Essentially the starting point of every guest’s experience, your hotel website is one of the most important tools when it comes to selling your rooms.

NB: This is an article from The Hotels Network, one of our Expert Partners

When users arrive at your hotel website they are looking for a seamless, functional yet inspiring experience that allows them to find everything they are looking for quickly and easily. 

When designing your hotel website or crafting the marketing messages to display to visitors, be sure to keep these ideas in mind, as it sets the tone for the entire user journey. During these unique times, this is even more critical as your website serves as a virtual “front desk”. The design of marketing messages on your website should be in line with your brand identity as should the tone of voice used in all communications. 

Based on our experience working with thousands of hotels worldwide, we have compiled a practical guide with tips and tricks to developing a flawless first impression for your guests. Here, we give you a preview of some of the points we explore in the guide. The guidelines have been applied successfully amongst a wide variety of hotel websites, across many hotel segments and can easily be adapted to suit any style of hotel. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Select the right colour scheme to match your brand identity

An example of a THN Layer

When users arrive at your hotel website, seeing a coherent and aesthetic site is almost expected. When adding marketing elements to your website it is key to ensure that every aspect is consistent and matches with your hotel’s brand identity. Remember, brands are often the most recognized based on their colour scheme. Choosing the wrong font, text colour or layout can significantly affect the readability and clarity of your page. It’s worth taking the necessary time to ensure that all colour elements on your website come together smoothly to enhance the user experience.

In the example above, the hotel is displaying a Layer to all visitors who arrive on their homepage promoting an exclusive offer for guests who book directly. The colours and design of the message fit in perfectly with the brand’s identity.

2. Add icons to make your message stand out

Choice of icons to include in THN Smart Notes

Although the messages on your website are the main way in which information will be conveyed to your users, adding icons can often be a great addition to your text. These little images are a good way to draw users attention and let them know at a glance what the message is about. Using simple icons like a sun, heart or palm tree can help your content jump off the page. 

Don’t know which icons to use? Luckily, when creating Smart Notes using the THN platform, you have the option of choosing between 80 different icons to enhance your messages.

3. Choose the right images

The Do’s and Don’ts of selecting images

While it is true that images speak louder than words, sometimes the cliches are not the best way to go. In today’s social media world, the standard for high quality images has skyrocketed. Users are looking for unique and real content that they can relate to. That is why choosing photos that speak to users is vital when attempting to engage with them. While it would be ideal to have your very own photoshoot for every new marketing campaign, it may not always be feasible. That is why THN offers an extensive Image Gallery within its personalization tool for you to choose from, making the image choice all the easier!

4. Don’t overload the guest experience

keep website messaging simple
An Inliner displaying a marketing message to look like native content

Visitors today expect hotel websites to provide them with all the information they need to make choices about their upcoming travels. However, overloading that experience with excessive text or images can make it confusing and difficult for users to navigate. Depending on your objectives with a campaign, integrating content smoothly and subtly into your website design can be an optimal way to deliver information to your guests. 

Here at THN we find our Inliners to be a great tool to achieve this. This formatting option enables you to seamlessly integrate your messages within your website. Appearing as native content, Inliners enable you to create subtle, beautifully integrated designs that don’t overload the user experience.

5. When in doubt, test it out!

a/b testing with website messagaing
A/B testing of two different coloured CTA’s

Knowing which changes to make to your website is often complicated. Having the choice between several colours, fonts, images and formats can be difficult for any hotelier to navigate. That’s why we always recommend A/B and multivariate testing to allow you to see tangible results of different options, allowing you to make the best decision for your brand. Within THN’s platform, you have the ability to not only run these tests but also see and compare the results in an easy to use manner.

Since the direct channel is the first point of contact with your customers, first impressions matter. We believe that carefully considering the design elements of your website can make all the difference for the user experience and for your direct booking growth success. 

Especially in today’s climate, your hotel website is often the main form of communication with your customers. That is why having an on-brand design for your website may be the key in connecting with your customers at a time where many uncertainties exist. Considering elements such as visual appeal, clarity, and functionality are all important in optimizing your website performance. Download our full guide today to discover a whole host of tips and ideas to launch your path to website design success!

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