Great Hotels of the World and Special Hotels of the World, representing some of the world’s finest independent hotels, have recently launched their brand new websites http://www.ghotw.com and http://www.shotw.com at the Great Hotels Organization (GHO) Annual Members’ Conference 2008.
The completely redesigned sites have taken 18 months to develop and, through their new emphasis on web 2.0, will offer an enhanced user experience and improved search engine optimization. This, together with the additional multi-room booking functionality, is expected to generate an improved look-to-book ratio for member hotels.
Acknowledging the sites have just seconds to capture visitors’ attention and keep them browsing, the new sites have been created using the latest Ajax and Java Script technology. This permits the sites to be faster and more responsive to visitor commands, enabling them to support the new web 2.0 features and graphics without compromising on user experience.
The most significant changes are the integrated web 2.0 elements, which will enable travelers to share their own reviews and photos of the featured hotels they have visited.
Site interaction is available through the new free-to-use honeymoon registry service, which will allow couples to raise funds on the site, allowing friends and family to securely contribute to the couple’s dream honeymoon. The couples can set a target and watch their funds grow with the innovative rising heart feature.
Where extra holiday support is required, travelers will also now be able to chat online or over the telephone with a luxury travel advisor, or hotel details can be forwarded to friends and family to similarly share the process of selecting hotels.
The elegant new sites place emphasis on providing improved graphics, including a carousel which signposts visitors the fastest route to the information required. This extends to the upgraded search function, which enables discerning travelers to better refine their searches according to personal preferences.
The sites continue to offer specific sections for popular spa, golf, honeymoon and romantic hotels but add new niche and facility search terms, including for family, beach, gourmet and boutique hotels, to offer a total of over 20 searchable requirements. These new niche sections will also allow Great Hotels of the World and Special Hotels of the World to promote exclusive managed rates and luxury offers more widely and effectively across the sites, benefiting both hotels and consumers.
Member hotels will continue to have their own mini-page, but upgrades to the information available include: bigger images, insider tips on what to do and where to go, details on hotel accolades and celebrity guests, guest photos, interactive maps with travel and weather information, up-to-date travel guides and links to topical magazine articles to ensure guests can make the most of their visits.
Lilou Mace, Internet marketing director, Great Hotels Organization, explained, “The new sites are designed to empower consumers to share their experiences of hotels. An increased emphasis on web 2.0 features, rich content, unique luxury travel offers and smooth online experience ensures the sites reflect the latest trends in the industry and offers member hotels broader insights into the latest travelers’ needs.”