Your website is the hub for all information and content regarding your property and is often the first thing people see when they search for and interact with your business. For these reasons, it’s important for your site to not only be aesthetically pleasing but also intuitive and user-friendly. While it’s important to adapt and embrace new website design trends, making sure that your site offers easily accessible information about your brand and services is equally essential.
A picture conveys a message, idea, or experience in a split second. With one billion+ active Instagram accounts worldwide, it’s clear that images sell. Your website’s photography directly affects the success of your business. Images are the face of your property online and a crucial tool for portraying its beauty in the most flattering light. In addition to guestroom photos, include exterior shots as well as photos of facilities, the lobby and common areas, your location and local attractions to convey the experiences available within your hotel and its role in the local community.
Further immerse website visitors in the experiences you offer by including 360° photos and videos where viewers fully control their point of view while virtually touring your property. Incorporating short, silent video backgrounds also inspires guests to stay on your site and learn about your brand identity. A homepage banner completely dedicated to showing quality pictures of your property and the wildlife or local attractions that surround it is a proven hotel website design trend that immediately speaks to visitors.
With the rise of mobile devices and digitization of the travel booking experience, customers today research their travel options on their mobile devices or a desktop/laptop, often switching back and forth between the two. Because of this, a responsive website that offers a seamless transition between mobile and desktop/laptop viewing and a consistent user experience is essential in keeping travelers on your site long enough to book. Social media also makes a responsive, mobile-friendly design crucial to the success of your business because, with most social media usage taking place on mobile devices, your businesses’ social media campaigns drive traffic directly to your website. Convert this mobile traffic into profit by prioritizing responsive design.
Like consumers, search engines favor responsive design and sites that are mobile-friendly, which impacts your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Make responsive design a priority to attract and keep customers on your website as well as ensure that it’s one of the first search results they see.
Direct Online Bookings
Once guests reach your website, entice them to book with you by providing an easy-to-use online booking engine. Directing customers to your site is only half the journey, user retention is vital for increasing direct bookings. If this convenience isn’t offered through your website, you risk sending potential guests to third-party booking sites or to competing businesses. Therefore, a user-friendly online booking engine helps build and maintain your guest base, loyalty, and increases your bottom line.
Finally, make your online booking engine accessible to guests throughout your website by providing a “book now” call-to-action (CTA) button appropriately on every page, or within the navigation bar.
Tell Your Story
One of the main reasons people travel is to gain personal experiences, connections, and memories. A 2018 study found that 74% of Americans value experiences over products or things, recognizing a shift in priorities compared to previous generations of travelers. To encourage travelers to book with you, emphasize the story and the people behind your business. Convey your property’s story by using your property description to highlight your place in the tapestry of your local community and how guests will authentically experience everyday local life through you.
Visual tips to keep in mind when telling your story include using a simple color palette that’s consistent with your brand marketing and that guests will associate with your business, and choosing the same photo filter for your photography and videos to maintain a similar aesthetic across your website and social media channels. Pithy text overlays are also effective for conveying messages and emotions that will leave lasting impressions on viewers.
Micro-interactions refer to moments that are initiated by a trigger and have a single purpose—usually to entertain. While these small interactions may be difficult to notice and easy to dismiss as insignificant, they greatly enhance the story and personality your website is trying to project. For a feature with an understated presence, its absence would create a large gap in user experience. The Facebook reaction stickers on messages and posts, for example, add individuality and enjoyment to the social interactions within the app and it would be hard to imagine them not existing.
Micro-interactions can range from being subtle and functional to creative and purely fun, or a combination of any of these elements. Examples include a menu panel popping up when the cursor hovers over the navigation bar, CTA buttons that change colour when hovered over, images that move upon scrolling, reactive cursors that change shape depending on what they’re hovering over, or an “Error” or loading page surrounded by entertaining animations. Micro-interactions aid in user retention by immersing visitors in an interactive, personable experience that they will remember during the booking phase of their travel journey.
With evolving and emerging design trends and technological advancements, a business website is always under construction. Embrace new trends while including simple, ageless features such as online booking and responsive design to put your best foot forward. These elements will enhance the user experience and personality of your website and leave a lasting impression on visitors when choosing where to book.