In order to improve on your hotel’s website, it’s helpful to be aware of the trends sweeping the web so you can ensure you’re giving yourself the best chance possible of increasing your direct bookings.
NB: This is an article from Net Affinity
The pandemic has changed our behaviour as customers. We wrote recently about the ‘new guest persona’ you should be creating based on the ways in which travelers will change their habits when restrictions ease and they can move around again.
With this in mind, here are some trends and tips we hope help and inspire you in the lead up to summer & summer bookings.
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What are some of the latest hotel website trends?
Immersive video was around long before the pandemic, but it’s absolutely something that more importance has been placed on since so much of the world went into lockdown for months, with no other way of deciding on the look of somewhere other than what they could find online. People won’t stop delving into researching where they want to stay, and the more you can give them to show off your property, the better. That’s why considering the likes of virtual tours around your property is a good idea. You can also consider doing a virtual wedding venue tour, too. Use everything at your disposal to give bookers the extra push.
Grids are a clean, stylish way of presenting your content and they allow for a lot of flexibility and content options. They don’t have to be totally uniform, the idea is to give the content a clean space to live in – clutter free.
The last year has been a tough one on the eyes of all of us who have been staring at a screen for most of our waking hours, only leaving for the odd walk and maybe a coffee break. That means a huge chunk of your guests are experiencing eye strain after too much screen time, so it’s understandable that web designers globally are using muted colour palettes and schemes that make the experience more comfortable for users. While considering your hotel website’s colour scheme, keep in mind soft colour palettes like warmer greens, pastel blues, soft browns and greys or light pinks. The idea is they will help to induce a sense of calm in your website users.
Staying optimistic is the only way forward! Let your tone and imagery reflect a sense of ongoing optimism and an excitable playfulness for summer and beyond. We’ve all been through the mill. Never has there been a more palpable time to level with your guests and foster a sense of togetherness, which you can begin to do through your website content.
Is your website prepped for success?
Your need a website that will:
- Drive traffic away from OTAs and towards direct bookings
- Present engaging and unique content that positions your hotel as the best option for bookers
- Promote your rooms and your best selling points (think about what people are looking for post-pandemic)
- Integrate with the right booking engine to make booking direct a breeze
- Provide a user-friendly experience that feels hassle free for bookers
Where do you start?
Simplicity and ease
Think about first impressions. Your homepage should be clean, clear and incredibly easy to navigate. It should also load quickly, and be fully optimised for mobile.
Users will make a judgement in a matter of seconds, and you want to give them what they need without them even thinking about it.
If we take Salthill Hotel for example – they are immediately catering for essential travelers and summer staycation bookers with one glance. Everything is very clearly laid out.
Your call to action is key
How will your guests know what action you want them to take next if you don’t tell them? Clear CTAs are a crucial element of your website pages.
Text or buttons that encourage people to “book now” or “explore further” will keep visitors on your site and guide them every step of the way through the booking process. Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort have CTAs for guests looking to ‘stay’, ‘spa’ and ‘dine’. All clear CTAs that strike you immediately when you land on their site.
It is important to ensure you scatter well thought-out and compelling CTAs throughout the booking process so that your bookers have no question about where you want them to go next.
Streamline the booking process
If your guests come up against any kind of blockage in the booking process – whether it’s a confusing form or a payment method they’re not used to – you’ve lost them.
This might mean you need to consider things like offering a variety of different payment methods and giving an overview of what exactly your guests are booking before they hit the “book now” button.
Add upsells, discounts, and packages
We wrote recently about how enhancements can help to increase your average booking value, especially now. Think along the lines of:
- Kids packs with things like jellies, colouring books, crayons or markers, exploration maps for local zoos or parks, a mini toy
- Mammy and daddy packs swapping the colouring books and jellies for a bottle of wine, beer, crisps
- Takeaway picnic for families to enjoy on your grounds
- Wellness or relaxation pack upon arrival including face masks, aromatherapy oils for the bath, maybe yoga mats for the room and links to exclusive workouts by your gym’s expert instructors