Gone are the days of needing to hire and manage expensive software developers and web designers to build a professional-looking website that fits your brand’s specific needs. There is a plethora of automated website builders and pre-made templates to choose from. Today, hotel business managers can easily and quickly craft gorgeous and functional hotel websites with little to no experience.
But with so many options to choose from, selecting the perfect website template can become quite a challenge. The template you choose should accommodate the type of content and features you plan to share with your audience. This offers a solid foundation for your team to create an effective website that represents your hotel in the most enticing way.
Hotel Website Essentials
The very first step in choosing the right template for your website is to outline the key content and main functions you’ll require to attract visitors and convert them into guests. Using your brand assets and business needs as a starting point will make it easier to choose a fitting template from the various options available. In addition, here are some of the core essentials that every hotel website should have:
It’s 2022. If your site is not responsive, unfortunately, that means it’s definitely outdated.
And with most online experiences happening on mobile devices, a responsive design is absolutely crucial both for branding and the overall user experience.
Most modern website templates tend to include responsive, mobile-ready themes by default. However, it’s always a good idea to test for mobile-friendliness. An effective mobile-friendly website template allows users to visit and experience your site in the same way, regardless of the device they’re using or what their screen resolution is.
2. Booking Forms
A hotel website without the ability to book is much like a store with nowhere to pay for your items. As a hotelier, the booking form is your main Call To Action and should constantly be a key focus on your website.
At a minimum, your booking forms should allow visitors to select their tentative dates, number of guests, and number of rooms needed. Linking this form to your booking engine will allow potential guests to view room availability in real time and place a booking; leading to much faster conversions.
3. CTA Buttons
Booking forms are not the only CTAs that you’ll want on your website. Links to your amenities, special offers, and room details are all vital in making sure your hotel website is in the best shape it can be. The ideal conversion may indeed be a room booking. However, it can also be anything from contacting the hotel directly to signing up for a monthly newsletter.
The template you select should have a thoughtful structure and be easy for users to navigate through. This means including a CTA button in each section for visitors to engage with. CTAs compel the user on what action to take next instead of making them wonder how to proceed. This engagement both encourages conversion and works to boost your SEO ranking.
4. Focus on Visuals
A quality pairing for a good CTA has always been and will always be a strong visual. For hoteliers, this is a very good thing. As a hotel, stunning imagery is the first thing your website visitors should see. It also gives you the perfect opportunity to make a great first impression.
One of the best practices in making the most out of your hotel’s imagery is to select a website template with a full-width header. You should also opt for layouts that offer high-quality image galleries and different spaces to add various media. This allows your team the flexibility to showcase your hotel’s offerings in different areas of your website. It also gives potential guests a sneak preview of what their stay could look like.
5. Sophisticated Design
High-quality imagery deserves a high-quality website design to house it. Functionality and user experience should indeed be prioritized when selecting a template. However, it would be a big mistake to neglect aesthetics. Having a high design standard sets you apart from the competition and creates a halo effect. This frames your hotel as a strong brand, attracting visitors and encouraging online bookings.
Sophisticated sites may seem a bit difficult to execute, but the best ones are usually quite simple. High-end websites follow many of the standard best practices when it comes to structure. The website navigation structure should offer a clear roadmap that guides visitors to the information they are looking for. Relevant content should always be displayed above the fold; keeping each section focused on a specific topic and allowing your website visitors to get what they want right away.
As you can already tell, today’s online audiences are extremely and particularly visual. Strategic placement of attractive imagery is great for keeping your audience engaged regardless of where they are on your website. When icons are utilized properly in your hotel website’s design, the user interface is usually more aesthetically pleasing and the visitor experience is enhanced.
Icons are typically smaller and offer just the right amount of aesthetic appeal to your web pages without drawing attention away from your core messaging. Additionally, they can be utilized as tools to break up your content and make it more digestible visually. Icons also make it simpler for users to navigate your hotel’s website quickly and understand the material, especially when there is a language barrier. They serve as effective visual cues and work as useful tools for communication with a global audience.
The FAQ section of your website is a crucial point of communication with your audience. It allows you to answer their most urgent questions and concerns about a potential stay. An effective FAQ design should educate, inform, and guide visitors through your website’s content and direct them towards the answers they are looking for. This can save you time by reducing the number of inquiries your staff receives while increasing conversions by providing instant answers.
Your FAQ section should be concise, transparent, and simple to navigate so that visitors can find the information they need. By compiling all of this information together, users can find answers quickly, instead of having to wait for a response. An FAQ section not only makes your visitors’ web experience smoother; it also lowers your team’s workload and is an easy way to build up your SEO.
8. Social Proof
84% of buyers place value in online reviews during their decision-making process. This is why social proof is more important now than ever before. And though it’s not exactly considered “word-of-mouth”, online reviews and mentions tend to have a similar effect with a much broader reach.
Customers today trust online social reviews as legitimate trust signals. Your hotel’s form of social proof could be a press clipping, a travel site review, or a social media shoutout. Regardless, the comments of people who have already experienced your hotel are one of the strongest marketing tools you can have offline as well as online.
Showcasing your hotel’s offerings using a crisp and clear website template immediately tells visitors that you take their opinions seriously. Your website is your most powerful online tool so it’s important to make sure that it is as effective as possible. Usability, seamless readability, straightforward navigation, and consistent user engagement provide a seamless user experience that has been proven to convert. Focus on combining your brand’s content with the necessary functionalities mentioned above. Through this, you will position your hotel’s website as modern and sophisticated, streamline your marketing operations and boost your opportunities for online bookings.
If you approach your website strategy like you do your front desk, you’ll know exactly what features to include and what content visitors are looking for. The experience guests have when checking in to your hotel should be similar to the one online visitors have when landing on your website. It only takes about 50 milliseconds for users to form their first impression of your website, so make it count. A great hotel website makes a powerful first impression that builds trust with your audience, sets you apart from the competition, boosts your SEO rankings, and converts first-time visitors to loyal guests.