There are many factors to consider in your hotel web design. It must not only have an attractive and enticing design, but must also have a seamless path to conversion and easy functionality. All these elements work together to improve the usability of the website and increase hotel bookings. Here are five important design elements to help boost your hotel occupation rate.
People who look at a hotel website will often be captured by the images and visual appeal of the website before stopping to read the fine print. Hotel websites should paint a beautiful picture of your hotel rooms, your wedding facilities, conference rooms, the location and so forth.
Visitors should be able to see at a glance, the quality of the hotel rooms, conference rooms and wedding venues in all different angles and the accompanying views. This will reassure them they are making the right decision in booking a hotel online via your website.
The Pier One Sydney Harbour hotel’s unique selling point is its location alongside the famous Sydney harbour. The website has a video and photo gallery that visitors can browse through to really push the harbourside views and luxury Sydney hotel rooms and facilities.
Choosing the right colour scheme
Color plays an important role in hotel website design. When it comes to colors, keep it simple and choose one dominant color and use variations or tones of that base color as highlights. Try not to use too many colors or your design may look busy and unappealing which may work for a children’s website but not so much for a hotel website.
Colors should be warm, inviting and evoke emotion so stay on the conservative side in your color selection. Certain colors may have certain connotations for visitors; a palate of greens and blues for example may be used for hotel retreats and to embody a mood of peacefulness and serenity.
Black tones may add mystery to the website while white is a symbol of purity and cleanliness. Be experimental with your colors but don’t be afraid to also experiment with open or white spaces – this is ideal for creating an uncluttered combination of imagery and text.
The Hawthorn Suites Lake Buena Vista hotel website implemented bold, orange “Book Now “buttons, which is used to draw attention and spark enthusiasm to that specific call-to-action.
The navigation structure of a website is one of the most important factors in good hotel web design. The website should provide all the answers to questions a visitor might have, from the size of the rooms, facilities and the view to clear descriptions of the location and how to get there.
This information should be easy to find by visitors. The more time they take in searching for information, the more frustrated they get and they may just leave your website altogether. As users navigate the Web, they learn certain behaviors, which help them, find content easily. This reinforced or learned behavior helps them successfully navigate through new sites.
Some of the methods and tools web developers use to determine the navigation structure of a website through:
- Categorization of content
- Testing via online tools such as usertesting.com
- Heat map and eye tracking studies such as Crazy Egg
Important information like location, contact details, and booking methods, should be easy to find and simple to use. The Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa website is a good example of an easy-to-use navigation system to promote hotel bookings and an increased conversion rate.
Functionality is another important element of hotel website development. Google announced that site speed is now included in the search ranking algorithms. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests. Intensive research on site speed done by Google shows that users have a tendency to spend less time on a site that is running slowly.
A hotel website is often image heavy to remain visually attractive but in order to keep the interest of potential clients, the loading time must be quick or customers may get frustrated and move onto a competitor’s website. It is important to optimize image file sizes for the website to decrease the loading time.
Having an integrated online booking (OBE) system that is easy to step through is vital to make the booking process as seamless as possible and to maximize conversions. A powerful booking system will help ensure that your website can handle large volumes of bookings without any problems. The easier you make the path to conversion, the more hotel bookings you are likely to get.
According to the 2014 Ipsos MediaCT – “The Traveler’s Road to Decision” study done on behalf of Google, 85% of leisure travelers surveyed have encountered a travel site that was not mobile optimized or friendly. Leisure Travelers research and book across multiple devices, so hotel websites must be optimized and easy to use whether that be on a phone, tablet or desktop.
The Google study also suggested that 77% of smartphone usage by affluent travelers use spare moments, such as when waiting and commuting, to browse the internet for travel inspiration. Just another reason why having a responsive design is a must.
All of these design elements will help boost your reservation rates, hotel bookings and conversion rates. Contact us and find out how we can create a hotel web design with great functionality, usability and ease of navigation.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.