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Stop Making Your Guests Work to Book a Room. Design for Their Needs.

Stop Making Your Guests Work to Book a Room. Design for Their Needs.

Tom O'Rourke
Tom O'Rourke March 10, 2023
Stop Making Your Guests Work to Book a Room. Design for Their Needs.

Every purchase relies on giving customers the information they need when they need it. Then why are the vast majority of hotel websites designed in a way that makes people have to work at making a reservation?

The crucial information a potential guest needs is only available once they hunt and click their way to your booking engine. That’s backwards. And it doesn’t have to be that way. Guest Experience (GX) design specifically gives customers what they need to make a purchasing decision the moment they land on your website.

The first thing your site design needs to do is grab the guest’s attention with the info they need immediately and keep them from leaving for your competitor’s website. Let’s examine how this advanced approach does just that, and maximizes your profits.

How Better Hotel Website Design Makes it Easier to Attract Customer Attention

Imagine you’re shopping for a new vehicle at two competing dealers across the street from each other.

At the first one, you find row after row of cars, each with the prices clearly displayed on the windshield. Every car has a sticker listing all of the features and financing options. At a glance you can determine which vehicle suits your needs and your budget.

Across the street, another dealer has some of the same cars out front but there are no prices or features lists at all. You step inside and find a salesperson. “What make and model? What color are you looking for? What trim level? And your budget? Oh, sorry. That’s not in stock.”

Which are you more likely to buy your next car from?

In hospitality, the GX design approach is like the first car dealer. You get the information you need on the spot to drive your new car off the lot.

Give Customers the Information They Need to Make a Decision

With GX design’s emphasis on elevating the most important elements a potential guest needs, your hotel can dramatically increase revenue and decrease abandonment. Let’s begin with a visual example showing design that doesn’t give the customer the crucial information they need to make a decision.


So what is different about GX design and what makes it so effective?

First, a prospect should see you satisfied their search criteria the instant they land at your website. Prominent keywords should align with whatever they’re looking for: mountainside resort in Lake Tahoe, for example.

Second, they should quickly find scannable room cards with all the pertinent information: photos, descriptions, floorplans, amenities, accessibility, price and availability.

By putting that information front and center, the website is doing the prospect qualification work before a visitor clicks over to the booking engine.

It’s about ushering a prospect along a clear path, providing information at each step until they are ready to complete their transaction. When GX is done properly, the only need for a booking engine is when a customer is ready to enter their contact and credit card information.

Effective Hotel Websites Make the Customer Journey Seamless

Most hotels weren’t set up to handle direct bookings correctly in the first place. GX design methodology corrects that problem.

To fully capture a potential guest’s attention and move them to action, your site needs to answer these fundamental questions as quickly as possible. Here’s what it looks like with a fully functional design:

  1. Am I in the right place? Your keywords are clearly aligned. They accurately reflect your hotel’s unique positioning and offerings and capture the most common search terms prospective guests use to find you.
  2. Do they have the kind of room I want? Scannable room cards allow visitors to zero in on the room they’re interested in with the full range of information available: room description, photos/videos, square footage, floorplans, amenities, etc. 
  3. Is the room within my budget? Room cards can be filtered by price with an integrated rate checker. 
  4. Is the room available when I want it? Allows visitors to check room availability in real time.

That’s it. The next step is to click “make reservation” and enter the booking engine to complete their transaction with contact and credit card information. Done.

Capturing Attention Means Capturing More Profit

It’s no secret that the more direct bookings you get through your website, the more profit your property generates. Direct booking means you aren’t giving up commissions to a third-party.

And given that 80 percent of existing hotel website visitors leave without ever booking a room, you can see the massive upside in capturing even a portion of that group.

GX design methodology and its focus on grabbing the guest’s attention with the right content are essential to unlocking that profit potential. It’s an approach you can’t afford to ignore.

If you’d like to hear more about how O’Rourke is revolutionizing hotel website design and creating new revenue streams for clients, let’s talk.