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Hotel Website Design

The Hallmarks of Good Hotel Web Design

No two hotel websites are made the same. You may have seen one that looks like this: as soon as the page loads, you hear midi music playing some soft, whimsical tune. An animated gif of a dozen gulls floats by the screen in perfect pixelated harmony. The Flash homepage movie fails to load, and the hot pink and lavender background tiles make your head just a little bit dizzy.

Sound familiar? This kind of hotel website design comes from an era when hotel websites were seen as elaborate art projects, meant to show off the personality of the hotel. Instead, good hotel web design treats websites as conversion engines, meant to portray a hotel in the best possible light to increase online reservations and make you more money. It’s important to start thinking about websites as ticket booths instead of carnival rides.

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Good Hotel Web Design Makes You More Money

Google reports that 96% of all travelers start their hotel planning using search engines. This means that the overwhelming majority of guests will judge your hotel based upon their first impression of your website, discovered through search engines. This is terrible news if you have an outdated or poorly designed website. On the other hand, it’s excellent news because it means that you are in total control of your hotel’s first impression.

buuteeq’s Cloud DMS software gives you the tools you need to craft, publish and own your hotel website using state-of-the-art and always up-to-date hotel website design. In the following sections we will outline hotel web design best practices. Request a demo of our hotel marketing software to learn more about buuteeq’s solution for your hotel.

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Hotel Web Design Best Practices: Nuts & Bolts

Before we get into how a hotel website should look on the outside, let’s take a peek inside to see if it has the right foundation.

HTML5

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Flash has been a popular technology for hotel web design up until about four years ago. When the iPhone was released, Apple chose not to support Flash, making all hotel websites appear broken when viewed from a mobile device. This heralded the downfall of Flash. Today, Flash is no longer supported on a myriad of mobile devices, including Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

Instead, hotel website designers are opting to use HTML5; a powerful, flexible technology that provides similar graphical animated functionality of Flash without any of Flash’s incompatibilities and weight. HTML5 is quickly becoming the de-facto technology that powers the Web. Good hotel web design should use HTML5, not Flash.

Responsive Design

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Traditionally, hotel websites were built with a static, hard-coded width. This can still work well for some websites like blogs, but for hotel websites, it’s better to choose a responsive design that adapts to the device and browser your guest is using to explore your property online.

What we mean by “responsive” design is this: instead of having a fixed number of pixels that define the width of the page, the website will adjust itself to fit whatever resolution, device or browser attempts to view it. This helps give guests a consistently good experience on your website, instead of having a presence that appears broken to guests who use older browsers (like IE7) or smaller screen resolutions.

Information Architecture

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Guests browse websites a specific way. They often already know what they want to find before they ever hit your website. Instead of making guests hunt for the information they want, build your hotel website with an information architecture that delivers information precisely where guests expect to find it. buuteeq, for example, has invested in eye-tracking studies to learn exactly where guests look on a website to find reservation buttons, contact information and where on a page they expect to see photos, weather, contact information and so on. We incorporated all of this research into our finished product, producing an information architecture proven to increase online reservations and make you more money.

Hotel Web Design Best Practices

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The Anatomy of a Hotel Website

Much goes into the anatomy of powerful hotel website design: the homepage (this is your first impression), hotel photos, detailed room information, location info, a powerful and easy-to-use online booking engine and hotel SEO. Here is a list of essential content every hotel website must have to perform well.

Homepage: The First Impression of Your Hotel Web Design

The homepage is most important because it’s the first thing your guests see. Guests will judge whether or not they are interested in your property within the blink of an eye. To prevent bounces and encourage bookings, good hotel web design will have the following:

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Photos

These should be place prominently, near the top of your hotel website in a slideshow gallery, or as a dynamic website background. These should be a selection of your hotel’s best photography.

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Descriptive Content

Reveal your inner creative writer by crafting compelling, descriptive content on your homepage. Start by describing where you’re located, the convenience of your location and any nearby attractions. Continue with details about what makes your hotel special.

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Obvious Reservations

Don’t make your guests hunt for a way to book a room! Make your reservation button or availability calendar large and impossible to miss on your homepage.

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Contact Info

Some guests prefer to book over the phone, or make email inquiries. Make this easier for them by listing your hotel’s contact information prominently.

Photos: The ‘Window’ of Your Hotel Website Design

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Next to your homepage, your photos will be the most visited piece of marketing content. The more detailed, high-resolution, beautiful photography you add to your website, the longer guests will stay and the more likely they will be to book a room.

Be sure to include galleries for all interesting parts of your property—hotel exterior, gardens, pools, hotel lobby, room interiors, corridors, breakfast rooms, restaurants and hotel artifacts or display items.

Room Details

List each room type you have or, if you have a limited number of unique rooms, list each room individually. Include a photo gallery of the room’s interior, as well as room dimensions, bed type, room view and amenities.

Give guests an easy way to compare all of your room types so that they can choose a room based on the item most important to them, be it price, view, bed type or amenities.

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Locations

Hotel location is the deciding factor that will lead to a reservation or not. After all, as amazing as your hotel is, no one will book if it’s on the North Pole (well, unless they want to go there, of course). Make sure you include a detailed and interactive map of your hotel’s location and where it lies in relation to any points of interest, such as local area attractions and landmarks, restaurants, transportation and more.

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Online Reservations

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Your online reservation engine should be modern, easy to navigate and fast. It should seamlessly meld into the look and style of your website with a modern user interface. It needs an interactive availability calendar and the ability to process credit cards. Anything less than this is below guest expectations in our high-tech day-and-age, where affluent 20-somethings use credit cards and PayPal for the majority of their online purchases.

Read our article to learn more about online booking engines for hotels.

Hotel SEO as Part of Hotel Website Design

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Since the success or failure of a hotel website often relies on how it performs in search engines, it’s wise to have SEO in mind when contracting a hotel website designer. Be wary of the SEO charlatans! SEO has gotten a negative rap recently because there are some sleazy companies out there trying to take your hard-earned money by selling their sketching SEO services. Instead, choose a hotel CMS or another platform that is optimized for search engines from the get-go, so you can save your money for other purposes. Learn more about our philosophy on SEO here: Hotel SEO.

Hotel website design is an important investment that shouldn't be made lightly—however, it doesn't have to be a confusing one. Find trustworthy, qualified professionals whom you’d trust to package your valuable hotel brand and deliver it to the world.

With thousands of customers around the world, decades of experience and an award-winning product, buuteeq is ready to help you publish your modern, powerful hotel website that is built to perform. Request a demo of our hotel marketing software to learn more about buuteeq’s solution for your hotel.

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