I’ve seen it being done and I’m in the process of doing it myself, albeit in a more or less triple jumpy way.
I’ve announced this as My Main Project for 2010 already in January. Therefor this is number 2 in what will become a mini series.
However I had started a lot earlier with a post Haagsche Suites – At your service. That post didn’t come into existence than after various trial and errors with installing the WordPress Software, various updates and an unfortunate migration of the site to another server. If you like, you can read What is slowing down the Site Transition?.
The major jump forward (or should I say giant or quantum leap forward?) dates from last week and past weekend and is fourfold now:
- I use the booking engine of Hoteliers.com for guests to book my suites. Last week with their help I finally managed to take the main hurdle. I wanted availability viewable from every page on the hotel site. Now the widget opens in the main body of the site and is easy readable. However, the downside is that I cannot use any other widget than that, at least no other widget that uses an IFrame, because both wouldn’t work anymore.
Nevertheless: I believe every hotel should consider using Hoteliers.com They provide very good value for money and are a good counter balance to the other parties on the web who (re)sell your hotel rooms on the commission model. They are awfully costly for the hoteliers. In addition I believe those commission based room (re) sellers are among the largest advertisers on Google who make the fat company fatter and fatter. But I will go deeper into this issue in a separate post
- With the release and installation of Thesis Theme version 1.7 of DIY Themes it is much easier to create drop down menus to make navigation of your site simpler for your site visitors. However, I do hope with version 2 they will come up with alternative navigation possibilities, as it is my experience that users do not always understand drop down menues.
- In addition Thesis version 1.7 is written for optimal speeding up the load time of your site or blog and there is no other theme alike for fine tuning your site for SEO.
- Darren Cronian of Travelrants pointed me again to the Nexgen Gallery plugin for WordPress by Alex Rabe. I had kicked it out earlier, because it didn’t go well with the PHP – MySQL version of my service provider. Now it works fine. I have played around with the size of the thumbnails extensively: As long as it took to get a balance between loading time and visibility of the thumbs, because I believe a homepage should not be packed with images and other stuff. It should be the easily navigable point of entry to my little empire.
I’m proud the landing page Haagsche Suites takes only 1.43 seconds to load.
I measure the speed with a FireFox addon, Firebug 1.5.3, a nifty little tool every Blogger should have. Not only does it show speed, but it also gives errors. Firebug also tells me I should do away with all those widgets that load faces, little avatars of those who visit my sites. I love to put faces to the visitors of my sites, but “No” Firebus says “You should kick them out”.
Therefore I have taken away already several of such time consuming widgets from here like MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog and some more I already forgot. Recently I found a nifty new widget on the BlogCatalog Site.
I have also taken away the Google Friends widget, in one way or another Google doesn’t succeed in being socially acceptable. Buzz Failed in my opinion and Google friends doesn’t do a lot either and takes tremendous amounts of time to load. Face Book on the contrary made a quantum leap forward wit it’s I’Like program, but the widgets I use here are also much to time consuming.
During the last couple of weeks I’ve been experimenting with another nice WordPress Plugin, Link Within which gives your readers suggestions for similar posts combined with little thumbs of those posts. My conclusion is that I will get rid of it again, as it costs too much time to load and isn’t as to the point as the similar posts plugin.
I thought to provide some good examples of blog based hotel sites for your consideration:
- Chanters Lodge by @Richard Chanters does a good job with a self hosted blogspot based hotel site. He’s a frontrunner as he started out very early at the now closed Yahoo “platform”.
- I mentioned the Witt Istanbul earlier here.Now they seem to have moved their blog part somewhere else. Curious to know why, but what a stylish site!
- I found the Caro Hotel in Romania
- Umi Hotels in Brighton, UK
More will follow if and when you or I discover them.