In recent years, the concept of colour psychology has become a hot topic in art and marketing, as well as many other areas. Experts and researchers have been able to make some meaningful discoveries about the psychology of colour and the effect it has on people’s behaviour, mood and feelings.
Our feelings about colours are often deeply personal and rooted in our own experiences in life or culture. For example, in Western countries, white is the colour used to represent purity and innocence, whilst in many Eastern countries, this colour is seen as a symbol of mourning. But how can colours impact your website’s conversion rate?
How colours impact our emotions
The perception of colour is highly personal to each individual, but there are effects that tend to have a more universal association. Colours in the red spectrum are commonly known as warm colours and typically evoke feelings of warmth, passion and anger. Colours that are on the blue spectrum are universally known as cold colours, often prompting calm feelings, but can also evoke sadness or indifference.
Blue is also a colour that cultivates a users’ trust, which may be why there are many brands who opt for a predominantly blue logo or website. Blue is also the preferred colour of 61% of the world’s top technology companies, including Samsung, Facebook, HP, Dell, PayPal and many more.
Yellow is a colour often used for warnings, but brands also may use yellow to show that they are fun and friendly. Companies do this because yellow is a colour often associated with optimism and happiness – it is also a colour which encourages communication. This is why yellow is a colour often used by hostels, where people of all countries and typically younger (or the young at heart) come together to connect.
Orange is a colour that is associated with fairness and affordability. This is why price-focused businesses like easyJet and Budget Car Rental use this as their predominant colour. The goal of using orange is not to be associated with being cheap – it’s associated with being fair.
Researchers from Haas Paint Quality Institute discovered that warm colours are appetite-stimulating. This is why designers recommend warm colours for home kitchens and restaurant – it not only increases appetite, but is has has been proven that it can increase the speed at which people eat. This is is why fast food restaurants, such as McDonald’s and KFC incorporate red in their logo and interior designs.
Colour is a tricky thing, and the right colour should be used in the right way. Whilst there are trends within the hotel industry, e.g. hostels tend to have bright and young colours such as bright pink, yellow, neon green and purple, whereas luxury hotels tend to stick to classic colours such as burgundy, blue, gold and black – there are by no means definitive rules. In order to succeed in using the right colour psychology, you need to follow the core principles which are: right way, right time, right audience and right purpose.
What colours work best to increase conversion?
How can hotels use colour psychology to get people to click a ‘book now’ button? The colour of call to action (CTA) buttons is one of the most prolonged debates within the community of conversion specialists. For every expert who says green is the best colour for a CTA button due to it being a colour that is often associated with “go”, there’s another who argues that red is the best colour because it is eye-catching.
When HubSpot conducted research into which CTA button colour would outperform the other, the results were rather surprising. The red button resulted in 21% more clicks. Why would the HubSpot test subjects prefer the red button rather than the green? The answer is simple – the red button was the only colour that stood out on the page. The colour itself had little to no effect on it’s own, because there is no universal best colour. It was effective because of its relationship with the rest of the page. There are rules of thumb that can assist your hotel to use colour to your advantage. One of these is the principle known as “isolation effect” – the principle that states an item that “stands out like a sore thumb” will often be remembered more than other elements on the website.
But short of building a black and white website with bright red CTAs, how do you balance your colour palette in a way that is still effective?. Interior designers have a simple rule that works well on website conversion optimisation. It’s a timeless decorating technique that can guide you to put colours on your hotel website in a harmonious way.
60% – dominant colour
30% – secondary colour
10% – accent colour
This simple formula creates a sense of balance that allows the eye to move from one focal point to the other without difficulties. On your website, the 60% should unify the overall design theme. About 30% of the secondary colour creates contrast and visual appeal to your website. 10% of is left for your accent colour –usually the colour assigned to call-to-action buttons, such as ‘book now’. These three colours should be the colours that are incorporated into your brand pallet.
Ultimately, a single colour has little to no effect on your website conversion on its own. Like Hubspot tested on their website if red or green was the best colour for their visitors, A/B testing is the only way you’ll know which colour outperforms the other on your website. To discover which placement and combination of your brand colours is the best converting colour for your CTA buttons, you too need to test. A/B testing your brand colours to see which your website visitors are more inclined to click is the best way to know what colours work best for your website and ultimately, for your guests.