A picture is indeed worth a thousand words and this adage was never more true when it comes to hotel website design. But image optimisation is critical when it comes to selecting quality shots that clearly highlight the hotel’s facilities, rooms and location but do not compromise on the usability of the website. Here are seven tips to help website designers deliver stylish image-rich designs that are still user friendly and offer all the functionality travellers need.
When choosing a file type, you should think about how you want to manipulate the images and file compression. There are three image formats widely used in web pages: GIF, JPEG, and PNG. Generally photographs should be saved as a JPEG file, use GIFs to save images that need to have a transparent background or are simple graphics or line drawings and use a PNG file if you need to create print ready high-resolution graphics.
Images are a major reason why a hotel website might be slow and sluggish and hence need to be optimised for the web. It’s essential that pages are created to load as quickly as possible, using compressed images with the minimum file size possible. A slow page speed can be why you’re losing bookings to competitors but with site speed also included in Google’s Search Engine algorithm, it can now affect your rankings as well.
When it comes to hotel photography, size does matter. You want large quality images that clearly show off the properties of your hotel. Sebel Cairns located in beautiful tropical Queensland has redesigned their website to display large background images of their hotel above the fold* with smaller thumbnails located below on the page. The website features a translucent navigation which shows off the spectacular background images of the hotel.
There are many ways you can save money but scrimping on professional hotel photography is not one of them. Your photography should tell a story about your hotel in images, evoke an emotional response, convey the experience and show the value offered by the hotel. Choosing the right images that show off the hotel’s values and services can significantly increase your conversion rate and overall revenue.
It is ideal to display images with all aspects of your hotel from the lobby and the concierge desk to the bathrooms with all the luxurious fittings and fixtures. Photos should be taken at different angles so the travellers get a better ‘picture’ of what the hotel is like. Make sure you take photos of the hotel’s amenities like the pool, gym, sauna and spa. Don’t forget to take pictures of the location as well particularly if your hotel is situatedin a picturesque setting.
Images are certainly vital on a hotel website to show off the fabulous facilities and rooms at your hotel but it’s important not to compromise content for images. There are ways and means of incorporating images with content such as including a transparent navigation (as above), using overlay text over full-size images or featuring large images above the fold and thumbnails underneath as per the Sebel Cairns website.
Image optimisation is important for web accessibility. ALT or alternative text provides a text alternative to an image. They are a way to “describe” an image for those such as the visually impaired who may be using screen readers that read the ALT text out loud. Moreover, Search Engine spiders can’t see your images when they visit your site, so they also need ALT tags to understand the context of the image on the page.
Images for hotels need to be carefully chosen to show off the positives of the hotel in the best light without negatively affecting the user experience. At Hotel Website Designers, we understand how images can add to the look and feel of your website and how they can ultimately make or break your design. Contact us if you want to know more about image optimisation or any of the website design solutions we offer.
*The part of a screen a visitor to your website sees before they need to scroll down further.
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