You may already have a website for your small hotel, or you may be thinking about creating one. Either way, you will inevitably stumble upon the term ‘content management system’ (CMS).
While all websites need a CMS, what determines which will be the best one for your small property comes down to its specific needs.
Here’s everything small accommodation providers need to know about selecting the best CMS for their property.
What is a content management system?
Put simply, a content management system (CMS) is a software system that allows you to manage all of your website content easily, without any technical skills.
‘Content’ includes all the elements of a website – pages, images, text, and videos.
In Wikipedia’s words, it’s ‘designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages to create and manage web content with relative ease’.
Why do you need a content management system?
Since yours is a small property, it’s likely that you’re working with a restricted budget when it comes to setting up and maintaining your website.
The correct CMS allows you to easily update your website on the fly, without having to hire a website developer to build all the elements you need.
In the long run, this saves you a lot of time and money.
What features should you look for in a content management system?
Your CMS will be the core of your small hotel’s website, so it’s important that you list out all of the features you want, making sure that it’s equipped to help you sell out your rooms online.
Have these on your checklist:
Simple to use
With a user-friendly CMS, you won’t need to hire anyone else to update your website for you, saving you heaps of time and money.
In 2015 (and especially in light of Google’s mobile algorithm update), support for mobile devices is a must for your CMS.
All of the technical bits (checking your page is well optimised, allowing you to rewrite URLs, and making sure your page’s loading speed is up to par) should be taken care of by your CMS provider.
Your website is the heart of your small hotel’s online presence, and you must protect it from cyber-attacks. Make sure you ask your vendor how they will protect your website.
Booking engine integration
Being able to sell your rooms online is a necessity. Your CMS should allow you to integrate with a booking engine so that potential guests can easily check your availability and make their reservations.
Different user roles should exist so that you can apply different levels of access according to job role. For example, you may hire a web developer on a project basis to help customise your website’s look and feel.
Check whether training is offered, and how responsive their support team is. Ask their past customers about their experience with them.
If you’re unsure where to start, the top three CMS’ which are totally free are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
However, WebDesignerDepot warns that WordPress can be vulnerable to attack, while Joomla and Drupal may be too complex for simple websites.
As with any decision, it’s important to take your time, do your research, and weigh your options.
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