A direct approach to web design and user experience for hotels

Do you treat your online visitors as well as you treat those that arrive in your lobby?

Unfortunately, all too often we find the answer is no. It’s not uncommon for web browsers to encounter a decade-old, fuzzy photograph of a pool, or a navigation that leaves them with more questions than answers.

It’s a pressing issue for hoteliers; as more and more travel bookings shift online, your website, not your lobby, is increasingly the first opportunity to make a lasting impression.

So what’s the secret to nailing online guest experience? A major part of it is ensuring your website follows the principles of user experience design.

The field, often referred to as UX, incorporates a string of different disciplines including usability, information architecture and visual design. Getting it right increases your chances of having satisfied and loyal customers.

With the help of specially-selected experts, we have created a special report — Spotlight on… Online Guest Experience  — that explains exactly what this means for hotel websites.

The golden rules include starting with compelling content that expresses what your hotel stands for, investing in high quality visuals, making sure your site works equally well on all devices and testing everything.

On the latter, Tom Woodel, a user experience designer and instructor for General Assembly, said:

“Trying to pretend you’re the user doesn’t work. Anything you can do to get actual users testing your site is the best thing you could possibly do.”

The experts also highlight an often forgotten aspect of web design — accessibility. It’s essential that your website works for all potential users, but often some features, for example fast-changing or animated images, can cause problems for people with certain limitations. Online resources can put you on the right track and are also featured in the report.

Spotlight on… Online Guest Experience also contains a 10-step guide for any hotel considering a digital revamp, including advice on how to build a hotel website from scratch from someone with first-hand experience of the process. It covers everything from costing to prototyping via staging sites.

You can also discover what lessons can be learned from the world’s leading hotel groups. The likes of Best Western, Hyatt and Choice were praised for their intuitive and well-presented sites, but who came out on top?

Click here to download the free report.

Spotlight on… the webinar

We’ll be discussing why we believe that hospitality begins online and what we’ve learned about highly converting websites in a webinar on November 1. You can sign up to the event here.

But you don’t have to wait until November for more industry insight. We’re hosting the Direct Booking Summit in Barcelona next week and there’s still time to get tickets. We’ve got a packed agenda that you won’t want to miss out on. Find out more here.