Innkeepers have an abundance of choices when it comes to Web site design options for their business. Designs and Design companies come in all shapes and sizes. There are custom designs, turnkey designs, template designs, database designs and the list goes on. The one common thread with any Web site design is that the site can either be OWNED by the Innkeeper (IE: You can request a copy of the site and move it to another provider should you ever choose) or the site can be LEASED (IE: You don't own the site. Should you ever leave the leasing provider, you will have nothing to take with you to another provider).
On January 3rd, we asked Innkeepers to share their thoughts on OWNING vs. LEASING their Web site Presence [Read January 3rd, 2012 Blog Post] and the results are in!
“For several years, I was using another company, not Acorn, and did not know that I was actually leasing my website from them. But it was costing me $80 per month for them to "host it", after I started understanding the workings of web and internet more, I found this out. I was tied into a 2 year contract with them. Of course as soon as that 2 years was up, I had Acorn become my host and now I know that I own my website and all the work I have put into it. I feel this is important as an innkeeper, especially if we were ever going to sell our B&B the website is a huge asset for us.”
“I want total control over my website presence. I do not want to be held hostage by a company who decides to increase their rates. If that happens I want to be able to take all of my content and change to another provider.”
“Too risky to lease, what if the company goes out of business, what if they just close down? Then you have nothing. What if you want to leave them for any reason, then you have no website. You are paying for the website forever, rather than a one time shot and then paying for updates when you want and can afford them. What if when the lease runs out and its time for a new lease the pricing goes up dramatically??? I prefer to own.”
"I believe that it is better for an innkeeper to own their own site. My reasons are simply that as an innkeeper and the owner of my site, should the time come to sell my B&B as a turnkey operation, I will be able to hand over the website to the new owner. I also feel that it is a good selling point in that the new innkeeper has control over their own website and if they so choose might want to have a different company host it on their server and/or use it as a starting point to develop a new website.”
"Anyone that wants to ‘lease’ a website is crazy… they are not serious about their business.”
“I recently was approached by another company and their set up is that they create a website (along with a mobile site) with no up-front payment and you then pay a monthly fee to use it. As long as you pay the fee, the website they create is up. If you decide to not use them anymore, you lose the website - and can go back to whatever you had before.”
"I do feel that owning all the parts of a website that was built for you is the only way to go. After all you did pay to have it built specifically for you and you should be able to take it with you wherever you may need to move to in the future. It is part of your identity."
“I think it is always better to own something rather than leasing it. If for example you decided to sell your business and the new owner liked the website and wanted it included in the sale of the property you wouldn't be able to if it was a leased website. Also if you decided to go to another website host you wouldn't be able to take your website with you so you would be forced to build a new website which could be very expensive. I have never been a proponent of leasing anything.”
“Why would you not want to own your website is crazy. You spent all the money and time, you should own it for safe keeping. I vote OWN.”
“The website is an asset of the business. When an Inn is sold, the seller is transferring all rights in it to the buyer. If the website is 'leased' the scenario is just like any other leased asset - you can transfer the balance remaining on the lease, but you can not transfer the artwork, design, scripts, or any other aspect of the site (unless your lease agreement gives you that right). This could have a significant impact on the value attributable to the website in valuing your inn.”
“I am retired now, but an innkeeper must absolutely own their own site. I didn't realize there were some who didn't. Big mistake if they don't.”
President and Co-Founder
Acorn Internet Services, Inc.
Educating our Industry one Innkeeper at a Time!