Building a Hotel Website
If you run a hotel, then you know that the website is one of the most important elements. Indeed, it is often the first touchpoint that visitors have with your establishment. When guests take the time to click on your website – you want to offer the kind of website that motivates them to book. Your website needs to be attractive, easy-to-navigate, and informative. These are the top 12 things a hotel website should have:
- An eye-catching design
- Clear navigation
- Beautiful photos and videos
- Location information, including maps
- Ideas for itineraries
- Amenities info
- Dining options
- Wedding and corporate focused processes
- Logistics FAQ’s: parking, transportation, etc.
- Policies: cancellation, pet
- Seasonal packages and deals
- Easy to use booking software
1. Eye Catching Design
As the first impression visitors have of your establishment, the design of your hotel website is critical. You want to align with current website trends, while showcasing the innovative details of your brand. Potential guests want to feel welcomed and comfortable when they visit your site, so make sure that you have a clean, modern design.
Websites continue to evolve by focusing on the user experience. Central to eye catching design are the visuals that allow visitors to picture what their experience would be like at your establishment. The images throughout your website should be professional, without a stock image feel. Ambient lighting within your website’s photos will elevate the design of your copy. Keep your website’s background clean and make sure the text is easy to read. Our Calgary website designers prefer light colours to aid a minimalist look that provides low-saturation for easy viewing.
Guests are sensitive to outdated designs. You need to stay on top of your competition’s digital assets as well. Many visitors will only spend three seconds at your site before moving on to another if they see poor quality images, blocky text and dated styles.
2. Clear Navigation
Navigation is the backbone of your website. Often, visitors are looking for specific features – and are wanting to find each quickly. Website navigation does not just separate your establishment’s offerings, but organizes your offerings in the most efficient way for your visitors. Ensuring that your navigation is intuitive and easy to use is a top priority for your website to function as an asset. It needs to be visually pleasing – but it also needs to be functional.
Make sure your website includes a top-level navigation (a site map) and a secondary navigation (links or buttons). Don’t make people search through multiple pages to find their way back to the main page. Your pages should be clearly labelled. If it makes sense, provide anchor links within your copy to another page users may be looking for. By ensuring your navigation is easily accessible, you will create a user-friendly experience for your visitors, which will lead to increased conversion rates.
3. Beautiful Photos and Videos
Although briefly stated previously, photos are so essential to the success of a hotel website they need their own section. A first-rate website should have beautiful photos and videos of your hotel. Don’t be shy in showing guests your amenities, your different styled rooms, your outdoor views and your restaurants or dining options. Spend the time curating photoshoots that portray the energy of your atmosphere.
Use real models when applicable. Visitors will picture their experience in the kinds of photos you take. If the photos are bland and don’t provide much to the imagination, visitors may feel that the hotel experience lacks. Ensure that your photos provide storytelling opportunities.
Videos provide depth to your storytelling – allowing you to show multiple angles and paint an immersive picture in your guest’s minds. As you know, guests often book hotels without ever physically visiting them. Your website’s photos and videos are where your website takes center stage.
4. Location Information, Including Maps
Maps are a must-have for any website. Maps provide your guests with directions to your establishment. Within your website, you need to remember that you are offering a one-stop platform for all of your customer’s informational needs. Oftentimes, guests are looking at the kinds of attractions that are close to your hotel. Don’t give them a reason to leave your website before booking. Providing a map with attractions close to you ensures just that.
It is important that you have accurate maps of your location on your site. If you are not sure, check Google Maps or MapQuest to see what is available for your region. Provide the kinds of service you offer your guests online as you do in person – by making it easy for them!
5. Ideas for Itineraries
Most of the time when people decide to travel, it is because they are inspired! Use your website’s aesthetics and information as the vehicle for this inspiration. Before guests choose a destination, they go through the process of shopping around locations to pick the one that offers the kinds of travel experience they are looking for. Be that travel spokesperson through your website.
The best part about having a website for your hotel is that you can include itineraries that give potential travellers an idea of what they can do in the area. Even better, you can continue adding to it to merge your hotel with the specific experiences guests are looking for during certain times of the year. Providing this insight adds trust and credibility to your brand, giving customers that feel-good impression when deciding where to stay. Instead of having to search around the internet for places to visit, all the information is right there on your website.
These are 10 easy travel itineraries:
- A scenic drive through the mountains
- 3 days of winter fun
- Hiking at a nearby national park
- Skiing at a nearby resort
- A museum visit
- A performing arts event
- Top local restaurants to try
- Top outdoor adventures (provided through outfitters)
- How to celebrate a holiday within your area
- A weekend getaway
Make sure these itineraries are detailed and provide enough information for guests to plan their own adventures. Creating these itineraries also aids SEO efforts through link building opportunities.
6. Amenities Info
Amenities provide the majority of the experiences your hotel is trying to sell to guests. While beds are fantastic – and necessary – if you have a hot tub, pool and indoor water slide that your competitor doesn’t, your guests should know about it! If you follow the advice of our Calgary web designers and invest in high-quality photography that shows the variety of amenities your hotel offers, then you need to ensure your website offers descriptions about your beautiful photos.
The information should be easy to find and include different options depending on the hotel’s focus. For example, luxury hotels might want to advertise extravagances like room service, while budget hotels might want to emphasize things like parking or free Wi-Fi. After all, you want to communicate what’s great about your hotel.Make sure all amenities are available on your site for guests to see, explore, and compare against other hotels in the area.
7. Dining Options
Many guests choose hotels based on where they want to eat. Not only are they comparing the amenities offered by your hotel, but the dining options offered. Hotel restaurants can be divided into four categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and room service.
Design your website’s restaurant component as you would for a restaurant’s website. Include pictures of the restaurant and its seating areas, provide menus, hours of operation and information about specials. Include the type of cuisine served, its thematic styles, whether or not you have a full bar, if there is a dress code for dining in-person, and whether children are allowed for in-person dining (or if certain areas are not within access).
8. Wedding and Corporate Focused Processes
Travel can be broken up into three different experiences: family/single-based travel, wedding and corporate. Wedding and corporate travel often includes large groups who need more information than the regular visitor when combing through a website. Your hotel’s website should have a page dedicated to weddings and another dedicated to corporate events.
Your wedding and corporate website pages should begin by listing the experiences your hotel offers. Packages should include price, a range for the number of guests, catering and venue options. As well, these pages should include separate forms for visitors to fill out for questions or to customize their own event’s features. You want your guests to feel comfortable trusting your hotel to take care of their group’s needs. Including wedding and corporate focused processes in your layout proves the commitment your establishment has to your guest’s experience.
9. Logistics FAQ’s
Designing your hotel’s website is all about thinking from the perspective of a guest. When you’re planning to leave your house, you often curate a detailed plan of what you need. When considering a hotel for your stay, there are a few logistics issues that need to be addressed, such as:
- Where can I park?
- What’s the difference between self-parking and valet parking?
- What would be the cheapest option?
- How much does parking cost per day?
- Which is more convenient, onsite or offsite parking?
- Do you offer transportation to and from the airport?
- Do you offer transportation to and from the bus station?
- Can you help arrange tours of the city or trips to nearby attractions like horseback riding or ziplining?
Creating a proper website starts with building a responsive design and finishes when customer trust is acquired. Hotel websites, when done right, inadvertently build client loyalty by providing the right kind of information guests look for. Not having to stress about logistics creates an even easier experience for them – and that is what travel is all about!
10. Clarification on Policies (Cancellation, Pet)
Even if you offer information upon request for cancellation policies – guests like having these details at their fingertips when they’re making their travel plans. Policies may be part of the nitty gritty – but they are no less important when guests make their booking decisions. By including policies, you’re able to set expectations for your visitors and ensure their satisfaction.
Hotel policies may include:
- Cancellation policy
- Pet policy
- Parking policy
Despite being fine print, policies should not be hard to find on your website. Include policies as part of your website’s navigation menu.
11. Seasonal Packages and Deals
A hotel website should offer seasonal packages and deals. The design and layout cannot be the only thing your website offers to attract leads. A high quality website is meant to lead potential guests to the real treasure – the seasonal packages and deals! You want to ensure that your website includes notifications or banners about your seasonal packages and deals.
If your establishment is large enough, you may even need to add a subpage to your website’s navigation menu. Include information about your seasonal packages and deals where useful, such as within your rooms and services page. If you offer attractive seasonal packages, it will be easier for visitors to make a decision on whether they want to stay at your establishment.
12. Easy to Use Booking Software
With eye-catching design, easy user navigation and a lack of questions that typically bar visitors from making travel decisions, your website has succeeded in routing guests to your booking menu! Ensure your efforts don’t go to waste – and that you provide a booking system that is seamless and speedy. Your booking software needs to sync excellenting with your hotel property’s management system. If your hotel doesn’t have a web developer – hiring a third party to ensure this integration goes smoothly is important to avoid the potential risk of tarnishing your customer service image should systems not link properly.
Make your booking system easy to digest, with bold colours for buttons that call to action. Include information about seasonal promotions when users book a room and relevant places to enter discounts when applicable. Before your website is launched, double-check that all of these 18 points apply to your web design.
Hotel Website Designers
You know your establishment the best – and web design agencies know how to convert your information into digital assets! With the leads that a website generates for hotels, it can be the lifeline of many establishments. Websites aren’t an online platform to be posted on and forgotten – but an asset to leverage to meet and exceed goals. Hiring a Calgary website designer ensures your website checks off everything needed to turn leads into conversions.