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A Web for Mom

I have a plea this year for Mother's Day. In honor of moms everywhere, I implore all companies with an online presence to up their games. Allow me to explain: Last year for Mother's Day, I had what I thought was an inspired idea for my mother's gift. As an artist, she goes through art supplies like IT professionals eat up kilobytes so I decided to get her a selection of quality colored pencils from an online art supplies dealer. I lovingly selected each pencil's color from an extensive online catalogue, and made the purchase with ample time for delivery.

But as the days leading up M-Day dwindled, my suspicions rose. I went to the online site to track my order (finding that the phone number provided was a dead end) and an automated response indicated that it was "being processed." It's Mother's Day 2007 and I still don't have the pencils.

This brings me back to my plea. Competition for the consumer's dollar and attention is fierce. A company's online presence should be on par with its high standards for the brick and mortar establishment. Replace my colored pencils with a hotel room reservation, or a catering order for dinner for 35, and it becomes instantly apparent how precious websites are in satisfying customers and building loyalty. Now imagine that room was reserved for dear old mom -- yeah, you can see the trouble coming.

In its 2007 Website Study: Hospitality Online, H T dives deep into the significance that effective, compelling websites play in a company's business strategy. The study has been evaluating restaurant websites for the past five years in such areas as technical specifications, site attractiveness, ease of contact, marketing effectiveness, and so on. Overall, the study shows room for improvement as the utility of the Internet is still illusive to many restaurateurs.

For the first time, we've included hotel websites in the evaluation and are pleased

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