Does your website drive away business?

How much business is your website costing you?

Seriously, from a meetings perspective industry websites are a mess.

* They are inaccurate.

* They lack essential information.

* They are hard to navigate.

* They lack prominence.

* They overlook benefits which could help spur interest in the property or place.

Meetings account for 30 to 40 percent of a hotel’s business, yet the information planners and incentive houses need is dismissively handled on websites. It is little more than an afterthought. Convention centers and off-site venues are equally bad. Collateral print and digital materials don’t compliment websites.

I have recently researched back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back destination pieces for meeting magazines and the shoddy detail, missing detail and lack of direction is almost an industry standard. The oversights and errors may be becoming codified by the consolidation in property ownership, which spreads a mistake made at one property across the brand and to all flags within the chain. Today a VP destination sales told me that in his nine years on the job I was the first person to point out the glaring error in their website. It’s bad enough that the organization didn’t realize this, but how many planners have been misinformed and moved on to a competitor destination which they thought better fit their needs?

Instead of being the property or venue’s 24/7 workhorse, websites are frustrating and turning off potential clients. The attitude towards the information is about 15 years behind customer needs and work habits.

The fix isn’t expensive. It’s about knowing what planners and incentive houses require and look for, and understanding their frustrations at what essential information consistently ignored by increasingly generic websites. So far web audits take less than a day to complete, and probably less than an hour for the client’s webmaster to implement.

I could be more detailed in what needs to be done, but web audits are a service I sell. My audits are based on 27 years covering the meetings and incentive sector for magazines in Canada and the United States. It’s an inexpensive way to be relevant to key buyers.

You invest in a website because you believe it’s important for your business, so why wouldn’t you audit it to ensure it accurately represents your property and service?

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