Just like the dynamic industry we cover, HotelNewsNow.com is in a perpetual state of transition. We believe change is good. So, after two years with a design that allowed HotelNewsNow.com to establish an identity, we went back to the drawing board—sort of.
When we set out on this journey nearly six months ago, our goal was to tighten our presentation to allow readers to more efficiently use their time. With more than 4,300 articles in our archives, we’ve got a nice foundation to build on. We know there are time constraints for busy hotel people to read our stuff. We also know there are plenty of other quality hotel-related business-to-business sites out there. And we know we wanted to further differentiate HotelNewsNow.com from the crowded playing field.
What you see on our site today is a cleaner, crisper look that will afford our readers better navigation around the site. Our home page allows us to use larger, bolder photos and illustrations. It allows us to feature our top stories in a prime position while also putting other news stories front and center. We’ve broken our data-related entries from STR, our parent company, and sister company STR Global into their own section to allow the numbers nuts to run wild.
We’ve moved some things around—for instance, the hotel stock ticker is no longer on the home page because the coding required to run it wreaked havoc on our search-engine optimization efforts. But it still has a home on our Hotel Assets and Hotel Stock Report pages. Plus, you can always get to it through HotelStockIndex.com. We’ve also moved our trademark video interviews from our home page to the Videos page. We’ve received good feedback about the videos, but we realized that our former home page was trying to be all things to all readers.
To cut down on the clutter, we’ve even combined some of our previous categories to make the site more inviting to readers. First-time visitors won’t be so overwhelmed and regular readers will have an easier time finding what they want. And we know what they want.
As a long-time print journalist, I’ve always believed I had ink for blood. And while I still have affection for ink and paper, I’m more intrigued by Web journalism every day—the biggest reason being that we can track how many times a particular article is read. That’s how we know articles on revenue management are devoured by readers. Same thing with stories about the individual chain-scale segments. Ditto for development. By using the drop down menus in the tool bar incorporated into our nameplate, you can find the topics that interest you most.
What won’t change is our commitment to unique content. We publish some press releases we believe are of interest to the hotel community, but our calling card is producing content that can’t be found anywhere else on the Web. We’re devoted to a digital platform that educates and provides pertinent information—you might even say “vital information.” We did. Our new tagline emphasizes our mission: “Vital information for hotel decision makers.”
One area we didn’t mess with is the breakdown of articles by region. We’re building a global audience and want our content to reflect it. As I write this at about 10 p.m. Eastern time Monday night, I can see that we have visitors from Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul and Alice Springs, Australia. Previously on Tuesday we had readers from 47 countries outside of the United States. Many of them are interested in the topics I previously mentioned, but they also like to read about what’s going on close to home.
An internal reorganization
That’s why we’ve tinkered with our staffing duties:
- Stacey Higgins, who has been with HotelNewsNow.com since Day 1, is now overseeing international coverage as News Editor-International. She is focusing on developing more content from around the globe.
- Jason Q. Freed, who joined us a month ago and has a solid track record in hotel-industry reporting while at Hotel & Motel Management, is our News Editor-Americas.
- Patrick Mayock, another staffer who has been with us since our launch in 2008, is now overseeing feature stories and columnists.
- Shawn A. Turner has been with us for a year already and is spearheading our financial coverage.
It’s a strong team that will help HotelNewsNow.com continue to grow. We’re introducing new products this month. Within the next week, HotelNewsNow.com’s Product Showcase newsletter will debut. Shortly after that, we’ll publish a newsletter dedicated to covering the hotel real estate investment market.
It’s an exciting time to be part of HotelNewsNow.com. We are humbled by the positive reaction we have received from the industry and we are sincerely and respectfully thankful to our readers. We know you are busy and plan to live up to our promise of supplying vital information you can put to use every day.
We didn’t change for change’s sake. This whole redesign has been a labor of love. There were some heated exchanges (well, OK, so maybe they were just intense discussions, but I had to make it sound good). There were a lot of meetings and e-mails. And there were even some sleepless nights.
As pop-art icon Andy Warhol said: “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
Nothing is more important to us than serving our readers, so please let us know if you give our changes thumbs up or if it makes you want to vomit—or if you just don’t care because the content is what you are after. We live in a world of transition and we know the next change is always around the corner.