and confidence to restructure and even delete some of your hotel’s web content without feeling guilty. Also, you will learn how to conceptualize clear, concise content that meets your users’ needs. For now, let’s get started with an overview on the techniques you will need along the way.
Your problem: the content monster
One thing I’ve learned in my first semester of studying Content Strategy: even the good websites are bad (most of the time). Yours probably is, too.
A quick browse through some big hotel chains’ websites (e.g. like Hilton or Accor) lead to similar results: me being overwhelmed by all the content and all the options. As a user my first (and last) thoughts are “If a stay in your hotel is like the experience on your website, then bye.” This reaction is probably not even closely related to one of your company goals. But the thing is, if I have never been a guest at your hotel before, your content is one of my most important points of reference. Especially in fields that are as competitive as the hotel industry it’s important to stand out and cut through your competitors’ clutter.
So why does content still get neglected? Honestly, I am surprised about this all the time because users could get convinced of brands easily, if they are provided with a pleasant experience.
Your solution: Taming the content monster
The good news is, your way to a better website doesn’t have to be hard. Once you know some basics about what’s really important to put on your website you can tame your content monster. Your future guests will thank you! All you need to improve your content quality and represent your brand in a good way is a message architecture, a content inventory as well as a qualitative content audit.
First things first. A basic starting point on our journey is the message architecture of your brand. The message architecture will show the hierarchy of your communication goals. Those goals should be represented across all your channels. In words, pictures and even the choice of content types. With a strong brand message, your content can stand out. If you want to know more about the message architecture and how to define it, check out this article.
Your next step will be a content inventory that lets you asses your content from a quantitative aspect. How many pages do you have on your website? What content types are used? Are titles and metadata used in the right way? As a hotel chain you probably have an extensive website. Therefore, a manual inventory is not an option. But thankfully some tools are here to help and to provide a very detailed insight. One of them is Screaming Frog SEO Spider. With the inventory you will be able to identify patterns and get useful SEO insights. Also, you will be surprised how much content has piled up in the past few years.
Qualitative content audit
The content inventory mentioned above shows the status quo of your website and is the basis of your qualitative content audit. Before conducting the qualitative audit, you need to define criteria you want to assess. Think about how the quality of content can show. Criteria could be the brand message, currency, accuracy, usability & UX, depth & breadth of content and many more. After assessing those criteria page by page you will be able to define potential problems of your content and how serious they are.
With the insights of the content inventory and qualitative audit you can prepare recommendations for improving the content. Now all that’s left to do is to implement them. Be aware that for big websites this process will take some time, but it will be worth it. In the end, your returning visitors on the web are more likely to become returning visitors in your hotel. Win – win, right?
Accor. (2022). all.accor.com/
Bloomstein, M. (2012). Content strategy at work: Real-world stories to strengthen every interactive project. Morgan Kaufmann.
FH JOANNEUM. (2022). Content Strategy. fh-joanneum.at
Hilton Hotels. (2022). hilton.com
Land, P. L. (2014). Content audits and inventories: A handbook. Laguna Hills : XML Press Ibswich, Mass. : EBSCO Publ.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider. (2022). screamingfrog.co.uk