Due to the big technical innovation and web design newest developments, a lot has been changed in web design within the last few years. The biggest influence for websites is the invasion of mobile devices and also a change in screen resolution sizes.
When 3 years ago most websites were designed into 960 px grid then new websites are designed into 1150 and even for 1300 px grid with the option that it will adapt according to screen size. The biggest change for web designers and developers within those last few years have been making a website that is evenly visible on all devices – 1920 px widescreen as well as 320px wide mobile screens. No separate mobile sites or apps are needed. So when you start planning a new website for your hotel here are most important items/features the website should have:
Features your new hotel website should have:
1. Responsive design
When you receive a website quotation make sure website design you are offered is adaptive for mobile, tablets and desktop screen.
2. Search engine optimization
You will invest a lot of money on your new website, but it is all worthless if you don’t have any visitors on it. Well-optimized websites get 65-70 % of web visits from search engines. Half of them are landing on your page with branded search and the other half with non-branded search terms which are usually destination-related keywords and destination + hotel-related keywords. Therefore it is very important that your new hotel website is fully optimized for Search Engines. Note that SEO options on your new site should allow optimizing all websites content pages as well as images.
3. CMS – content management system
CMS enables you to make changes in your website. if you order just plain HTML website without any CMS integrated to it you need to ask the company who made the page to make changes on your page (Unless you are good in HTML coding) but additional service costs may apply here. As hotel website needs constant updating we recommend to get the website with CMS integration in order to make content changes by yourself. We also recommend using free software CMS fo your website (most commonly used CMS’es: Drupal, Joomla, WordPress) because in case you need to change your website provider there are always some other companies who can help you out. When you are bonded with one specific developer and it’s software you are very much depending on him/her.
Most important items on the website:
4. Description of your hotel
Of course, when you attract clients to your hotel you need to describe your hotel, what kind of hotel? targeted for whom? hotel facilities? what is nearby? what you can do in this hotel (incentive)? According to Google Search Engine Optimization guidelines content is king! So well-optimized hotel description page is one of the key factors for a good position in Search Engines listing as well as a good page to keep your visitor on-page, sell him the product and send one further to make a purchase. According to ED for hotels clients statistics, hotel website’s “Hotel” page is the 2. page what brings visitors mostly to the booking process.
5. Picture gallery of the hotel
There’s a byword that one picture says more than a thousand words. Make sure you have pictures of your hotel from many different angles. Often we see that there is only a facade picture or only 1 room type picture on the hotel website. Our suggestion is that you should have pictures of all your room-types, hotel facade and interior, breakfast facilities, spa and saunas (if you have ones) etc. Lack of pictures might sometimes lead clients to search for another hotel of what one can have a better overview.
6. Contact & location
Make sure you give a good overview of your business’s location. Phone numbers with country code map integrated to website. Often asked us why? When I’m in a foreign city and trying to find the hotel, I’ll go with my smartphone to its webpage, open the integrated google maps, and it will open my phone’s map application automatically, giving me correct directions to the destination. That’s why.
7. Price level
It is always good to give an overview of your hotel’s price level. Whether it is an offer with “price from” tag or a separate price list. Think about when you go to some online store and there instead of a price list is a form under each product “Contact us to get the price offer” – you would leave that page really fast because it didn’t give you needed information. Furthermore, when this client goes to Online Travel Agencies he gets prices from their websites and probably makes a reservation on their site as well.
8. Online booking option
Not all the people are eager to call you to make a reservation, especially when there is different time zones or different languages spoken in a hotel than in clients country of origin. Booking form does a thing, but for the client always remains an option that the hotel might be booked already for that period and he/she makes an alternative reservation to another hotel who might send a reply or conformation much faster than you do – again, you lost your client!
Above mentioned website parts are most important but don’t forget to add “social sharing function” to your website; also “Tripadvisor integration” keeps a visitor longer on your site instead of going to read reviews about you on Tripadvisor site right away; “Join newsletter” function gives the visitor an option to receive your special offers.
As people are buying more and more from the internet, instead of going to Travel Agencies you need to prioritize your website to be the first and most important selling point of your product. If you do not have buying possibility on your website, visitors leave it, by going to some Online Travel Agency portal to buy your product – commission fees apply. And there is always a risk that they find some other hotel from that portal and you have lost your client.