In addition to being voted the ‘Best Hotel & Lodging Industry’ site in 2003 by The Web Marketing Association and winning a Golden Click Gold Web Award at the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Adrian Awards in New York last month, luxury global hotel group Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts’ website (www.lemeridien.com
) ended 2003 with a record 96 per cent increase in the number of on-line reservations. In January 2004 the site booked more revenue and received more visitors than in any previous month to date.
Just over two years ago, Le Méridien was part of hotel giant Forte’s multi-brand site. Once Le Méridien became an independent brand in 2001, a new site was created.
Working with industry specialists Bath-based Open World, Le Méridien’s Director of E-commerce Andrew Pozniak set about re-designing the site offering integrated on-line reservations, strong visual impact in-line with the brand identity, and conformity of content in two additional languages - French and Japanese.
During 2004, Pozniak and his team plan to add to the foreign language versions by implementing the first phase of a German language site and further expand the existing French site in order to drive business from these key markets.
“We are continuing to make enhancements to the booking engine to improve usability and to effectively showcase the products developed by Le Méridien’s marketing team.
“We also intend to roll out a range of Le Méridien branded hotel sites, built specifically for the search engines. Additionally, Le Méridien regards search engine advertising as a cost effective method of generating revenue for our hotels, and we will work with the hotels to maximise this important marketing tool.”
Pozniak believes that travel companies with central reservations offices offering round-the-clock contact centre support to their branded website will perform strongly in the market. “Our data show that the website drives considerably more calls to the reservations centre, where trained sales consultants can confirm the reservation or support the customer in making the booking on-line