What’s the Difference Between a Brand or a Vanity Hotel Website

by | April 17, 2019

[Updated 1/13/2020] A website is a vital piece of any business’ success. But unlike most other businesses, hotels are often provided a website when they choose a brand to be a part of. They must then decide if they will use only the brand website for publicity or if they want to create a vanity hotel website. In this article, we will break down the differences between a brand and a vanity hotel website and the cost of investing in a vanity site. 

Differences Between a Brand and Vanity Hotel Website

Increase Direct Bookings and Avoid Local Competition 

One of the best reasons to invest in a vanity website is by lessening your dependence on OTA bookings. A booking on your vanity site is worth two on an OTA like Expedia or Orbitz, because you keep 100% of the revenue generated. Plus, you’re building loyalty with a guest who books directly instead of on travel websites.  

So why not just rely on your brand site? Unlike a vanity hotel website that is focused on only your hotel, a brand site is built to spotlight all hotels in the area under the umbrella brand. A Wyndham hotel in one city is competing against every other Wyndham, Howard Johnson, Microtel, Wyngates, and more. Every page is just one click away from another hotel competitor.

When we refer to a “brand” website, that means the single page listing your hotel gets for being a part of that brand. For instance, when a traveler searches “Fort Lauderdale” on Hilton.com, they see 13 hotels. By clicking “View Rates” on one of the listings, they will navigate to a page with the room types to choose from and five included amenities (see below). This would be your “brand.com website”. 

Provide More Details to Encourage Bookings

When the only difference between hotels on a brand.com website is pricing, location on a map, and photos, it’s really easy for a website visitor to view other hotels for their stay. On the other hand, if a prospective guest researches hotels on OTAs and then goes to find more information on the brand website, very few details are provided there. That’s why building a website with more photos, descriptions, and content can help your hotel stand above the rest. 

The biggest difference between a brand and vanity website comes down to how much information you are providing guests. The more information you provide, the more your guests can trust the hotel they’re choosing. Here is the general breakdown:

Brand.com Website Vanity Hotel Website
Basic Details
Room types
Hotel Policies
Custom local content
Longform SEO content
Customizable design
Theme Choices
High-resolution photos
Social media integration
Review integration
Website analytics
Blog availability

All in all, your vanity hotel website provides more features for you to spotlight your hotel. It will help you compete against local competitors, including those within your parent brand. And, with direct booking capabilities, you’ll earn more direct revenue. 

How Much Does a Hotel Website Cost?

We know that the first question hotel owners ask about is the cost. When you join a franchise like Marriott or Holiday Inn, you could spend tens of thousands of dollars to be a part of the brand plus ongoing fees per reservation. In exchange, you receive the benefits of that company’s brand recognition, marketing efforts, and technology like a reservation system and HR support.

The cost of your branded hotel website is rolled into the marketing fees you pay to your brand. If you want a vanity website, this cost will be separate from the brand fees you’re already paying. The price of a hotel website ranges based on the level of customization you want, but websites are cheaper today than ever before. They can pay for themselves in as little as one or two bookings per month – especially when the savings of OTA fees are taken into account.

Take Control of Your Online Presence

Want to see a live demo to find out how easy it is to customize your hotel’s website? Just visit our Hotel Websites page and complete the form. We’ll also explain how your social media and online reviews work with your website to generate interest and bookings. 


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