Guest experience starts when they visit the hotel websites.
Hotel websites are designed to sell rooms. They’re supposed to make reservations happen. So why aren’t some hotels doing a better job? There are a lot of reasons, including outdated design, lack of functionality, and poor conversion rates. But one reason is even bigger than those: most hotel websites don’t look like real hotels.
That’s because there’s no standard template for hotel websites. And while each hotel has different needs, many still use the same basic layout and style. This means that if you’re looking to redesign your site, you’ll probably have to start from scratch.
The good news is that creating great hotel websites doesn’t require coding skills. In fact, you can build a fully functional site without writing a single line of code. All you need is a little creativity and attention to detail.
So let’s take a closer look at what makes up hotel websites and how you can customize yours to meet your specific needs.
Responsive Design on Hotel Websites
The days of having a static website that doesn’t respond to different screens are long over. In fact, according to research conducted by HotelTonight, almost 90% of travelers use multiple devices while researching, planning, and booking travel.
But what does it mean to “be responsive”? What do you need to include in your hotel website design? And how much work will it take to implement?
Here’s our list of must-have hotel website features – things that every hotel needs to consider when designing its website.
According to Nielsen, nearly 50% of people now access the Internet via smartphones and tablets. If your hotel wants to capture more guests’ attention, it needs to make sure that its website is optimized for mobile visitors.
2. Optimized Images
Images are one of the most important aspects of a hotel website. They help convey information about the property and attract potential customers. However, images can slow down loading times, especially on mobile devices.
Speaking of images, your resort website needs great photography.
Hotel photography isn’t just about having pretty pictures on your site; it’s about telling a story. And there’s no better way to tell a story than with great photography.
If you’ve ever been to a hotel, chances are good that you saw some stunning imagery. Whether it was a shot of the pool, the lobby, the restaurant, or even something unique like a photo of the bathroom mirror, it’s likely that the room looked amazing.
But did you notice how many of those rooms had the same image over and over again? If you didn’t, you weren’t alone. Most people don’t pay attention to the little things, especially when they’re spending money. So why should we care about hotel photography? Because every single person who visits your hotel wants to see beautiful images. They want to feel special. They want to see the place where they’ll spend their vacation.
And while it might seem obvious, it’s actually very easy to forget that. When you think about it, hotels are usually built around being accessible and welcoming. You want to make sure that guests are comfortable and able to find everything they need without too much effort. This is true whether you’re talking about a luxury resort or a modest inn.
So, if you’re thinking about redesigning your hotel website, take a look at the images on your current site. Are they interesting enough? Do they tell a compelling story? Does your hotel stand out among competitors?
The answer probably depends on a lot of factors, including your location, target audience, and brand identity. But regardless of what you decide, remember that there’s nothing wrong with repeating yourself. In fact, repetition is a powerful tool.
Speed Up Your Hotel Websites
If there’s one thing everyone hates, it’s waiting. Our brains are hardwired to avoid anything that takes longer than three seconds to complete. But how much do we actually know about web performance? We asked some experts to weigh in on the topic. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Focus on mobile first
Mobile traffic accounts for over half of online visits today. And while desktop usage is still growing, it’s been declining for several years now. So if you want to increase your conversion rates, you need to focus on mobile first.
2. Keep it simple
A lot of people think that adding too many features makes a website look complicated. But when it comes to speed, simplicity is key. You don’t need to go crazy with fancy design elements, animations, or lots of different colors. Just keep it clean and easy to navigate.
3. Limit redirects
Redirects aren’t always bad. They can help you track conversions and improve your analytics. But if you use too many, you might lose visitors. If you’re worried about losing traffic, ask yourself why your site needs to redirect. Is it because you’ve moved servers? Or maybe you’re trying to change something on your homepage. Either way, you should consider whether the redirect is necessary.
As much as possible you’d want to keep your potential customer on your hotel website for as long as possible.
Hotel Websites Direct Booking Engine
The purpose of a hotel website isn’t just to provide information about your properties; you want it to help people make reservations directly on your site. A well-designed website includes a secure, PCI-Compliant, integrated booking engine. This ensures that guests can securely book rooms online without having to fill out forms on another site.
While a user explores your hotel website on mobile devices, that “Book Now” button should remain visible — preferably, locked into position along either the top or bottom of the screen. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc., you’ll find plugins that allow you to lock down specific elements of the design that creates an amazing user experience.
You also want to choose an integrated booking system that works seamlessly with your website. When guests are ready to reserve a room, they typically start their journey on the hotel’s website. They should be able to see everything they need to know about reserving a room right there on one page.
Finally, you want to choose a booking system that fits in with the rest of your site, rather than being an island unto itself. Guests shouldn’t have to jump around multiple sites to complete their reservation process. Ideally, they should be able to do it all within your website.
Lead Capture for Hotel Websites
Direct bookings are the primary goal of your hotel website. But you don’t just want guests to book rooms; you want to convert those visitors into paying customers. And while it’s true that most people land on your site because they’re searching for a specific property, there are plenty of reasons why someone might come looking specifically for a wedding venue. They could be planning one themselves, or maybe they’re working with a planner who wants to find properties that fit their clientele. Whatever the case may be, you want to make sure that your hotel website provides clear directions to meeting planners and prospective brides and grooms.
To get more prospects in your email inbox and site visits on your calendar, your contact information needs to be front and center. If your hotel doesn’t already offer a lead capture form, you should consider adding one to your booking process. This way, you can start collecting emails immediately.
Your hotel should also collect leads—that is, email addresses—in order to communicate directly with prospective customers. When it comes to lead collection, some hotels use their own forms, while others rely on third-party software like MailChimp or Constant Contact. Either way, you need to make sure that you have a method in place for capturing leads. Otherwise, you won’t know how many people are interested in what you have to offer.
COVID-19 Info Page
The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact travel across the globe. Hotels are doing everything they can to protect guests and employees. But what does that mean for the hotels themselves? What do we tell our guests? And how do we ensure that we continue to provide safe accommodations for everyone?
To answer those questions, most major brands and properties around the world have developed detailed information pages that outline everything from cleaning procedures to safety protocols and even policies regarding cancellations on the hotel website. These pages are often found near the top of the hotel’s homepage or within a dedicated section of the site. They typically include contact information, a list of key facts, and frequent times and dates for important announcements.
Don’t forget to include what safety measures you have implemented to reduce the risk of exposure.
The reputation of a hotel is influenced by reviews, as any seasoned hotelier will attest. Review websites are only one piece of the puzzle, though. Social proof carries far more weight.
For a while, social proof has replaced “word of mouth.” Consider them as a referral.
Nowadays, having social proof on your hotel website is crucial.
The decisions, viewpoints, and behaviors of those around us have an impact on us either consciously or unconsciously. Online visitors can get trustworthy and unbiased information about your hotel via guest testimonials. Social proof left by visitors is actually valued more by outsiders than the majority of other hotel marketing initiatives.
Social proof, according to research, increases credibility and trust. It is not surprising that a Nielsen study revealed that 70% of people believe in customer feedback. In addition, TripAdvisor research revealed that 77 percent of travelers read hotel reviews before making a reservation.
In addition, a Podium study revealed that 93 percent of participants stated product ratings influenced their purchasing choices.
The main objective of every hotel is to put “heads in beds,” thus blogs are a vital tool for boutique hotel websites to increase online traffic from potential visitors. Many hotels and resorts either don’t have any blogs at all or do have blogs but never update the stuff they already have on them. This not only undermines the goal of having a blog but also misses an opportunity to produce great material that attracts readers and leads to conversions.
New information is added to your website on a weekly or monthly basis as blog articles. By keeping your website active and adding new content, you’ll be able to rank better for new keywords on search engines like Google and Bing. In order to display the most relevant results when someone searches, search engines automatically perform routine scans across websites for fresh material. Therefore, the more frequently you post new content to your blog, the more keywords your website may appear for, and the more specific your SEO is geared toward your ideal prospective visitors.
Need help with your hotel website or marketing your beach resort? Book your consultation to speak to an expert today!