A recent article on the Hotelowner website highlights research by the University of Portsmouth which demonstrates a link between the quality of a hotel’s website and the hotel’s profitability.
The research paints a gloomy picture for hotels that cut corners in their online marketing – leaving those that invest in their websites and online presence with a competitive advantage. Dr Alice Good said “A website is the interface – the shop window – between hotels and their customers, and a poor user experience will reduce the chance of a customer committing to a business transaction.”
Designing a successful hotel website is not all about looking cool! The key objectives of a well-designed hotel website are to quickly engage with the website visitor and to generate a successful booking or enquiry. Here are five key principles for designing a good hotel website.
A good hotel website should quickly engage with a website visitor. The layout should be simple, the navigation and the calls to action should be straightforward and easy to use, and the overall look and feel should create an accurate portrayal of the hotel. Show and tell people why you’re a great place to stay – what’s nearby, your facilities and special offers. People will leave your website quickly if they don’t engage with it…
Gradpad London’s website is a great example of a website that creates a great first impression.
A picture is worth a thousand words… or perhaps a few £1,000 in extra bookings per year! Try not to cut corners on photography. Research shows that hotel guests really do want to know what their bed for the night will look like – so invest in some decent photos like these at Clarenco’s website.
In these times of economic gloom everyone is looking for a good deal. Using Google Analytics we measure how traffic moves around many of our clients’ websites and we know that the ‘Special Offers’ button is one of the most popular clicks on any hotel website. Make the most of your seasonal campaigns, weekend breaks and promotions – like these on the Think Apartments website.
Don’t leave your website visitors hunting around your website trying to book a room. Generating a booking or an enquiry from your website has to be your key objective – so make sure the ‘Book Now’ call to action is prominent and visible on every page on the site. Here’s a good example of our online hotel booking system at The Fownes Hotel.
Most of the people who visit your website won’t book straight away. There’s every chance that traffic to your website will be people who are planning a trip, researching what’s available or comparing you with the competition. Now is the time to connect with potential guests by offering them the opportunity to sign-up to receive promotional emails from you or by connecting with them through social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn. The CRM Students website is a great example of a website that connects with their website visitors.
Dr Good concludes her research by saying that “Hotels which fail to spend the required time and money on their websites face a drop in bookings and therefore in profitability”. Design is a true investment in a hotel website – and done properly can make all the difference in the world.