Tag: Hotel WebsitesView All Tags
The best thing a hotel could do for its website is to make everything easy. Easy to book. Easy to look up hotel photos and information. Easy to view on a mobile device. The new website for South Beach’s Raleigh Hotelgets all these right.
The Miami hotel opened in 1942, and with the help of old Hollywood starlets like Esther Williams, it became one of the hotels that encapsulated the South Beach allure we know today. Fast foward 60 years later to 2012, when hip hotelier Sam Nazarian of sbe bought the historic hotel for $55 million (previously, Andre Balazs had managed The Raleigh.)
Since then, the Raleigh has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation. And, though the hotel and website have undergone some major changes, neither has lost any of its vintage glamour or charm.
Today, Best Western International officially began a partnership with Google to put together virtual tours of all 2,200 of its properties. The plan is to have Google professionally photograph the entire hotel, then string them together to create a "walk-through" experience on the hotel's website.
“Best Western’s leadership and owners acted strongly and decisively on two superior market insights: consumer decision making in the hospitality category is increasingly moving online, and the internet is becoming more of a visually-driven medium,” said Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales.
While there's no question Dowling is correct in her assessment on a general level when it comes to the Internet, we're still wondering how consumers feel about hotel websites. When we talked about them this summer, photos were definitely something potential customers enjoyed looking at, but experienced hotel-goers also noted how misleading "professional" photos can sometimes be, showing the hotel at its absolute best and not necessarily how it looks day-to-day.
Hotel News / Hotel WiFi / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Hotel Websites / Mandarin Oriental Profiles / → All Tags
While Mandarin Oriental Hotels have an impressive collection of hotels that never fail to dazzle, we've always been a bit annoyed by their WiFi charges, especially since their rooms don't come cheap. For example, at the Mandarin Oriental Paris, rooms cost over $1,000 USD but the hotel also charges another $20 for WiFi. Mon dieu! However, that will now change.
Mandarin Oriental has announced that they will give its guests complimentary internet access to those guests who create an online profile and book published rates through the hotel's own website. A-ha, we see what you've done here.
You can create your Mandarin Oriental online profile here. It's free to do but it does require you filling out some personal information like your name, address and gender. This will no doubt means you will be receiving some marketing mail, both paper and electronic, from Mandarin Oriental.
However, Mandarin Oriental does stress that they will offer you the best rate on their site. And if you find a better rate, Mandarin Oriental will not only match the rate, but they will offer you a further 10 percent reduction. And once you make your reservation through Mandarin Oriental, you'll get free internet access for up to six personal devices.
That's pretty rad. We hate having to jump through this online profile hoop but it does seem like it will pay off during our next stay. Now, if only we can scrounge up a $1,000 for the Mandarin Oriental Paris.
[Photo of Mandarin Oriental Paris: JasonD/HotelChatter]
Some uplifting news for Morgans Hotel Group today. The boutique hotel collection has recently launched a spiffy website that promises a "seamless booking process that takes the guest through the reservation process in less than four clicks".
In addition to the super-fast reservation system that will get you into the sleek Delano, Mondrian and other hot spots, guests can view hotels by brand or location and compare rates and availability at properties within the same city all on one screen.
The site, which comes behind the company's "Back of House" online lifestyle magazine, will also help guests navigate their way around their chosen destination. This comes by way of a Google Map feature which has interactive guides to attractions, museums, restaurants, nightlife destinations and shops and provide step-by-step directions to and from the hotel. The list will detail key local landmarks and hidden gems hand-selected by the hotels' expert concierges.
In addition, guests can instantly post travel plans on their social media platforms using the Morgans Hotel Group's Instagram feed or their own generated photos.
The site works across all platforms including desktops, tablets and mobile devices.
Created with rehabstudio, the Ace digital overhaul visually bumped up the individual sites yet retained that distinctive
hipster Ace style. Previously, the home page for each Ace Hotel was a smallish sort of box with various links and a small booking calendar.
Now, the sites have been zoomed in, so to speak, with larger text, larger photos and a larger calendar. Also, the sites feature a continuous scroll so you can just keep scrolling down for more info whether it be about the rooms, the public spaces or the amenities. That's pretty optimal for viewing on mobile devices and tablets as well.
We've seen our share of hotel hell in the past decade here at HotelChatter. Through our own hotel stays, and from reader-submitted hells, we've seen hairs in the tub, poop in the sink, condoms under the bed, and far too many suspicious stains on the bedspreads.
But in general, we like to focus on the positive side of hotel stays--killer views, pillow menus, room service treats, cool hotel tech and other thrilling amenities. After all, if we just chronicled the underbelly of hotels, we wouldn't have lasted this long. We'd be writing about vacation rentals instead.
So who are these people traveling around and then posting photos of the worst part of their hotel stay? Flight attendants, actually.
Something that's become pretty clear over the past few years: People like to book hotel stays through third-party sites.
There's a bazillion out there, from classics like Hotels.com and Expedia to the new and savvy PointsHound and Rocketmiles that really help you rack up the rewards. As a result of this ever-growing trend, we wonder where that leaves individual hotel websites. Does anyone really use them?
From the hotel's perspective, having a website is essential for, if nothing else, searchability and stature. In this age, if something doesn't have a website, it doesn't exist. But, for the consumer, what's the take away? A few photos? Mumbo-jumbo PR banter about how we should prepare to be "whisked" away into a "world of mystical luxury?"
We’d like to think that there isn’t much debate about the importance of having a decent hotel website these days. Yet, some major hotel groups still get it wrong, with limited imagery, poor design, and inconsistent room descriptions (InterContinental, we’re looking at you).
Browsing around Mandarin Oriental’s fancy new website, we’re happy to say there’s a lot to love. Particularly the lush, plentiful images. Aside from the ability to easily find practical information and make a reservation at the right rates, a hotel website should give us two things: a comprehensive idea of what the property looks like, or, if without immediate travel plans, a serious case of wanderlust. How could the below shot of the terrace at Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi (Chiang Mai) not make you want to pack your bags?
Hotel Openings / Hotel Deals / Sheraton Hotels / Macau Hotels / Hotel Websites / Starwood Hotels / → All Tags
Only one month away from its grand opening, the Sheraton Macao is set to become the largest hotel in Macao, as well as the largest property in Starwood's already-sizeable portfolio. With 3,863 rooms built inside two separate towers (dubbed, appropriately, 'Sky' and 'Earth'), the hotel is going out of its way to help guests make the most of their Macao stay.
How? Well, for starters, Sheraton launched new website earlier this month that helps guests navigate the "wide variety of experiences" available on the Cotai Strip. To do this, they've assembled a cast of four "themed" proto-guests, who each offer a different perspective on the city: food, heritage, adventure, and shopping. So even though you're likely to spend hours wandering the halls trying to re-locate your own room, at least you'll know how to maximize the rest of your time.
Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Openings / Hotel Indigo Hotels / Brooklyn Hotels / Hotel Websites / Aloft Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
UPDATE 8.15.12: Sike. The Hotel Indigo Brooklyn actually opened as initially promised on August 1st, even though when we wrote this story the hotel's website was saying October 4. Nevertheless, you can check out our in-person visit of the new spot right here.
Well, it's still going to be an Indigo but the opening date has been moved to October 4. The hotel's website is up and running and we found rates for $224 a night for a queen-sized bed. That rate also includes a 37" HDTV, free WiFi and even a microwave and refrigerator. A king room was going for $254 a night while a king suite was $324.
We couldn't see any square footage measurements and we're not sure we can trust those room photos. The first one looks like it is up to Hotel Indigo standards with that hardwood floor. But the second one is a shot of the rooms at Aloft Brooklyn. What the what? See for yourself below.
It's always 11pm somewhere in the world...
We like it when hotels tell us what to do. After all, they're the experts (or at least should be) on local activities, when to drink, where to visit—plus, it's always good to add a bit of structure to your hotel stay. And that's just what the newly refurbished Palace Hotel Tokyo is offering on their website—the home screen makes subtle itinerary suggestions like the best times to eat sushi, have a cocktail, visit the spa...or just laze in bed (one of our favorites).
Opening next month (May 17 to be exact), the 290-room Palace Hotel Toyko will be a re-envisioning of the original Palace Hotel, which opened in 1961 as Japan's first ever mixed use office-hotel building. That hotel was then razed in 2009 to make way for this newer, sleeker, more modernized version. Ten restaurants and bars, a Club Lounge, an Evian spa and free WiFi are some of the amenities the hotel is advertising, though we're mainly interested in the fact that all rooms supposedly have views of the gardens at Tokyo's Imperial Palace.
There's been a lot of buzz lately about new kinds of hotel booking sites that claim to give you the most possible control over your reservation, whether that means a last-minute booking or simply a lower price. Fledgling hubs like Tingo and BackBid supposedly help guests get the better deal, but they also create a lot of uncertainty around the booking process. On these newer sites, even after an initial hotel room has been booked, things remain up in the air until guests feel they can't do any better.
So, where do you fall in this spectrum?
Are you more of an old-school, pick-up-the-phone-and-call kind of booker? Or do you try to luck out with a blind booking on Hotwire? Or maybe you like to toy with fate and book your hotel on HotelTonight a few hours before check-in?
Either way, there are tons of choices these days on ways to book a hotel, and we're asking you: what are your tricks, habits and techniques for getting the best possible deal?