Within a few seconds of going to a hotel website, the customer knows whether they desire to stay there or not. They also have their first impression of the website. If the site it outdated, then the resort will also seem outdated. EVEN IF YOU DID NEW RENOVATIONS! The customer just assumes it is not that important to you as a company and when they arrive at your hotel, they may not get 1st class treatment as they deserve. Therefore, they go to another resort or hotel in the area that did have an updated site and persuaded them to visit. So, here are 5 essentials things to have when creating a hotel website.
1. Create a "showcase" front home page for the hotel. The showcase home page needs to have 1-2 main showcase pictures of the hotel. The picture(s) needs to be an aerial view outside with the pool/beach or a view of the lobby.
This is the first thing the person sees and it needs to be the thing that entices them to say "WOW! I HAVE TO GO HERE!" Then they send the link to their family/friends since its such a beautiful showcase image and now their family/friends want to visit your hotel as well. (See showcase image example at top of this blog post).
2. Ensure your booking is through a credible company to make reservations seamless to avoid double booking issues. When creating a hotel website, you have to be careful not to just create a booking platform on your website ONLY. There are so many booking companies that allow people to book hotels through them, you will want to make sure you embed the code for those other booking platforms. There is a way to ensure the reservations go to the same place, so the hotel does not get double booked. The last thing you want to do is have a guest out on the street when they anticipated a nice stay at your hotel that evening.
3. Do not overwhelm the customer! They are looking for a relaxing hotel, not a research assignment to find your images or amenities. Too much information will detract from your hotel and detour guests greatly! It is nice to provide guests with information about your hotel and the amenities, but a short list is sufficient. When you began making tabs and navigation links for every single thing, it is overwhelming to the customer and they will just give up looking at your website and move on to something shorter.
4. Add a search bar. The top navigation is prime real estate and it needs to be dealt with as such. Please do not put "careers", "sitemap", "terms and conditions", "employee login", etc on the top navigation bar. I cannot stress this point enough! I have seen many hotel websites that think just because they have a link they want people to see it should go at the top... NO! You can either add it on the website page half way down, BELOW the showcase pictures, or just add to the very bottom with the large link list. You should also have a search bar to make it easy for customers anyways to find items they are searching for.
5. Put hotel room pictures AND pool/outside pictures on the home page. This seems silly to even mention, but I promise it happens more often than not when I conduct Market Research, that hotels do not put images of the hotel rooms AND pool/outside pictures on the home page. What these hotels lack in understanding when they do this, is the reality that people are going to your website to potentially book a hotel stay IN THAT ROOM and relax AT THAT POOL that is on your site... Therefore, they want to see the images and what it looks like without having to click multiple links to get there.
There are a lot more essentials, but this is a little taste of what Mission Design Services offers for hotels. We will make sure your site has all the necessary tools to appeal to new clients in 2020 and beyond.
Article written by Samantha Medina an MDS Website Designer and key player in launching the new hotel/resort styles for MDS. Samantha has been active in gaining clients and designing for MDS.