COVID-19 has changed so much about the way people purchase, move around, socialise, and most importantly, the way people travel. Everyone in the tourism and hospitality industry has been forced to digitise and the competition is even tougher now than before.
The strategic design of a website has always had the power to create or change someone’s opinion of a product or company in a matter of seconds. It can ultimately be a marketer’s best friend or worst enemy. A good design can contribute to better SEO, higher conversions, and a better overall guest experience.
To make sure that you’re ready for website visitors, we’ve put together some guidelines to make your website shine.
1. Less is more for your website
As a general rule, you’ll want to make your website design as simple as possible. That means:
- A menu with a maximum of 5 to 7 options
- Shorter sentences and paragraphs
- A clean layout
Research proves that visitors take a longer time to make decisions when faced with complex choices. If within a few seconds, a visitor has a difficult time figuring out how to use your website and where they can book, they will leave and probably not return.
Bite-sized information paired with striking, large-format imagery can leave a lasting impression and will make it easier to convert a potential guest. This is why it’s important to be mindful in selecting the right images to display and to choose colours intentionally. Visitors will appreciate the thought and effort you put into curating their experience.
2. Earn your visitors trust
Credibility is also important in creating trust and converting visitors. Visitors won't share their information or book on your website if they are not sure that it is secure or trustworthy. Here are some quick and easy ways to create trust with visitors through design:
- Displaying security badges
- Make your contact information easy to find
- Share customer testimonials on your website.
- Show your social channels
- Display your star ratings from trusted review sites
According to Tripadvisor, “77% of travellers always reference reviews before booking travel accommodation”. A past guest’s honest and positive opinion of your hotel will always be a stronger tool than most of your other marketing efforts.
3. Take visitors on a journey
Choice fatigue is a very real thing—especially during these times where we are all isolated and connected to the rest of the world through our screens.
On any website, visitors want to be told explicitly where they should go and how they can find what they're looking for. When that’s not apparent to them, they will leave. This is why it’s important to keep everything simple and clear in your website design. The easiest way to boost conversion and get more bookings faster is to limit choice and create a clear pathway that directs visitors to your booking page.
Try to make the visitor experience as intuitive as possible. Structure your website in a recognisable format, like placing your logo in the top left and the menu in the top right. Remove unnecessary content that does not lead to a CTA (call to action). You can even add a search bar to help visitors find what they are looking for. This is easiest to implement with website builders. Templates are typically optimised for the best user experience and they also follow the common patterns that people are used to.
Useful tools like multi-language options and booking buttons should be at the forefront of your main screen and one of the first things a visitor sees. All other content that is useful but not necessarily directing a user to book should exist in the Footer. This can include contact information and social links as well as any other relevant information for visitors to your website.
The visitor journey should always end at the booking page, no matter where they are on the website. Make sure to minimize the number of steps required from when they arrive at the booking page to when they complete their reservation. Focusing on collecting “need-to-know” information during the booking process will create better conversions and pay off in the long run.
4. Prioritise the call to action
Making your CTA aggressively clear and obvious is the golden rule in website optimization. It should stand out from the rest of the screen so that your visitors know what action you want them to take. By skipping this very important step, your conversion rate will suffer and you will lose out on bookings.
Visitors should always have access to this button no matter where they are on your site. You can decide to fix it to a screen so that it stays within view while scrolling, or you can scatter it on different areas of your website so that it appears repeatedly; reminding your visitors of what their ultimate goal should be
Focusing on making your CTA stand out while being consistent in your branding will give you a good structure and guide you through your website design and development.
5. Consider “mobile-first”
People are doing most of their browsing on their mobile devices today more than ever. Over half of the population is choosing mobile over desktop and almost 90% of smartphone users will perform at least one online search per day.
The ever-changing phone and tablet updates and screen sizes make it a pain to update your website to adjust perfectly to every type of screen. And while being able to adapt your website’s design to different screen sizes can be daunting, it’s not impossible. Responsive design is a technique that is common in web design that allows your content to adapt to the different screen sizes of most devices. The good news is that our website building tool offers this. You can just set it and forget it.
6. Optimise page loading speed
Now that we’ve discussed how crucial it is to adjust for a mobile audience, it’s important to note that page loading speed should be treated just as seriously, if not more. There are a variety of ways you can adjust your website to speed up loading time and a number of resources to use.
Unfortunately, this is a step a lot of people skip because it can be time-consuming. Some might argue that it’s not necessary, but research from Google has proven otherwise. In fact, they found that pages that take more than 3 seconds to load had an increased bounce rate of 32% and pages that took more than 6 seconds to load had an increased bounce rate of 106%. That is a loss of potential revenue that could have easily been avoided. Don’t make this mistake.
7. Make things easy
Hotelchamp’s ready-made templates are a great solution, especially as they are created with hotels in mind. They are easy to use, customisable, and take most of the work off of your shoulders as a hotelier. Using a template and website builder allows you the freedom and time to focus on other aspects of the business that will make your hotel even more prepared to welcome guests!
How will you design your website for the new wave of travel?
To explore Hotelchamp’s website builder for free, click here to get started.