Hotel Propeller Blog

Designing Your B&B Website. Should You Leave it To a Pro?

Your Bed & Breakfast needs a new website.  So where do you turn?

Well, it usually starts with two choices:  You could try and design your own website, or you could hire a professional web designer.  There are pro’s and con’s to each of these, and I’ll break those down in this article.

But — I’ll also tell you about an interesting 3rd option, that many Hotelier’s may not be aware of.  More about that in a moment…

To begin weighing these choices, we must start by asking ourselves this:

How Important is My Website to Business?

How you decide to prioritize your website in the grand scheme of things, will help inform the level of investment you put into it (time, money, energy, resources, etc).

As I’m sure you’re aware, most, if not all of your guests initially find you through online channels — be it a Google search, TripAdvisor, a listing on an local association directory, an email from a friend, the list goes on.  Nearly ALL of these channels will lead the visitor to your website.  And once they do land on your website, you can bet they’re ready to book their stay, they just need some convincing.

Considering your website is your storefront to the world and the last step before a customer books their stay with you, I’d say it should be one of your top, if not the top priority, when it comes to marketing your bed and breakfast.

Design Your Own vs. Hire a Pro

Let’s use the following table to compare the costs and benefits of designing your own Bed and Breakfast website, or hiring a web designer.  Tweet this

Then, we’ll consider a 3rd option, so be sure to read on…

Design Your Own

Hire a Professional

Save on up-front costs Spend $3,000 – $10,000 for a custom web design by a professional
Spend weeks/months to learn web design Save time and focus on running your business
Figure out all of the tech requirements & costs (hosting, security, domains, etc.) A professional can help with setup, but will still incur hosting costs.
Lack of experience can lead to a poorly designed website. Experienced professionals provide a higher quality finished product.
Potentially lower performance (inquiries, bookings) Higher performance (higher return on investment)

The bottom line:  Doing it yourself will save you money now, but probably cost you business later.  Hiring a professional web designer will have a higher initial cost, but should bring a higher return on investment later.

But what about those who recognize the value of professional web design, but are operating on a lower budget and can’t afford to hire a professional web designer?

Luckily, there’s a 3rd, perhaps more attractive option to consider…

Professional Design, Without the large Price Tag…

In the past few years, a new trend has emerged in the web design industry:  Template-based, or “theme” based websites.  More specifically, WordPress, the web’s leading Content Management System (CMS), is largely powered by website templates.

Our Hotel Propeller service is built using WordPress and is intended to be a streamlined route to getting onboard with WordPress and template-based web design.  But it’s still possible to put these pieces together yourself, and I’ll tell you how in a moment.

The benefit of going with a template-based website is that templates (for the most part) are designed by web design professionals.  These expert web craftsmen (and women) go to enormous lengths to produce the highest quality website templates possible.  Then, by offering them as a product for many people to use, this lowers the cost for you.

Now, as I said, it’s possible to put the pieces together yourself.  You’ll need the following:

  • Register your own domain name (approx $12/year)
  • Signup for your own web hosting provider (approx $120 – $200/year)
  • Install and configure a CMS, like WordPress (free, only takes time & technical know-how)
  • Purchase a premium WordPress Theme (approx $50-$100, one-time)
  • Configure various plugins & functionality, such as an online booking system, social media, email opt-ins, and more (time and costs vary)
  • Design your pages, content, and overall strategy (heavy initial time investment, ongoing time investment)

With a little research and know-how, you could do all of the following for relatively low cost, a moderate investment of time, and you’ll end up with a DIY website with a professional’s touch.  We at Hotel Propeller put together an all-in-one package to make all of the above easier, but as you can see, it’s certainly possible to dig in and do this yourself.

So there you have it… I hope this article helped to inform your decision as to whether or not you should hire a professional web designer, design your own website, or seek a balanced alternative when it comes to your Bed and Breakfast website.

Have questions?  I’ll be happy to answer either in private via email or in the comments section below 🙂

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