User experience (UX) is fundamental to a website’s design, particularly within the hospitality industry. Hospitality is all about providing the ultimate customer experience from the moment a person begins their interaction with a hotel, and in our digital era this interaction usually begins with a hotel’s website.
A hotel’s website must reflect exactly what it is like to stay at that hotel. If a website offers an amazing user experience, they should expect this same amazing experience when it comes to their stay at the hotel.
Today’s travellers typically turn to search engines first then a hotel’s website when planning their trip online. As such, when a user visits your hotel website they will probably want to:
• Perform a price comparison with your website versus online travel agencies
• Learn more about your hotel through photos and videos and learn about extra services
• Discover whether there are any special offers or packages for specific dates
• Get in touch with the hotel directly to discuss their specific needs
Your website needs to be designed in such a way that it effortlessly caters to these needs. Here are 5 things that you definitely need to do to enrich your hotel website’s user experience design:
1. Optimise booking flow to increase conversions
There is no exact formula for a successful hotel website, but one factor that has been proven to make a difference is the visibility of a booking window.
Having a clearly visible booking window that is accessible on every page increases customer conversions. Make sure your booking window is extremely easy to see and use, and includes features such as the ability to compare rooms and rates. There should also be a heavy focus on the visual, so for instance when highlighting the differences between two different rooms, include images of each room so that visitors can see these differences.
Also, when visitors are inputting their payment details, design the layout with as few questions as possible. Any questions that are not vital must be removed from the form. For instance, ‘credit card type’ is actually superfluous as the first digits of a credit card tell you the exact type of card in use.
Making the entire process quicker, smoother and easier for the user will increase their chances of completing the transaction, rather than abandoning it out of frustration.
2. Prioritise mobile
Traditionally, people turned to PCs or laptops to make a booking, but today most people are browsing – and booking, from a mobile device. If your website is not optimised for mobile, this will reflect negatively on your brand and will turn people away. Focus your design around mobile screens, ensuring your entire website is easy to use. Provided you use a responsive web design, your website will look amazing and function well on any device.
3. Focus on the visual
When people are searching for a hotel, they tend to scour the internet for the best-quality photos and videos before making a decision. Your hotel website therefore needs to be bursting with beautiful, enticing images that compel audiences to make that reservation. People need to be impressed the second they enter your website, which means captivating images of the entire resort including every facility and service available at your hotel.
4. Enhance the customer experience
From the moment visitors enter your website, they need to be wholeheartedly impressed with what they see. In addition to the above points, this also means offering excellent, personalised customer service including a number of contact options to satisfy every customer preference (including telephone number, email, live chat and instant messaging). Go out of your way to ensure the user notices the benefits of booking directly rather than going through a third party provider.
5. Think socially
Finally, it’s essential to have active social media profiles, a strong social media following and positive reviews from well-known, credible sources, such as Tripadvisor. Featuring reviews on your website is a highly persuasive and convincing way to get people to book, as people tend to turn to reviews first before making a decision. Reviews are therefore incredibly influential and carry a lot of importance for the success of your business.
Looking for digital transformation services?
8 Ways Media is a leader in hotel digital transformation offering 360 degree services designed to build, launch and grow your business and your brand. See here to learn more about our compelling user experience design services or get in touch today to discover how we can help you with every aspect of your hotel website’s UX design.
Hotel brands 8 Ways Media has collaborated with
The La Reserve Brand
La Reserve Hotel and Spa Paris
La Reserve Geneva
Chateau Les Crostes