Does web design for your hotel give you an “uh-oh” feeling in your stomach? Do you have a great property, but you aren’t sure how to market it online? You’ve come to the right place. We lay out key strategies of hotel website design to make sure your guests hit that “book now” button.
If that doesn’t cover it, and you need expert help, our experienced web designers at World Web Technologies can make your site the best it can be.
Responsive Design/Mobile First
Your guests are busy. They don’t always have time to sit down at the computer to make their booking. They rely on mobile devices, which means your website has to look nice–and make sense–on those devices too.
Do this with a responsive website design that adapts to the device accessing it, ensuring your website looks and works great on all screen sizes.
We recommend a mobile-first mindset, which means you design your website for mobile, then add features for the computer version. This keeps you focused on what’s important for a snappier, user-friendly experience. Pare up rather than pare down. If you pare down, you could end up with a website that has lots of cool features on desktop but that may not work well on a mobile.
Guests don’t need a fancy website. They need a website they can understand and use quickly.
Your website should tell a story. Not just your story–your guest’s story too. You want your guest to imagine their experience staying at your hotel. Take your guest on a journey that ends in booking.
Your website colors tie that journey together. A minimalist color palette that complements rather than distracts is best. Keep colors consistent; this creates trustworthiness and eliminates confusion around your brand. In our redesign for Forest Home Cabins, we used plenty of white space and light gray to allow the green in the photography to shine. The rusty red accent color used for the call-to-action buttons contrasts with the green imagery to make those buttons stand out, while maintaining a harmonious color combination that is as calming as a stay in the woods.
Your language, too, should reflect your hotel’s personality to give guests a taste of what they’ll get if they stay. If you’re a minimalist hotel, don’t use run-on sentences. Don’t use run-on sentences either way.
Include calls to action that lead guests along their journey. Your website won’t work if guests don’t know what you want them to do.
Speaking of calls to action, your online booking engine should also reflect your branding to match your website for a seamless experience that your guests trust.
Online Booking Engine
Make sure your online booking engine (OBE) is available from every page of your website, ready the moment a guest decides to book! Include a “book now” button in the header or main menu. You can also add your OBE via a booking widget, availability calendar, or unit/rate-specific booking links. Read our web design article about how to add an online booking engine to your website for more information.
Keep your booking engine simple. Don’t ask for information you don’t need. Remember the last time you filled out a form that was longer than it had to be? Did you finish the form?
That’s what we thought.
Guests will abandon bookings if the process takes too long.
Integrate your online booking system with your property management system (PMS). This saves everyone time and headaches. You can also save money by choosing a commission-free booking engine like WebRezPro.
Last but not least, secure your booking engine data with an HTTPS connection, SSL encryption, and a PCI-compliant payment gateway integration. It’s nerve-racking sending your data off into the aether. Guests need to be sure it’s headed to the right place and only the right place.
Images and Video
Images should be consistent both with the text and with each other. Go for quality over quantity. Too many images can bog down your site speed. Remember, guests are busy.
Pay a photographer to take your photos rather than doing an amateur job yourself. These photos are the face of your property online. You want that face to look as polished and professional as you are.
At minimum, show the inside of your hotel (the guest rooms, lobby, restaurant), the outside (your entrance), and your location (the town/countryside/lake your hotel is near to). For more guidance, read these photo tips for increasing conversions.
Put videos up too. They’re easily shared and consumed, so guests prefer them. Need inspiration? Check out our article on how to create compelling hotel marketing videos.
It’s not the most glamorous part of web design, but SEO is one of the most important! Don’t worry, if you’ve got quality content, you’re halfway there already.
Keywords are still an important SEO strategy, but they must be used naturally. Choose your keywords from current travel trends. Lots of people taking wellness vacations? Weave this into your story if your property includes a spa or other wellness-related amenities.
Think about your guest segments. A guest segment is a group of people who are more likely to book at your hotel and who it makes sense to market to. Weddings, families, and business travelers can all be guest segments. Use content and keywords that relate to your guest segments’ needs. Those business travelers will want to know if you have meeting rooms.
Put in an FAQ page. It allows your busy guests to find important information easily and gives you another place to naturally add those keywords. Written in question and answer format, an FAQ page responds to the conversational/voice search trend and just makes SEO common sense.
Finally, make sure your website is secure with a valid SSL certificate. Not only will this boost your SEO, it will protect your guest data. You don’t remember all the times your data stayed safe. But you really remember the time it got compromised.
Still not sure how this fits together? Contact us to chat about your property’s website. We can provide a free, no-obligation quote for your website redesign. We’ve developed hundreds of successful hotel websites, and we can help yours drive more bookings too.