Competition Heats Up With A New Hotel Website In Mackenzie BC
This spring I had the great pleasure of building my first hotel website, for a small, independently owned property in a small town in Northern British Columbia, Mackenzie. Part of the project research included a two night stay at the hotel, and a home-cooked dinner in the suite of its resident managers, Tom and Charlene Knight. Tough gig!
Mackenzie BC is a boom and bust, resource-economy driven town. The Alexander Mackenzie Hotel, with its attached Mackenzie Centre Mall, is at its epicentre. When times were better in Mackenzie, while a mine was being constructed nearby, a local businessman decided to build another competing hotel across town. Naturally, this forced the Alexander Mackenzie Hotel to begin wooing its guests more aggressively. Especially key to this plan was a new, mobile-friendly website. Their old website was dated and looked horrible on mobile phones. Worse, it featured old images from before the hotel’s interior was renovated. For these reasons, it had to go.
The new hotel website is simple and easy to navigate. Every page features professionally shot photography of the hotel’s interior. Furthermore, full pages are dedicated to the amenities of the attached mall, as well as the hotel staff, who all live in this small town.
The Alexander Mackenzie Hotel website needed to clearly highlight the advantages of staying at the Alexander Mackenzie over its competition. Central to this is the convenience of the attached mall, which houses a supermarket, several liquor stores, a pharmacy, restaurants and more. Most people who come to Mackenzie are coming for work, and that work is often at a mill or a mine. Because of this, a comfortable hotel room with the conveniences of home close by, especially in winter, is a huge draw. So are substantial rooms with full kitchens, and an exceptionally high standard of cleanliness. Furthermore, the website needed plenty of interior shots to emphasize that the hotel had been recently renovated inside, despite its somewhat dated looking exterior.
The staff at the Alexander Mackenzie Hotel are mostly long time members of the local community who have worked at the hotel for a long time. Repeat customers, of which there are many, enjoy seeing the same faces when they come back frequently. Incorporating this benefit into the hotel’s website was also important. This was the rationale behind the ‘your hosts’ page, which even gets a plug in for the hotel workers’ union. Many Alexander Mackenzie hotel guests are also members of their own unions, so this may appeal to them.
Behind the scenes, page redirects were put in place so none of the traffic to their old website, including search engine traffic, was lost in transition to the new site. Anyone heading to bookmarked pages on the prior website gets automatically and invisibly forwarded to corresponding pages on the new site.
Furthermore, the site is “search engine optimized”, and the hotel website currently ranks #1 for “mackenzie BC hotels” and “hotel in mackenzie bc”, well ahead of the new competition.
Perhaps most importantly, a “call to action”, a red button on the top right hand corner on every page, leads to the online booking form. This form began generating reservations the day the new site was launched!
I’m very pleased with how this site turned out, as are the owners and operators of the hotel. If you are ever in Mackenzie, be sure to stay there, and say hi to Tom and Cheryl!