In an age when many hotel guests book rooms through OTAs and third-party services, your hotel website design is more important than ever. Ideally, you want guests to not only learn about your properties through your websites, but book rooms via them as well.
That means you need to avoid certain common website mistakes. If yours isn’t delivering results (particularly because it’s loading too slowly), it could be due to one or more of these factors:
Your Hotel Website Design isn’t Optimized for Mobile
It’s important to make sure your website loads reliably and is formatted properly on every device a guest may use to access it. This is particularly crucial now that mobile Internet browsing is more common than desktop browsing.
Your website should be formatted so that it’s easy to read on a small mobile device’s screen. You may even want to develop two versions of your site – one for desktop and one for mobile – in order to provide a consistent user experience.
That said, proper formatting isn’t the only element of a strong mobile site. Yours also needs to load reliably on a mobile device. According to Google research, if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load, most users will click away from it. You can thus use a responsive template to prevent this from happening.
You’re Not Including Video
Video provides hospitality brands with a dynamic way to show off their properties. It’s also becoming more popular among Internet users. Video is easy to consume, it condenses a lot of information into a single piece of content, and it’s very shareable. Make sure your site features it on relevant pages. Just test all videos to confirm they’re embedded properly and load quickly!
You’re Relying on PDFs
Do your hotels have bars or restaurants on site? If so, it makes sense that guests would check your website to find the menus.
Don’t make the mistake of asking guests to download PDFs to see what you’re serving for dinner. This simply adds another layer of inconvenience to the overall user experience. Again, a three second load time is all it takes for mobile users to leave your site. Downloading PDFs can also take a few extra seconds. It may not seem like much, but it’s enough to make the wrong impression on guests.
You’re Not Using Images Wisely
Images play a major role in the strength of a hotel website. Quite simply, when guests research your properties, you want them to stand out. Boring potential guests with large sections of text (when pictures may be more “descriptive”) isn’t the right way to show off why they would want to visit your hotels or resorts.
That doesn’t mean you can simply add pictures to your landing pages and expect the user experience to improve. Obviously, poor photography won’t show off your properties in their best light, but even strong photography can have a negative effect if you toss in pictures randomly without considering how to arrange them for maximum effect.
For example, perhaps a landing page on your site details the pool and related amenities at a given hotel. A bunch of random pictures of the pool may be less effective than a single, gorgeous leading image.
Don’t forget that photos increase load time so make sure they’re optimized and compressed.
It’s Difficult to Find (and Use) Your Booking Engine
A hotel website can serve many purposes. One of them is to help you compete with online travel agencies. With the right website, you can convince potential guests to book directly through your company, instead of through an OTA.
That’s why your hotel website design needs to prioritize easy navigation. You want to make sure guests can find your booking engine, and you want to make sure it functions reliably when they do.
Review your current website with these points in mind. It may be necessary to make certain adjustments. While this could take time, the long-term benefits are worth the investment.