Hospitality web design tips are critical to your business’s success. Case in point: you’ve got the perfect holiday getaway, the extras that your guests crave, and plenty of traffic on your custom-designed website. So why don’t you have bookings? Because guests aren’t reserving your rooms, of course! You need to optimise your website.
The way to convert guests online is to optimise your website until they can’t help but book with you. There’s an entire science behind this. Villa Marketers has over 100 best practices for hospitality web pages. However, I’m going to give you just the five biggest pieces of advice I’ve learned both at Boostly and from other hospitality marketers around the web.
1. Prioritise your SEO
Want to guess how many of your guests will start their travel plans with a Google search? Try 75%! For this reason, If you want to stay on top of the hotel world, then you need to start by staying on top of your keyword game. Natural phrasing should now be a critical part of your hospitality site’s web design, especially since many people have come to search using voice recognition.
Long-tail keywords, or phrases, should sound perfectly natural when you say them out loud. For example, when you’re writing the content for your site, avoid stilted language. “Guesthouse X has many lovely vistas to captivate the poetic soul” may get fewer clicks than “Stay in the Swiss Alps at Guesthouse X.”
2. Tap into the power of visuals
You need lots of good photos to convert your unsure guests into loyal repeat customers. After all, they’ve never stayed at your hospitality in the past. Good visuals will convince them to go out on a limb for you. HospitalityNet recommends using your visuals to tell a story about your business. This will make your guests feel more connected to you.
Remember, your guests aren’t necessarily making a conscious, rational decision to choose you over Giant Hotel Chain X. They’re following their heart and making that decision emotionally. With pictures, you can spark those feelings and land the booking.
Incidentally, visual social media platforms like Instagram are also great for showing guests what you’ve got available and how much fun they’ll have at your hospitality. Make sure that all of your photographs are as high-quality as possible. For a quick primer on great room photography, check out my post on the subject!
3. Design for mobile
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it ten times: mobile bookings are critical to the future of the hospitality industry. You just can’t ignore them. EdHotels estimates that 80% of room bookings are done on mobile these days. If you need even better numbers, Skift has charts that clearly show that mobile bookings are outpacing the rest.
So how can you best turn lookers into bookers when those lookers are on their smartphones? GeekFlare suggests focussing on easy navigation and using icons and images to convey information. This can get your site away from that small print that’s so hard to read on a smartphone.
4. Fix your navigation
Techzactly really emphasises this point in its post on hospitality web design tips: if your guests are confused when they try to get around, then they won’t book. That’s why you need to make your menus very clear and provide a strong call to action. Booking phone numbers and buttons should be directly in the customer’s view at all times.
Make sure that all your pages link up correctly and that there are no broken links anywhere on your site. Also, use analytics to guide how you build your navigation menus. If you see users bouncing from a certain specific menu, then it’s possible that menu needs more work.
5. Make sure your site is lightning-fast
I’ve spoken before about how improving your site’s speed will also improve your bounce rate. That advice continues to ring true! Don’t take my word for it: take it from Torque Magazine, which rates website speed as the #1 factor in web design success. When you look around the Internet for hospitality web design tips, you’re likely to see this one come up a lot.
If you’re stuck on how to start, then consider taking advice from Hosting Facts and removing plug-ins, limiting your social sharing buttons, and enabling caching. Although I strongly recommend using pictures, you should also be aware that the bigger your site, the slower it will load. Don’t cram so many photos onto your homepage that it fails to load quickly enough.
Still feeling clueless? Ask me your questions! You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.