Five years ago — back when I was building WordPress themes for accommodation owners — the idea of an online bookings system giving away free websites would have set some alarm bells ringing:
- Are they trying to undermine and devalue my industry?
- Do they have the skills to deliver?
- What if everyone chooses free over me?!
Fast-forward five years
The web design landscape has changed, dramatically.
Now it’s easy for anyone to create a website in a matter of minutes. Without a drop of programming knowledge, you can be the proud owner of a reliable, responsive, easy to manage website for only a few dollars a month – even the hosting, domain name, and security certificates are taken care of.
SquareSpace, Wix and Weebly have commoditized the market and re-shaped it into something accessible for any small business owner. The cost and complexity of website development is no longer an excuse. You must have a URL to share.
Web developers are grappling with the repercussions
Skilled web developers are moving up the chain by providing a greater range of services for their customers, along with bespoke solutions that would fall outside and above the abilities of low-cost website builders.
As the client, you’re benefitting from the web developer’s ever-improving abilities. The bad news is that skilful people have every right to demand a higher price.
Meanwhile, the low-skilled web developer isn’t upping their rates. Instead, they’re trying to compete with website-builder products by selling a service that isn’t much more than installing themes that anybody could purchase.
Business is chugging along; websites are going live. But existing customers are getting frustrated when they want to take their website a step further because the buy-and-apply web designer lacks the necessary skills to make the existing site stand out in a competitive online marketplace.
A Working Accommodation Website
Gone are the days of just having a website – the value now lies in having a website that can get you bookings and generate value for your business.
The website needs to do some work. The booking process needs to be central to the visitor experience.
The skilled web developer will have this in their arsenal and be able to loop Inn Style effectively into their next amazing online creation.
Alternatively, Inn Style is including a website with every paid plan that integrates the booking experience right out of the box. This gives you the opportunity to have a website that works – without the need to spend more money, or spend the time muddling through.
Only the unskilled web designer should be worried.