We revealed yesterday that when the Caiseal Mara was sold at auction its website and the domain name it uses www.CaisealMaraHotel.com didn’t come along with it. The domain name is owned by a Joe Byrne in Donegal Town whoever he is. I don’t know who owns the website but it couldn’t be used anyway without the permission of the person who owns the domain name.

A number of people have said to me the equivalent of “So what! They can change the name of the hotel or build a new website with a new domain name”.

So they could but let me explain why it is so important to have the website and the domain name.

Brand Building

The Caiseal Mara owners would have spent quite a lot of time and money, firstly, in having their website developed and secondly to get it highly ranked in Google and other search engines. They will also have asked for, and got, links to it created from travel and hotel ratings websites. It also has an automatic booking service.

Some of the bookings that the Caiseal Mara would have got for the rooms would be repeat bookings. However, a substantial amount would have been new bookings from people who googled something like ‘Moville hotels’ or ‘Hotels in Moville’. They would be potential future bookings. This is the main way to grow your business.

The website, with its high google ranking, was probably responsible for more bookings than the entire sales and marketing department (although they would have had it built in the first place).

Page Rankings

The Caiseal Mara has first page rankings in Google for quite a few keywords and phrases. If the new owners were to build a new website with a new name it would rank very lowly in Google for quite a long time. It wouldn’t show on the first page of Google for ages and ages, if ever.

Google likes website that have been around for a while. The new owners would get very little business this way. Also, they would have to go through the process of getting other travel websites to link to them which they might and might not do.

Quick Start

If the new owners owned the current website they would be off and running very quickly. I bet that most days people who are looking for accommodation in Moville will see the Caiseal Mara come up in searches.

Also, a lot of people who stayed there before, but don’t have he contact details, will google the name Caiseal Mara and see from the website that the hotel is closed. They would still see this even after the hotel has opened. They would then look elsewhere for accommodation.

The new owners would then have the situation where they were open for business that when those who stayed before search for ‘Caiseal Mara’ they would be told by the highest ranking website with that name that the hotel is actually closed.

Even if they sent an email to the website from the Contact details, the email would go to the previous owners who may and may not want to be helpful.

Name Change

It has been said that the new owners may change the name of the hotel. However, if they did they would be creating a completely new brand for the hotel. Any website built for it would rank low in Google for ages and send very little business to the hotel for a long time.

Even if the new owners changed the name and created a new website it would be much better for them if they had the ability to redirect any web traffic that goes to the existing website to the new website. This can be done automatically. However, you would need to own the website to be able to create that redirect.

And that’s the problem.

Running Start

Owning the domain name and the website would mean that the new owners would have a running start with people calling them up asking to stay without them even advertising and they can build on that. That would be crucial in the early days. It would be the same for those wanting to book functions.

Without the domain name and website the new owners will be building a new business from scratch with all the effort and cost that entails. They will have to rebuild the online presence and they will find that it takes them ages to get a good ranking in the search engines.

Whichever way you look at it and whatever they want to do about the name it is far, far better to own the domain name and website.

Right Away

If they find that the current owners won’t give them the domain name and website they should start right away to build an alternative as it takes a long time to get ranked in google and the other search engines.

To give you an example the website set up for the East Inishowen business Group several months ago is a very good website but, because it is new, it is only ranked 9,586,415th busiest website in the world by Alexa and doesn’t rank in Ireland at all. CraicOn, which has been around since 2006 ranks 262,718th in the world and 976th in Ireland.

That’s the problem the new owners will have. If they are to change the name, or even build a new website using the name Caiseal Mara but with a different website name and domain name, they had better start straight away. They will need to contact all the travel websites and tell them the name of the website name has changed.

However, they would still have the problem that the website with the highest ranking in google for the term Caiseal Mara, Hotels in Moville, Moville Hotels etc. is saying that the hotel is closed. That could well be the case for years before the new hotel overtakes it in he rankings.

Whichever way you look at it the new owners would be best to get hold of the current website and domain name if they can.