Some of the biggest tussles for market share in the webspace right now happen within the vacation booking segment of the travel industry. The fight between Squarespace, Weebly, WordPress, and even custom-made websites that can be rented on a monthly basis are all out there trying to capture the attention, and business, of one of the world’s largest markets. Now WordPress or a custom-made system built to fit a particular area of the accommodation booking sector are obvious choices, but not many would think of Squarespace, but the system is growing in popularity.
One of the reasons most Squarespace users swear by the system is because it takes care of their basic needs. One testament from Melissa Fu who wrote a lengthy blog as to why she prefers Squarespace over WordPress makes interesting reading in which she made the switch and now has more traffic and more purchases. Read Melissa Fu’s blog here.
To cut a long and very interesting story short, Melissa explains that she only needed a basic blog with banner, commenting and then a sidebar, which we assume is for categories and so on. Now for someone to switch from WordPress to Squarespace when the basic idea of the WordPress system is so simple for blogging, you have to ask yourself why? Melissa isn’t the first to have done this either.
Now, this is a simple blog, can you imagine a company that needs more than just a blog. There must be thousands of companies today that have decided enough is enough and make the switch but because most of us work with WordPress and read related blogs, we probably never hear about them.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why someone may want to make the swap. In our analysis, we are going to use the travel industry as our main example. The reason we are using this industry is that we cannot think of a better market in which a website needs to be working 24 hours a day 365 days a year, or 366 in the case of this year’s ‘February leap year’, because of the global audience it attracts. Downtime in this industry means a dip in revenue.
WordPress Versus Squarespace Updates
There is a fear factor when it comes to the latest WordPress updates. You may have decided to brave the update and get away with it until it becomes second nature to just upgrade every time there is an update available. However, there will inevitably be that one time when it all goes wrong and the headaches start.
In the travel industry, this just can’t happen because the number of bookings that could be lost by one update could create mayhem for the business not to mention the loss of revenue.
The biggest headache is if you are a small business that does not have a web developer on tap, your site could be down for days unless you have a backup or an easy way to roll back the update. If you don’t then you will be forking out a small fortune to a web developer to put it right quickly.
Squarespace updates come with full support. This means that if any feature on the site is affected because you decide to upgrade your Squarespace site, you have a support team behind you as part of the service for using the company’s platform. This is huge in terms of cost-saving. Even if you are thinking you could so without the monthly costs of being able to have this support available, then think again.
The cost of hosting plus owning a WordPress site with no support included (this usually applies to smaller businesses) is practically the same as using the Squarespace system’s monthly service, plus you get hosting, SSL certificates, domain ownership, and 24/7 support all under one roof. You can get in touch with live chat, email, and social media giving your business a high chance that any issues will be solved within just a few hours of them arising.
Benefits of Squarespace for travel booking companies
In a nutshell, the keyword we need to use here ‘fault tolerance’. The benefits of using Squarespace mainly suit those businesses that are small and need 24/7 support from an external source. Having a custom-built website or a WordPress site that needs a company willing to offer this kind of support as a resolution to fault tolerance procedure in case of a major issue is something that would be extremely expensive.
Extending on this point, most small companies will not have a full-time web developer to deal with issues immediately and most website service contracts come with high-cost monthly maintenance fees. In the travel industry where uptime is so important because people from all over the globe in different time zones will be looking to access the site to use the booking system, Squarespace certainly stands out when it comes to fault tolerance.
It is not just travel booking companies that see the benefits of using Squarespace, there are plenty of other businesses that need their website to work for them 24/7. However, accommodation booking systems are probably the best example we can use because of the need to service a global audience.
WordPress Plugin Updates Versus Squarespace Plugins
When it comes to plugins on any system there are bound to bugs in the code. Both WordPress and Squarespace plugins have never been known to come without issues so we cannot pull one or the other out of the bag and say this system is never going to give you problems when the code the plug-on uses to function is changed.
In fact, it would be challenging for anyone to say that they have found a system that uses plugins that have never given them any issues. Consequently, to differentiate the two, we would need to go back to the argument, or discussion for want of a better word, in the closing statement in the ‘WordPress Versus Squarespace Updates’ section.
Therefore, we returned to our travel industry example for this blog in order to come up with a situation where a faulty plugin could cause all kinds of headaches. We spoke to a company currently within the industry and this person came up with a ‘real-life’ issue that happened to his company, and all came down to a booking system plugin used to avoid double bookings.
The WordPress and Squarespace Booking Plugin
It is a plugin that has been developed for all kinds of systems such as Weebly, Squarespace, WordPress, and many other websites out there that can be used as a travel booking system; especially within the hotel and vacation holiday home booking sectors. You see an example of a Squarespace calendar booking system here.
Many companies do not only reply on their own website to take bookings, but they also reply on multiple websites and on those websites are automatic booking systems. Each of these sites communicates new bookings to the company’s main website booking platform in order to let it know a booking has been made. This will then make sure all other sites on the network know that the room or property is now unavailable. It is the perfect hands-off automatic communication system.
Now imagine if a new WordPress update comes along and suddenly this plugin stops working. Suddenly the tool stops telling all the other websites that certain dates cannot be booked. In the end, multiple bookings for the same place start coming through thus leaving the company with cancellation issues, date shifts, and hours of work for the customer services department to put right.
Moreover, imagine having no dedicated support team to help you because your company is using WordPress with no maintenance contract with a web development company and no internal web designer hired to look after the website.
This would basically become an administrative nightmare, and as we mentioned above, this happened to someone’s company that we spoke to. It took them 4 days to fix the issue, and cost more than $800 to put right in emergency web developer fees, plus on top of this the time spent by the employees rectifying the double booking where the customer service and booking teams could have been putting their efforts into more constructive tasks to benefit their clientele.
What if this company was using Squarespace?
With the Squarespace response team always available to help its customers, the issue would have been fixed much faster and without the $800 cost. There still would have been some administrative issues to deal with, but not four days of having to manually update calendars on each system when a place was booked on just one website. This company has twenty-four different websites advertising their services. That meant one booking equaled 23 manual logins every time.
Is the trend of swapping from WordPress to Squarespace so crazy after all?
When we look back at how disruptive WordPress can be for small companies just because of a few simple updates, it is easy to see why people would make the swap. For one, if your business does not have a website developer onsite, then your business has no one to fall back on in case of a disaster. This would mean looking externally for a company to come to the rescue, and companies that offer rescue services do not come cheap.
Also, website maintenance contracts are expensive these days, plus you may never use them despite paying a monthly fee in case something does happen. Unless your business can afford to do this, then you cannot help but feel it is a waste of money. Albeit, your website needs some kind of disaster recovery plan in place or fault tolerance.
Clearly, Squarespace offers that fault tolerance via a support team that is part of the monthly costs involved with being a member of the services, and so you cut out both website maintenance costs, the need for a website developer to be full-time or part-time, and taking the chance of having neither which would mean huge fees for an emergency fix.
Maybe swapping to Squarespace is a bit extreme because there are WordPress back up solutions, but who is going to be able to perform this job perfectly, and what happens if a backup is not what is required because the plugin design changed?
In the end, we cannot make a clear-cut case that says, yes, you should swap to Squarespace, but what we have done here is given you reasons why companies are making the switch.