Now more than ever, hotel websites play a central role in attracting guests. In fact, Google recently unveiled a study which shows that 96% of all travelers rely on search engines to find accommodations. This is great news for hotels that have beautiful, responsive websites. On the other hand, it's frightening data for any hotel with an outdated or poorly-designed web platform.
Make no mistake: The overwhelming majority of guests will judge your entire hotel based on the first impression they get from your hotel website. Years ago, businesses could get away with sites that featured corny animated gifs, whimsical midi tunes, hot pink background tiles, and other clutter which left visitors feeling slightly dizzy. Nowadays, these glorified art projects have gone the way of the dodo, as tech-savvy consumers demand professional websites that deliver timely information.
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.
As technology changes, hotel websites must adapt. Modern devices and new search engine updates have made old design strategies obsolete. To see if your site is stuck in the Dark Ages, let's take a look at some key developments:
Several years ago, Flash animation was all the rage. Unfortunately, when Apple released the iPhone, it chose not to support Flash technology. The result? Tens of thousands of hotel websites appeared broken on the vast majority of mobile devices. Enter HTML5, a powerful, flexible technology that provides the same graphical functionality of Flash without any of its clunky weight and incompatibilities. If your website doesn't have a responsive design based on HTML5, you're way behind the times, and the repercussions will prove costly.
According to the study conducted by Google and Ipsos MediaCT, 36 percent of business travelers and 40 percent of leisure travelers use mobile devices to locate hotels. What's more, this same research determined that poor mobile performance is the number one deterrent keeping mobile users from booking with a specific hotel. HTML5 is key to ensuring that your site is able to reach this rapidly growing market. That said, it's still not enough.
Traditional hotel web designs featured a static, hard-coded width that still works just fine for blogs and other simple websites. For hotel websites, however, this simply won't do. To reach the full spectrum of travelers, your site must have a responsive design that adapts to each and every device and browser your guest might use to explore your property online. This means a design that will automatically adjust itself to fit any resolution, device, or browser. Without this critical concept, your website will only be able to tap a limited pool of consumers—much to the delight of your key competitors.
Numerous organizations have poured countless dollars into studies that analyze the way guests browse websites. In the end, they all determined that most visitors already know what they're looking for before they ever land on a company's website. When guests have to hunt for the information they want, they get frustrated quickly, often leaving the site in search of a one that's easier to navigate.
Once you've landed a visitor, you need a convenient, free-flowing information architecture that will capture his or her interest. Information needs to be clear, concise and exactly where a guest expects to find it.
At buuteeq, we've invested in eye-tracking studies to learn where guests look to find reservation buttons, contact information, photos, weather, and more. This research provides invaluable insight that allows us to produce effective information architecture for our cloud DMS, which is proven to increase online reservations and make our clients more money.
Even the best website won't increase your revenue if no one can find it. With this in mind, it's critical to have built-in search engine optimization (SEO) to help your site rank well in Google and other popular search engines. These days, SEO is fraught with dangers associated with sloppy and deceptive "black hat" strategies.
To avoid potential penalties from Google, stay away from SEO services that make outlandish promises in an attempt to get inside your wallet. Conversely, buuteeq’s software is optimized for search engines from the get-go, so you can save your money for more important aspects of your business.
To effectively engage your visitors, you must present the most important information right away. This means strategically incorporating key details on your homepage, where visitors expect to see the things that interest them most. To prevent bounces and encourage bookings, good hotel web design should have the following:
After your homepage, your photos are the most important ways to connect with potential guests. Detailed, high-resolution photography will maintain interest and increase the odds that a visitor will book a room. To land more guests, include galleries that feature the most interesting parts of your property such as: pool, garden, business center, fitness facilities, restaurants, room interiors, weddings and special events facilities, corridors, and attractive interior design.
The more you can tell your guests about your actual rooms, the more confident they'll feel about making a reservation. Include photo galleries featuring the interiors, along with room dimensions, bed types, room views, and amenities. List every type of room and separate unique rooms individually. If you make it easier for visitors to compare rooms, they'll be able to select one based on the features which are most important to them.
For many people, location is a primary factor in determining whether they decide to book with a particular hotel. Include a detailed, interactive map in relation to key points of interest, or risk losing a guest to a competing hotel who has taken this extra step.
Your online booking engine is fundamental when it comes to efficiently booking guests. It needs to be fast and easy to navigate. It needs an interactive availability calendar. It should also have a modern user interface that seamlessly blends with the look and style of your website. All of these features assure customers that they are providing their information to a trustworthy website.
Read our article to learn more about online booking engines for hotels.
Hotel web design is a critical investment that demands trustworthy, qualified professionals who understand the challenges within the hospitality industry. At buuteeq, we serve loyal clients who want their websites to perform at optimal levels. We've established a well-earned reputation as knowledgeable, courteous experts, who go the extra mile for each and every one of our valued clients.
With thousands of customers around the world, unparalleled experience, and an award-winning product, buuteeq is ready to help you publish your modern, powerful, effective hotel website.
Request a demo of our hotel marketing software to learn more about buuteeq’s solutions for your hotel and one of our team members will reach out to you shortly.