By Linda Pashaj | Published in February, 2021
Running a hotel website on WordPress or thinking of building one? Many hospitality businesses are upgrading their digital presence, not only to boost direct bookings but also to enhance guest experience and trust. A booking engine incorporated into your hotel WordPress site allows you to capture direct reservations, but there are several other plugins crucial to your site’s optimal performance.
We’re listing here 20+ WordPress plugins that you can choose from to add functionality to your hotel website. They will help you improve organic traffic, boost the booking experience, and increase conversions.
Firstly, how to install a WordPress Plugin
To install any plugin found from WordPress’ marketplace follow these steps:
- Log into your site and go to the WordPress dashboard.
- In the left-hand menu, hover over Plugins and select “Add New”.
- On the next page, type in the name of your desired plugin into the “Search Plugins” field.
- When you find a plugin you want, click the “Install Now” button to add it to your site.
- Once installed, click “Activate Now” on the resulting page to turn the plugin on. You can then fiddle with settings for each plugin individually.
Search engine optimization is very important for any website because it is search engines that drive the majority of online traffic. There specialised hotel digital marketing agencies that can help you with SEO in-depth, but fortunately, there also some very good plugins you can use on your WordPress site and get good results.
1. Yoast WordPress SEO
Yoast is the best SEO plugin for WordPress. With Yoast, you can set up rules that auto-generate meta titles and descriptions for all your content. You can generate content-specific sitemaps that help Google index your pages. You can alter your permalinks to make them shorter, readable, and Google friendly. Also, it comes with many social media settings to optimize the way your content appears when shared on social media. Pricing: Free & Premium from $89 / year
2. All in One SEO
This plugin is a good second-place SEO plugin, compared to Yoast. We list it here because some hosting providers do not allow you to use Yoast and Yoast-related plugins. In those cases, All in One SEO is a good substitute. Do not use both Yoast and All in One. Choose only one. Pricing: From $49.50 / year
Broken links affect negatively your ranking, but also your bookers’ experience. No one likes clicking on broken links! Also, if have an old site with lots of content, and if you are moving to a new domain (or are changing the URL structure in any way), then you need to use what is called a 301 redirect to maintain your existing search rankings on Google. If you don’t, then Google will lose track of your web pages, forcing you to start earning rankings from scratch. Redirection is a free plugin that allows you to easily manage your website’s 301 redirects and keep track of 404 errors without you having to open up system files. It’s been a WordPress plugin for over 10 years and it’s available in multiple languages. Pricing: Free
4. Google XML Sitemaps
Supported on WordPress for over 9 years and rated as one of the best plugins, Google XML Sitemaps is a free plugin that does exactly what it says on the tin: it provides a complete XML sitemap for search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com. It also helps search engines better index your site or notify them when you publish a new page. Pricing: Free
5. Video SEO
Video SEO by Yoast is a great compliment to Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. It helps videos appear in Google’s video search, and makes videos look better when shared on social media. Please note that this plugin does not work unless you also use Yoast WordPress SEO, mentioned above. You don’t need this plugin unless you have many videos you want to promote or if you plan on making much more video content. Pricing: Free & Premium from $69 / year
Social Media Plugins
There are many plugins that help your content look better when shared on social networks, and help enhance your hotel’s social media strategy. Here are our favourites:
Mashshare adds a variety of buttons to your site, encouraging your users to share your content. It includes an optional drop-down social sharing bar, large buttons at the beginning and end of your blog posts, as well as an aggregate social sharing counter. You can change button styles and colours, and you can make it mobile responsive. This plugin was inspired by the popular social sharing buttons on Mashable. Only use this plugin if you have a blog that you frequently post on, and that you use as part of your hotel’s content marketing strategy. To see it in action, scroll to the bottom of this blog post. Pricing: Free & Premium from $89 / year
7. Social Locker
Social Locker is a plugin that lets you “gate” content. For example, let’s say that you published a PDF of local hiking trails. You can use this plugin to hide the PDF behind a social media “gate”, forcing your visitors to like, tweet, or +1 your page on their favourite social media network before they can download your PDF. This is a great way to get more positive social metrics for your content and to expose it on more social profiles.
Alternatively, some users are turned off by gates. Decide for yourself if this is something you think your visitors will tolerate or happily use. You can download it here. This plugin is only useful if you produce lots of quality portable content like PDFs, infographics, and so on. It can also be used to gate videos, recipes, and other pieces of “exclusive” content. Pricing: License from $27
8. Better Click to Tweet
Better Click to Tweet is an attractive free plugin (with a paid version with more add-ons) that enables you to create ‘Click To Tweet’ boxes in your blog posts. This is a nice way to improve Twitter interaction on your website. This plugin is primarily useful for blog content. It will not look good on primary pages like photo galleries, booking engines, or your homepage. Pricing: Free
9. Social Media Share Buttons & Pop Up Social Sharing Icons
A highly-rated free plugin, Social Media Share Buttons & Pop Up Social Sharing Icons lets you add share icons for RSS, Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, ‘Share’ (covering 200+ other social media platforms). The free version offers a lot of features, but for more advanced options you can download the premium version. Pricing: Free & Premium Options
10. Swifty Bar
Swifty Bar has been designed to boost visitors’ engagement on a website by means of a sticky bar that displays not only social share buttons but author info, estimated reading time and a next/previous article button. Pricing: Free
Because WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), hackers have developed all sorts of exploits for breaching your site. Install the following security plugins to keep your website safe.
A developers’ favourite, WorldFence is one of the best and most comprehensible security plugins for WordPress websites. It provides an endpoint firewall protection at server level, equipped with the latest firewall rules, malware and malicious addresses detection to keep your site secure. Additional features include password protection, country blocking, live traffic and more. Pricing: Free and Premium
12. iThemes Security
Another favourite for WordPress security. It is insanely powerful. Among other things, iThemes backs up your databases, makes it harder for hackers to guess your username, keeps your files up-to-date, hides administrative parts of your website (like your dashboard) from the public, searches for and quarantines any changes to your website that you did not make, and more. Pricing: Free and Pro version
Akismet helps protect your website from comment spam. A sad truth about the Internet is that people use robots to mass-post comments on blogs and websites like yours. This can hog your server’s resources and bloat the size of your database, decreasing website load performance. Note: Use Akismet only if you have comments enabled on your site. If disabled, there is no need for this plugin. Pricing: From $7.50 / year
Jetpack is a handy jack-of-all-trades plugin by Automattic, the makers of WordPress. It adds many new functions to manage your site’s security, optimal performance, marketing and design. From adding functionality to your site with features such as social media sharing, widgets and contact forms, to helping your site load faster with its Site Accelerator or keeping it safe with its Fortified Security feature, Jetpack is a convenient plugin. We suggest checking all it has to offer before adding other alternative plugins with just one specialized function. Free version & paid plans from $7.50 / year
Every website needs images, but images are heavy and slow down your site’s load times. The following plugins help optimize your images to keep your website fast-loading.
Smush is an award-winning image optimizer plugin. It can resize, optimize and compress your images preserving quality and improving your site’s speed. It also applies ¨lazy load” which means that it hides images that have not been scrolled yet. When a user scrolls down, the image “reveals” itself by fading it. This causes your user to load images only as he or she needs to see them, which improves website load speed. Pricing: Free up to 5MB in size
16. EWWW Image Optimizer
This is a powerful plugin that compresses all images on your website, and future ones that you upload. EWWW Image Optimizer significantly improves the load speed of all images on your website–especially for images you did not compress before you uploaded them. Pricing: Free & paid version from $7 / monthly
TinyPNG is a free plugin that will compress both PNG and JPEG images to make your site faster. It will automatically compress new uploads and there’s an option to optimize existing images. There is no size limit and it preserves the image quality is pretty impressive for a freemium plugin. Pricing: Free up to 500 images per month
A premium, easy-to-use image optimizer plugin, ShortPixel helps you optimize both images and PDF files on your site. It’s a highly-rated plugin that in just a few clicks can compress all exiting images and automatically resize new ones. Pricing: 100 free image credits/month. Paid plans from $4.99 for 5,000 image credits
Caching & Performance
Caching is an important part of keeping a website loading fast. When a user visits your site, your server looks for all the files and code the user requested and delivers it to him or her. This process takes time and system resources. The problem is that the server does this every time for every person who visits your website. Often, the content each user wants to see is the same. For example, you can get 1,000 different people who visit your homepage in a day–but that homepage doesn’t change at all. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for the server to fetch the same images, content, and code 1,000 times.
This is where caching comes in. Instead of generating a new page for each visitor, the server will generate the page one time and then “cache” the page–which basically saves a snapshot of it. Your server then shows this snapshot to future visitors. This saves your system loads of resources and makes your website load faster for many more visitors.
19. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is an easy-to-use caching plugin with powerful features, including database optimization, lazy load, compatibility with multilingual sites, and even Google fonts optimization. It improves your site’s speed right after activation and applies web performance best practices automatically. The Support team and ease of use are what make WP Rocket a favorite among WordPress users. Pricing: from $49
20. W3 Total Cache
Trusted by millions of users, W3 Total Cache is a powerful, ‘total solution’ plugin that increases your site’s performance by reducing load time. It ultimately improves your website’s speed, guest experience and SEO rankings. Pricing: Free & Pro version $99 / year
21. WP Super Cache
Some hosts do not allow W3 Total Cache because it uses many system resources to work. If your hosting provider does not allow W3 Total Cache, then use WP Super Cache, which is a good alternative. Note: Do not use more than one caching plugin. If using W3 Total Cache, do not use WP Super Cache as well. Pricing: Free
22. Cache Enabler
Cache Enabler is a user-friendly, minimal, and yet powerful plugin that makes your website faster. Very easy to install and lightweight, it generates static HTML files that are stored on the server’s disk. These static HTML files are delivered by the server avoiding intensive backend processes from the WordPress core, plugins, and more. Pricing: Free
CookieYes GDPR Cookie Consent & Compliance Notice will help your site comply with the GDRP law in the E.U, as well as LGPD in Brazil and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Features include adding a banner to your website that can be customized to your website, blocking cookies according to users’ consent, enabling users to accept or reject cookies, cookies management, and more. Pricing: Free
We hope this list of WordPress plugins is helpful. Use it yourself if you’re the type who likes to tinker, or send it to your website admin to implement. These plugins will give your hotel website the added functionality and improved performance it needs to compete in today’s noisy internet marketplace.
Every plugin changes the way your WordPress website works. Not all plugins work well together. They are quality plugins and, for the most part, work well together unless otherwise noted. However, bear in mind that any time you install a new plugin, you might break something. This risk is small but present. If you do not feel up to the challenge, then please talk with your developer or web host before making any change to your hotel’s WordPress website.