SiteMinder kicks off their Expert Partner Series with Pebble Design
SiteMinder has launched their brand new Expert Partner Series and has interviewed Brendan for the launch. This gave Brendan a great opportunity to reveal some of his latest insights and strategies for success. Learn from his many years of experience in working directly with clients and hotels worldwide.
Give us a quick overview of yourself/Pebble
We translate the passion our clients have for their hotels into stunning, functional websites that drive ever-increasing direct revenue back to our client who can then continue to enhance the experience for the guest. Our client base is mostly luxury boutique hotels in Australia, New Zealand and a handful worldwide. We are trusted leaders in what we do, with a deep industry knowledge and passion for hotel web design.
What do you love about your job? And what do you not love?
At present I really love collaborating with other creative minds, pooling our resources, experiences and wisdom learned to create something amazing together.
I’m really not loving not being able to meet with people face to face and travel to see my clients. The collaborative energy when people are together I believe is much richer and you can bounce ideas off each other and spiral the conversation upwards.
How important is a quality website and what’s the first piece of advice you’d give to hoteliers when setting up or populating their website?
I have a background working in full service agencies in Sydney and London and without a doubt, the most powerful marketing tool any business can leverage today is their website. They are easy to keep fresh and up-to-date and we can glean valuable insights from user behaviour via the stats, which is absolute gold. The first bit of advice we encourage is to dial the complexity down and deliver a clean, simple, message that speaks volumes of their USP, their style, their story. This is what guests connect with at a deeper level.
“Without a doubt, the most powerful marketing tool any business can leverage today is their website. They are easy to keep fresh and up-to-date and we can glean valuable insights from user behaviour via the stats, which is absolute gold”
What are some must-haves to create a great user experience as well as drive conversions for the business?
Having now been building hotel websites for over 22 years the key ingredients are – great imagery and video that immerses guests in the narrative, a ‘tone of voice’ that personifies the experience and lastly, strategic design that is mindful of the hoteliers needs and yet is a breeze for their guests to explore and enjoy. Every part of the digital journey is also strategically woven into the SEO master plan.
What are some cardinal sins you’ve seen, or things hoteliers should avoid doing with their website?
Not being original and using ‘generic web templates’ to cut costs and then squishing round tomatoes into square holes. What a mess…
Not giving online bookers what they want and need in the first 2-3 screens to emotionally engage and make a booking. People need just the right amount of information to make that booking, not too little and definitely not too much.
Exit links, exit links, exit links, I see far too many exit links and even get requested to add exit links.
Poor quality images that don’t convey a story or an experience that people want to actually buy into. Selling just the real estate is different to selling the experience through imagery.
Why is it crucial for hotels to work with software or developers that are industry-specific?
There is a wealth of experience and learnings to draw on from the many facets and nuances having spent so many years focused in this industry. It is this wisdom that reliably equates to success online. It also takes the right culture, purpose and vision of an organisation to have their finger on the pulse of that industry to truly be of service to their clients. I see many companies who rest on their morels or are slow to adapt or pivot to market shifts, needs and demands. We love working with equally progressive teams and organisations, like SiteMinder.
Can you sum up the overall and long-term benefits of adopting a beautiful and modern hotel website?
Quite simply, having a state of the art website leads to the best user experience online which in turn generates the most direct revenue, which in turn drives higher profits for hoteliers, who in turn can exaggerate the experience for their guests, which in turn leads to ‘remarkable’ stays that guests rave about, which in turn generates more bookings and revue. It is a bit of a domino effect and it’s the larger game that needs to be played. After all this is the ‘hospitality’ industry, where ‘being of service’ is what it is all about. As a result, healthy profits will be continually generated along the way.