It’s been an ongoing mission of the major hotel brands to convince hotel management companies and hotel owners to “retire” their vanity websites. In fact, this has been going on for the last 15 years and the efforts have had marginal success for the brands. However, the brands have recently stepped up their efforts with more “forceful persuasions” this time around and have decided to pull out all stops in their efforts.
Much has been written in the past on the revenue benefits vanity sites have for properties and the value they provide to potential guests. But we thought it would be worthwhile for us to provide substantive and data driven facts as to show the real value vanity websites have for hotel operators and the brands.
For this article we reviewed data sets from a sampling of 25 branded vanity websites we have managed for over 5 years. Our findings conclusively support that branded hotel vanity websites remain relevant in 2017 and must be maintained to maximize direct booking revenue opportunities.
Top Reasons Why Vanity Websites Remain Relevant in 2017:
- Vanity websites have higher booking conversion rates than brand.com.
- Vanity websites capture qualified wedding and group event leads.
- Vanity websites outrank brand.com on Search Engines for localized search terms.
- Vanity websites provide differentiation against local independent hotel websites.
- Vanity websites offer differentiation against other same brand properties on brand.com.
- Google deems vanity websites as authoritative and provides them with “site links”.
Vanity websites have higher booking conversion rates than brand.com
The data continues to show that in many cases, vanity websites achieve higher online booking conversion rates than the brand.com sites. As reported by brand referral reports, we’ve consistently seen vanity website conversion rates north of 8%. This is a substantially higher booking conversion rate when compared to the brand.com conversion rates of 3%-4% overall. The vanity website higher conversion rates can be attributed to the marketing and messaging value vanity websites offer to potential guests. When vanity websites provide deep, localized content to visitors it increases the conversion rates dramatically when compared to the boring, cookie cutter, brand centric content found on brand.com.