Here at Net Affinity, each individual member of our team is bursting with knowledge, passion and skill that needs to be shared. That’s where our Expert’s Opinion comes into play. It’s time for part two of our series! This week we got chatting to Julie, our Project Manager. Julie’s focus is on all aspects of a website build, including strategic planning, online marketing and conversion optimisation. Julie will be sharing her insight into securing the perfect website for your hotel.

As your main focus is managing new website builds and re-brands for hotels, what is the first step you take to ensure that the hotel gets the perfect website for their brand?

Every hotel has its own identity, its own personality. This doesn’t just come from the branding but also from the staff, the history, the location and the ethos of the hotel. One of the first steps in the project process is to meet with the client and gatherthis information first hand so that the personality of the hotel can be portrayed on their site. Every hotel is different in what their key market segments are. A bespoke website is useful in this regard as we can tailor the site to suit specific revenue streams.

Web Design

What is your advice for hotels when creating a web design brief?

Firstly, have a clear idea of what the main commercial goal of the website is. Secondly, have a thorough understanding of your business now but also who your target market is going to be. Future proofing is important, so if you plan on changing your hotel offering it’s good to prepare for that, especially before commencing with a bespoke website design. You can also read more in this post on creating a web design brief.

What are the benefits of a bespoke website?

User Experience is always critical to the success of a website but especially with eCommerce sites. Our design team are experts in this, and our online Conversion Team review the designs to make sure that the site is best in class in terms of getting the visitor to move through the booking process and convert.

When a client gets a bespoke website they also get a lot of behind the scenes time that they never knew about. Technology is fast moving and we need to keep abreast with the most up to date research, this will inevitably mean that the next bespoke website launched is going to be better than the last.

How do you manage the expectations vs the needs of a client?

A hotel’s website should have a clear purpose, whether it is to get direct room bookings, wedding enquiries, brochure downloads etc. These are the needs of the site which will always have to take precedence over wants. A lot of the time the wants of clients are somewhat related to their needs, so we just have to advise the client on how these wants can best be molded into the site.

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If a client’s preference is to have items on or a specific design on their site which may not in fact work well from a conversion point of view, then we need to be able to explain why this might not be the best thing to do. This ties back to what I mentioned earlier about knowledge. Once we have the knowledge of best practices and developments in technology we can provide the best solutions to ensure the client is happy from a design point of view but also from a conversion point of view.

Lastly, what are the most important attributes of a project manager to do their job effectively?

The most critical attribute of a good project manager is good communication skills. Within any given project there are many stakeholders. Secondly, good organisational skills and strategy are key. Delivering a website can take months in terms of bespoke websites so keeping everything running smoothly towards the targeted delivery date is very important. You can be working on a number of projects consecutively and you need to give each one the time it deserves. Lastly, knowledge of the product and having a good understanding of the client’s needs is very beneficial.

It can sometimes be hard for clients to envisage exactly how their site is going to look at the start of the process. They are putting faith in us to deliver what they had imagined, so it’s our goal to deliver them something even better. When I have a client who is delighted with the design and its performance, then I know I have done my job effectively.