How to Build
an Online Quality Hotel Directory
directories are beneficial and useful tools to traveling
consumers seeking quality hotels located on one
convenient site. Building an online directory is of
moderate difficulty depending upon the approach.
However, with over 30 online United Kingdom hotel
directories online, the question becomes, “Is this an
economically sound investment?” The answer depends upon
several criteria. In this guide, the economic viability
of an online directory and the dangers of establishing
an online directory will be explored.
Question 1: Is
it Possible to Build an Online Directory Listing Quality
answer simply is yes. Building a directory website of
only top quality hotels would be easy to build
physically. Currently, there are over 12 hotel
directories that offer lists of the four and five star
accommodations in the United Kingdom. Therefore, this
need has been met by 12 other websites other than yours.
Question 2: Is
a Quality Online Hotel Directory Economically Viable?
12 or more other websites are already listing quality
hotels, you will not have a competitive advantage in
this area. Your company will have to establish a unique
service or presentation of the information in order for
the site to be competitively positioned. The economic
viability of the website will depend upon a number of
1. Partnerships with Hotels Listed on the Website
2. Marketing and Search Engine Optimization
3. The Layout and Design of the Website
4. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
5. Tourism in the United Kingdom
6. Demand for Quality Hotel Accommodations
7. Knowing the Target Audience
Each of these criteria is essential in establishing an
economically viable website. The success of the website
will depend upon the number of partnerships established,
the ability to drive traffic to the website and the
ability to convince customers to sign up through the
website. Income will be generated by advertising on the
website through Pay-Per-Click campaigns and through
referral fees from the hotel partnerships. To become
economically viable, the website would need millions of
visitors interested in the third party products
advertised or several thousand to millions of referrals.
With over a billion users on the Internet, the numbers
are reasonable. However, the challenge becomes finding
consumers interested in quality UK hotels. This will
require investing in advertising on other websites and
through social media. If the marketing aspects of the
plan are executed properly, the economic viability will
only depend upon the demand for quality hotels within
the United Kingdom and the number of visitors to the
Traditionally, the United Kingdom has been in the top
ten tourist destinations in the world. In 2003, the
country was ranked 6th in the world with 24.8 million
visitors. Tourists reportedly spent $17.2 billion in
2003. In 2009, the global economic recession deterred
tourists from traveling abroad. During this time, most
individuals traveling were taking shorter holidays in
mid-tier hotels. Though tourism numbers increased in the
third and fourth quarters of 2009, the industry has not
fully recovered. Therefore, the economic viability of
this type of website may be dependent upon the recovery
of the tourism industry or the targeting of a specific
audience, such as business travelers or other interest
groups. Investors are encouraged to purchase reports
regarding the economic forecast of tourism in the United
Kingdom prior to making an investment.
How Would You Establish an Online Hotel Directory?
a Business Plan
physically building the website, you must first develop
a business plan. Set your financial goals for the
website. Determine if the income generated needs to be
immediate or if you can wait for the industry to
recover. Ascertain how much capital will be needed to
build the website, host the website, establish business
partnerships, market the website and any other pertinent
expenses such as research, equipment, travel, etc.
Determine your Niche or Competitive Edge
What will your website offer that no other website
currently offers? Will you offer current pictures of the
rooms or a 360 degree video cam? Will you guarantee the
quality of the hotel through your site? Will you send
someone from your company to verify the quality of the
hotel? Will you have a location for guest's comments on
the hotel, as well as, individuals from your company?
Can you guarantee a lower rate than booking directly
through the hotel?
The company must establish why the consumer should visit
your quality online hotel directory over the 12 others
the Partnership Hotels
decide to develop partnerships with hotels, this may be
the single most challenging aspect of the entire
business plan. You will have to convince the hotels to
develop a relationship with your company and pay a
referral fee for any client they receive from your site.
Each hotel must determine that your company is providing
a value-add service.
Establishing business partnerships with the hotels
listed on your website may prove lucrative, depending
upon the referral fee. Hotels may pay your company a
pre-established referral fee each time a customer
reserves a room through your website. The price cannot
be too exorbitant, because it will reduce the hotel’s
profit margin. Therefore, your income will be dependent
on the sheer numbers of individuals who sign up through
the company’s website.
increase the number of referrals, the company must
launch an effective marketing campaign. The most
important part of the campaign is driving traffic to the
website. As a business owner, you will want to use
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to drive
your site to the top of the search engine’s list. This
is accomplished through using keywords and other
techniques. Once the visitor is on the website, the site
itself must be attractive enough to convince them to
review the information. The site should be professional,
informative, user-friendly, intuitive and organized.
Business owners should consult a professional website
designer to ensure the site is superior to the
Other aspects of the marketing campaign may consist of
email marketing campaigns, Pay-Per-Click campaigns and
marketing through social networking tools, such as
Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
What are Some Anticipated Pitfalls?
the website is the face of the company, all of the
interaction with the customer will be strictly online.
Therefore, the website must develop a significant
following on the web. Awareness of the company will be
instrumental in encouraging individuals to use your
company’s website over the competition’s website. A
company will need an initial investment of at least
$2,000 to $5,000 to build a customized professional
website. This price should include databases, search
engine optimization, copy, banners and all of the
features of an online store. Depending upon the type of
marketing, the owner may need between $3,000 to $50,000
or more to successfully market the website.
The two major pitfalls of this company will be
establishing effective partnerships with hotels and
driving a significant amount of traffic to the website
to generate revenue. Without these two items, the
website will be profitless.
Interested in a project like this or any other similar
online business? For free initial impartial advice
please contact me, Jim Davey, by mail at
jimdavey (at) webtradersonline.com