Duties: Develops, manages, and maintains a Web site for a hotel, resort, or travel-related organization; oversees programming and content for the site
Alternate Titles: Web Site Administrator; Web Developer; Web Producer; Web Site Manager
Salary Range: $40,000 to $70,000 and up
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s): All, with the greatest opportunities in large cities and heavy tourist regions with many resorts and hotels
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in computer science preferred, but not required; knowledge of computer programming
Experience—Related experience creating and managing Web sites through full-time work or internships
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Excellent computer programming skills; understanding of Internet and online communication technologies; strong organizational skills; ability to meet deadlines and work well under pressure; knowledge of graphic design
Webmaster, larger organization
Web Page Designer or Programmer
Web sites are an essential part of the hospitality and travel industries. The Web site of a hotel or resort can be crucial to its success, as people book reservations online and learn about amenities and specials. Furthermore, visitors conduct much of their travel research online as well, reading reviews of different destinations and attractions, as well as arranging for transportation, meals, lodging and more. Webmasters create and implement these Internet visions.
Starting from scratch, Webmasters strategize as to what will make a successful Web site for their organization, whether it is a beach resort, hotel or restaurant chain, small bed-and-breakfast, a travel review site, or large tour operation. They gather information from all the departments and key players to determine the overall structure of the site. Their aim is to command the attention of visitors and to make them want to linger on the site. A user-friendly site can mean a considerable difference in success.
The job of a Webmaster is often defined differently at varying sites. It may include programming, graphic design and determining the appearance of the site, content development, and production. Most Webmasters continuously maintain and update their sites after development, troubleshooting problems. They create the links that visitors use to navigate the site. Also, they record the “hits” so they know the parts of the site people most often visit and whether they complete online registrations.
Additionally, Webmasters may work on both the back end and the front end of a Web site. The back end involves the database and hardware infrastructure that supports the site, requiring the Webmaster to be skilled at programming. The front end relates to the aspects that users can see, such as design and navigation tools, which requires the Webmaster to be up to speed on graphics and content development. Webmasters must decide on the hardware needed to build the site and the software needed to make it work properly.
Webmasters must continuously communicate with the different departments at their organization (including public relations, sales/marketing, and many others) to make sure that the information on the Web site is up-to-date and reflects the most current information. Information gets outdated in the blink of an eye, so they must be on top of all new developments such as reduced rates, special events, promotions, and news. Usually, they serve as internal liaisons and do little work with external vendors.
Furthermore, Webmasters create the documents— Web pages—that constitute the site. They may supervise the content writers and computer programmers that develop the text and graphics. Always, they are guided both by what will work as well as what will look aesthetically pleasing. Web design and Web development may also be components of the Webmaster’s job. Web design involves the visual art and graphic design that defines the look of the site. Web development focuses more on the site’s structure and interactivity.
Their duties may include:
- setting up and managing internal and external Listservs
- fixing soft ware bugs
- brainstorming ideas
- adding new features such as discussion boards and registration capabilities
- researching Web sites of similar organizations
- writing code
- responding to visitor feedback
- supporting users nationwide and worldwide
- posting content pages
- editing and reviewing content
- testing the links on the site to make sure they work properly
- dealing with security issues
Webmasters use their technical skills to make information accessible to the public. Most Webmasters are passionate about the Internet and are very involved in their work, getting paid to indulge in one of their favorite hobbies. Since the Internet does not function on a nine-to-five schedule, neither do most Webmasters. Their jobs may involve long, nontraditional hours to enable sites to go live and fix any problems.