Having a website is very important for professionals in the tourism sector, but it isn't everything: it also needs to be multilingual. Customers are often international tourists and letting them browse content in their own language or a choice of available languages is often crucial for such a business to succeed.
We learned more about this topic from Gian Marco Polonioli, who owns the Castello B&B in Northern Italy. Gian Marco built his website himself using WebSite X5, and after creating it in Italian he realized that a single language wasn’t enough. Find out why building a multilingual website is important, in his own words.
A showcase website that increased inquiries from foreigners
By including appealing images and advertising with AdWords, Gian Marco created a website that quickly led to a significant increase in his B&B’s visibility.
“My website traffic increased, as did reservation requests, many of which come from abroad.”
Following a large increase in foreign-language inquiries, Gian Marco also decided to create an English-language version of the website. With WebSite X5, creating pages in different languages is easy: just duplicate the page and proceed with the translation into the desired language.
The advantages of a multilingual website
Communication means being able to understand and be understood, which is especially challenging in today’s multicultural reality. So it makes sense that we also need to speak several languages online: and creating a multilingual website is the best way to overcome language barriers and communicate more easily with the rest of the world. But what are the advantages of making a website available in many languages? Gian Marco’s B&B benefited in many ways:
- internationalization: why limit yourself to the domestic market when there could be customers all over the world who might be interested in visiting your home country?
- building customer trust: customers appreciate the work that goes into translating a website into their own language, and this creates a sense of trust.
“If you speak their language, people feel more comfortable and you can gain their trust more easily”
Of course, high-quality service is always most important, but language does bring people together more than anything else: a multilingual website shows care towards customer service;
- competitive advantage: speaking your clients’ language means you’re one step ahead of any business that doesn’t. In fact, people are more likely to choose organizations with whom they can speak in their own language, and to disregard others.
- search engine advantage: these tools function in the users’ home language, and take their norms and customs into consideration. With multilingual websites, search engines bring those users to the site. Making your website available in several languages allows you to seize an opportunity to access the international market.
The importance of localization
Website localization allows you to reach across borders and speak to people all over the world, in their own language. But text needs to be translated impeccably, otherwise your website will appear poorly made, and sometimes even untrustworthy.
In fact, localizing a website doesn’t just mean transposing it from one language to another, and we advise against using automatic translation tools since they can be inaccurate and fail to consider certain aspects that professional translators don't overlook. To avoid losing your clients’ trust, have your website translated properly. You might choose to work with agencies specializing in this kind of work.
“I didn’t use automatic tools to translate my website: I relied on an English friend of mine. I wanted my pages to be accurate, correct, and to let visitors feel “at home”
Details Make All the Difference
Effective localization, which allows users to get the full meaning of your text in different languages, should also include often overlooked parts of a website. For example, don't forget about graphic elements, captions, and contact forms: these aspects of your website are each important, and shouldn't be underestimated.
A potential client could be interested in a hotel room, but finding a page with maps, image captions, and forms in another language could leave them too disoriented to complete their inquiry.
“The first thing I did was ask for the forms to be translated: I didn't want to risk forgetting the part that lets users get in touch with me. This is the moment that needs to be as clear and simple as possible.”
The future is even more international
After achieving great results by localizing his website into English, Gian Marco is considering also adding a German version. A lot of his clients are actually German speakers, and Gian Marco plans to make them feel welcome with a website in their language. The future is getting more cosmopolitan!
“A lot of my customers speak German: I’m planning to translate my language into that language too. I want my users to feel “at home” from the moment they browse through my B&B’s webpages.”
I did it myself. You can do it too.