Seeing is believing – here are arguments to put forward to your management team as to why you need a new hotel web design.
There are many reasons why a new hotel web design might be needed. As more people search for accommodation via the internet, a hotel website is like your electronic calling card. If the design quality is not reflective of your business, it doesn’t offer you the functionality you require, it is not user friendly or it cannot be found on Search Engines, it might be time for some fine-tuning. Here are 10 reasons why you may consider updating your website.
Your website is not Search Engine-friendly
More often than not, people are researching their accommodation choices via the internet and if you cannot even be found, you’re not even in the running. Some hotels do not rank for their own name let alone hotel-related keyword phrases such as ‘bed and breakfast: St Kilda’. If your hotel has low Search Engine visibility, you may have to call in the big guns, i.e. a web designer and SEO company to help you.
Your website needs a major style update
Like clothing, hotel web design does go out of fashion. In general, it’s good to review your website design every four to five years. There are certain design elements popular in the 90s that can still be seen on websites for older bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels and smaller accommodation sites such as background music or video, animated cursors, blinking fonts, intrusive advertising, invasive colour schemes and so on.
Your website doesn’t look trustworthy
People book hotels they trust. Your hotel web design is an online extension of your physical property and it needs to reflect the quality of your establishment. A badly designed website can give the wrong impression about your hotel. If they think your website is poorly put together and presented, then they may believe this may also mirror the way the business is run and administered. First impressions count for a lot in hotel web design.
There is no lead generation from your website
While it is natural to obtain leads through all different sources such as phone calls and emails, your website acts as a major sales funnel for your hotel. If there is no lead generation, there are several reasons for this; it could be the general look and feel of the website, the navigation could be confusing to visitors, the path to conversion may be too long or too difficult or it may not appear to be trustworthy. A site review is in order.
You have a high bounce rate
A bounce rate in simple terms according to Google is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Even the best designed and optimised sites have got a bounce rate up to 20% so you are not looking for perfection. Your web designer should start to get concerned at bounce rates over 30% and if it is over 50%, a major redesign may be in order.
No visible calls to action (CTA)
Alternatively you may have a low bounce rate but also a low conversion rate and this isn’t good either. Customers may want to enquire about your hotel or make a booking but they just cannot find a CTA such as a phone number or booking form on the site. Make it easy for your visitors. Features such as online booking engine on every page of a hotel web design have been proven to significantly increase conversion rates.
Slow loading times
Slow page speed is not only a concern for visitors to your site but also Search Engines as it is now included as a signal in Google’s algorithms. Large image sizes are often a factor in sluggish loading times for hotel websites. Yahoo! has released 35 best practices for making website pages load faster. You may have to make a few changes to your website or have a design overhaul to increase your site’s speedability.
You don’t have all the functionality you need
As your hotel has developed over the years, there may be extra functionality that you may wish to incorporate into the design such as an online booking engine, an easy-to-use content management system (see below), a company blog or a feature gallery and you don’t know how to easily add them on your site. This work really calls for an experienced web developer to make major changes to the site.
You cannot easily update content on your site
This is one of the major reasons for a hotel web design – previously some web designers would create websites without thinking about the long term maintenance by their clients. Hotel visitors and Website visitors have a preference for sites that are continually updated with interesting and relevant content. If you cannot edit information on your site without calling upon your web developer, it may be time for a refresh.
You cannot find anything on your site
Websites even created only five years ago have numerous levels of navigation with people wading through pages of information. Today, best practice website guidelines prevail that a visitor should only navigate three levels of your website before they find what they are looking for. If travellers cannot find what they want within three clicks, they may just exit your site especially if they are using portable devices.
Admittedly redesign may be expensive and you might have to get buy-in from top management to approve an overhaul of your website. However done well, a hotel will reap the rewards of increased website traffic and an improved return on investment. At Hotel Internet Marketing, we work with high profile clients every day to create a beautiful hotel web design that is a celebration of both form and function.