“A mark of good hotel web design is an attractive design, clear navigation and high useability to ensure a positive user experience which translates into hotel bookings.”
There are many factors to consider in your hotel website 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 useability 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 Sebel Pier One 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
Colour plays an important role in hotel website design. When it comes to colours, keep it simple and choose one dominant colour and use variations or tones of that base colour as highlights. Try not to use too many colours or your design may look busy and unappealing which may work for a children’s website but not so much for a hotel website.
Colours should be warm, inviting and evoke emotion so stay on the conservative side in your colour selection. Certain colours 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 colours 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 Sebel Cairns hotel website located in tropical Queensland near the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef uses green to great effect on its website to instil a feeling of calm and being one with nature
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 behaviours which help them find content easily. This reinforced or learned behaviour 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:
- categorisation of content
- testing via online tools or with focus groups
- heat map and eye tracking studies.
Important information like location, contact details, and booking methods, should be easy to find and simple to use. The Swissotel 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 recently announced that site speed would be 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 optimise 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 maximise 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.
The Swissotel has an OBE integrated onto their website pages so that visitors can easily find out the availability of website rooms and associated rates.
According to the OTX – “The Traveler’s Road to Decision” study done on behalf of Google, 41% of people surveyed make leisure travel plans and 50% make business travel plans according to the reviews they read. This reliance on reviews and “word of mouse” makes Social Media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs increasingly more relevant to hotel website designers.
In a recent Hotels Magazine review, John Wolf, senior director of public relations for Marriott International noted the importance of Twitter for the hotel brand, “Creating brand awareness and maintaining guest loyalty are the platform’s most important purposes. It’s not about return on investment—it’s about return on engagement.”
As well as a Twitter and Facebook presence, Marriott International also have a blog from Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO of Marriott International who shares his personal insights with hotel clients. The blog allows two-way feedback for customers to post comments on the blog and plays an important role in their hotel web design.
The Google study also suggested that 81% of corporate travellers rely on Search Engines when looking for hotels versus 67% of searchers looking for their personal travel needs so it’s important to capture that traffic with an engaging website. All these design elements 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, useability and ease of navigation.