WPML has interviewed 5 hotel businesses which used the plugin to create their multilingual hotel website. They have given us their top tips to help make sure your multilingual website can also be a success.

You can check out our summary of the best tips. Below is what the 5 hotels told us in full.

What is The Oxenia Palace: The Oxenia Palace is a multi-property hotel with 4 locations in Athens. It has translated its website into Greek and English.

Who gave the feedback: Christos Vasilopoulos created the website for them.

Why did they decide to build a multilingual hotel website and how has it affected their business?

These clients target a multilingual audience in different countries all over the world through English. If these websites were not in English they would miss lots of clients.

What features of a multilingual website have they enjoyed/benefited from?

They enjoy the ease in which they can add content in different languages through the combination of WordPress and WPML. We have set the site in such a way that helps them just “type” the text without worrying about structure, design and how to interconnect multilingual content. WPML helps greatly on these things. So, the total of WPML features was helpful. They don’t use external translators so far.

What is their approach to attracting new guests digitally (newsletters, blogging, promotions or any other methods)?

They use newsletters and promotions and paid advertising. They are not so much into blogging through their own websites. They prefer to do inbound content actions in some cases, but again they rely heavily on online travel agencies and paid advertising.

What are the common tools or plugins that you use?

Yoast SEO, Wordfence, Sucuri, WPML, Cloudflare, Comet Cache Pro, Contact Form 7, Autoptimize, Mailchimp for Worpdress, WP Bakery Composer, Image Watermark, Easy Table of Contents. Periodic tools used are: WP Optimize, Regenerate Thumbnails, Velvet Blues URL

How important was it to localize your website for each customer (offering a different version for Irish customers compared with the British website for example)?

It is very important. Apart from the actual language to be shown to customers who prefer to read content in their own language, there are very important factors that relate to SEO and Google/Bing/Yahoo. Nobody wants to be ranked low against search engines for mixed up (in terms of language) content. A good example is content for the Greek audience versus content for the English speaking audience. If not separated properly (regarding the tech part) then search engines will rate each website in a really ugly way. So, content serving is one thing and on top of that proper SEO is the crucial thing to consider.

When did you decide to expand your hotel business outside your home country and what did you do to accomplish it?

Multilingual options were needed from day one due to the nature of business; both websites are hotels.

If you had any advice for a hotel starting to build a multilingual website what would it be?

Make good research regarding SEO reach per language, country and audience and use WPML to build the site accordingly along with much-needed plugins for SEO.

What is Villa Paulita: Villa Paulita is a hotel on the Spanish-French border which supports 4 languages on its website.

Who gave the feedback: David Fardon created the website for them.

Why did they decide to build a multilingual hotel website and how has it affected their business?

Villa Paulita is located in Spain in the Catalan Pyrenees, just over 1 km from the border with France. Not only is French, therefore, a key language for the hotel, it is located in a part of Spain where Catalan is probably more widely spoken than Spanish, and consequently, it makes complete commercial sense to offer the website in Spanish, Catalan and French as the absolute minimum. On top of that, the area is popular for skiing in winter and hiking, biking, etc in the summer, with tourists coming from the UK, Germany and many other countries. Consequently, including English was also a key consideration. Offering multiple languages has helped the hotel attract a wider client base as well as improving sales through the website. Further languages may be added in future.

What features of a multilingual website have they enjoyed/benefited from?

Allowing visitors to discover information about the hotel and the location in their native language is obviously a major benefit, but facilitating the reservation of accommodation, special offers and more in multiple languages definitely removes one of the key obstacles to improving website conversion rate. Multiple languages also mean improved SEO results in those languages, allowing guests to search in their native language and find the hotel much more easily.

What is their approach to attracting new guests digitally (newsletters, blogging, promotions or any other methods)?

Currently, social media is primarily Spanish/Catalan based, but Instagram obviously works wonderfully in any language, being so visual! There are plans afoot to communicate via multilingual newsletters, and all hotel promotions and offers are already communicated in multiple languages via the hotel website.

What are the common tools or plugins that you use?

All sites use WPML if multilingual, and also Yoast for SEO, Monster Insights for Google Analytics, and Wordfence for security. Other than those, each site gets different tools or plugins according to need.

How important was it to localize your website for each customer (offering a different version for Irish customers compared with the British website for example)?

It’s very important that we have Catalan and Spanish versions of the website. Although the official language in Spain is obviously Spanish, Catalan is very widely spoken in the region where the hotel is and is also the official language in the Principality of Andorra which is just an hour away. Although most people in Catalunya who are Catalan speakers also speak Spanish, it’s important culturally to offer them the website in their native tongue.

When did you decide to expand your hotel business outside your home country and what did you do to accomplish it?

This was something that was a given from day one, given the location of the hotel and the different languages spoken within a few kilometers of the hotel. Multilingual staff and website as well as deals with tour operators in other countries are all key.

If you had any advice for a hotel starting to build a multilingual website what would it be?

Building a multilingual website based on WordPress for us means using WPML – I’m sure we could do it a different way, but we like the ease of use, the duplication, the ability to put translations straight onto the page and so on that WPML gives us. One piece of advice I would give a hotel is not to overcommit – running sites in multiple languages mean that each change in content is multiplied by the number of languages, so every new offer or promotion, each menu change, etc, requires translation and that needs admin time. Start with just the languages you absolutely must have, and then add more when you are comfortable with the admin time required to keep everything up to date.

What is The Apollonion Palace Hotel: The Apollonion Palace is a hotel in a renovated, historic 19th-century neoclassical building on the Greek island of Syros.

Who gave the feedback: Nikos Meramveliotakis created the website for them.

Why did you choose to build a multilingual hotel website?

The choice of a multilingual website was due to the fact that the hotel attracts customers from all over the world. In the future, more languages will be added depending on the traffic of the website according to Google Analytics.

At what stage did you decide to make your website multilingual? Was it immediately or later on? Why was that?

The decision on multilingualism was taken from the beginning of the website design since English is necessary to attract customers from abroad, while Greek is the mother tongue of a large percentage of hotel guests.

How important was it to localize your website for each customer (offering different currencies for example)

It was not necessary, as the website uses an external booking platform that offers localization (the client can choose a currency, etc.)

How do you try and attract more guests worldwide?

The hotel is listed on booking.com and other similar platforms. Also, Google & Facebook Ads run at regular intervals. In the future, more languages will be added to the website so it is even easier to attract new customers.

What is the one piece of advice you would give another hotel which is setting up a multilingual website?

To use WPML!  Not only is it a reliable, professional tool that manages multilingualism perfectly for any element of the website but it also has excellent support!
Flegra Hotels

Flegra Hotels

What is Flegra Hotel: Flegra Hotel is located in Halkidiki in Greece.

Who gave the feedback: Yorgos Foltopoulos created the website for them.

Four years ago the hotel had a multilingual site that was ineffective. The owner demanded some changes and my goal was to create a functional and efficient website so that the hotel would increase its traffic and it would manage to increase room reservations through its own reservation system and not through third-party platforms. Eventually, four years after hard work and perseverance, our efforts were rewarded. Online bookings through our own website have increased, far beyond our original target.

Creating a properly structured multilingual website usually seems to be a nightmare for a great number of developers. However, through the use of the WPML plugin, all processes can be simplified and lead to perfect and professional results.

The hotel is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Greece, in Halkidiki, so it was our intention to initially enable visitors to find the necessary information in their language and to make an online reservation through our booking engine easily.

Furthermore, the translation of all pages was vital in order that the organic searches would be multiplied in all the languages applied on our website. Organic searches from countries such as “Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and Germany” did not exist before the use of WPML. Now, our website appears on the first pages of Google searches due to the use of the right SEO.

Consequently, each hotel should have a properly structured multilingual website to attract new customers and make reservations through its own reservation system, thereby limiting supplies and tour operators. Solutions such as “automatic translation with the use of various free plugins”, “build yourself” etc. should be prohibited as a means to design a proper website. In many cases, the cheapest costs are paid expensive! As a result, getting something very cheap but ineffective is irrational. To conclude, pay attention and outsource your business development to experienced and professional designers rather than amateurs because you will not get the desired effect.

What is Hotel van Dijk: Hotel van Dijk is a 3-star hotel which is situated on the IJssel of the old city of Kampen. Its website has been translated into six languages.

Why did you choose to build a multilingual hotel website?

The city of Kampen is located in the IJsseldelta region, an exceptional region full of natural beauty and water. But the atmospheric historic center of the city is the real attraction that attracts many international visitors. These international tourists are therefore the largest target group we focus on. Because B&S Media has made our website available in the native languages for these tourists, we come across as trustworthy, user-friendly and more personal. The more language options we have, the greater our potential reach is.

In addition, we would like to contribute to putting our beautiful city on the international map!

At what stage did you decide to make your website multilingual? Was it immediately or later on? Why was that?

In view of the international orientation, we have immediately opted for the website to be multilingual. The multilingual website increases our exposure, reach and sales.

What features of the multilingual website have you enjoyed/benefited from?

The biggest advantage we find is that each language has a separate ‘website’, without changing the design of the website. This looks very user-friendly and exudes professionalism. Another big advantage is that we find it very easy to expand the language options further.

What are the common tools/plugins that you use?

The common tools/plugins we use are WPML, Toolset, Divi builder, Genesis Framework, WP Bakery, Meta Slider and Woocommerce.

How important was it to localize your website for each customer (offering different currencies for example)

The city of Kampen attracts many tourists from different countries with various languages. Research shows that internet users often omit websites in a foreign language. To ensure that these visitors stay longer, it was necessary to speak to them in their own language. Only then we can provide them with the right information. In addition, we show with a multilingual website that Hotel van Dijk is ambitious and international.

How important was it to ensure the booking process was as easy to understand as possible?

Very important, because these people would otherwise opt out in the booking process.

How do you try and attract more guests worldwide?

Besides that the rooms can be booked on the website of Hotel van Dijk, we also welcome guests through an international travel agency. In addition, we have engaged B&S Media for our SEO and SEA campaign. Thanks to them we are now easy to find online. We are also active on social media, involved in local events and we give a lot of information about the city of Kampen on our website.

What is the one piece of advice you would give another hotel which is setting up a multilingual website?

Provide detailed information about the sights and activities in the area, so that your visitors no longer have to figure this out for themselves. Be clear about the facilities you offer and add many images of your hotel and the region. It is also important to set up online marketing campaigns. That way you will be found better online in the countries you want to focus on.