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Your Future Guests are Judging Your Hotel by Its Website Design, First

Your Future Guests are Judging Your Hotel by Its Website Design, First

Brian Fitzgerald
Brian Fitzgerald June 13, 2022
Your Future Guests are Judging Your Hotel by Its Website Design, First

Whether it’s the landscaping or the lighting, the fountain or the flowers, the marble or the music, first impressions in hospitality are essential.

Your property’s website is no different. If a website guest arrives to discover a dated design, clunky navigation or confusing tools, they’ll quickly click away. They’re going to check out of your site before they’ve even seen the pool.

When hospitality revenue depends on getting “heads in beds,” your hotel website should be doing everything possible to get more heads choosing your beds over the competition’s. You may think the war for bookings begins and ends with customer service, but in today’s digital-first world, it actually starts with your website’s user experience.  

Your task? Give visitors a clear path from your homepage to booking on your site as quickly as possible with streamlined design and a clear, simple user experience.

Good Hotel Sites Have Clear Positioning and Value Propositions

Your website doesn’t need to answer every question a potential guest might have about your hotel right off the bat. But a new site visitor should be able to quickly assess whether they’re a good fit for your property. 

If they’re traveling as a couple, is your property the right place for romance? If it’s a family, do you have guest rooms and amenities that cater to kids? For the business traveler, can they continue working seamlessly away from the office or get to the convention center quickly?

Any page a visitor lands on should immediately telegraph your unique value proposition with imagery and content clearly conveying that message. 

If Your Site Isn’t Keeping Up With the Times, You’ll Be Left Behind

Design trends and consumer habits are constantly evolving. Staying competitive in the hospitality industry means having a website that keeps pace with those changes. 

You should be continuously evaluating whether your website is delivering on its fullest potential. Even if you launched a site recently, it’s not enough to think, “Well, it’s only X years old.” Unless you launched last month, technology and customer needs have already changed since your last refresh.

To know whether your site is getting you results, you can’t go with your gut. It’s not enough to assume it’s effective just because you think it looks good or seems to work well. You need recent, valid and actionable data at your fingertips. 

You need to be able to answer questions like:

  • Who’s coming to your website, and how are they getting there? 
  • Are their page visits converting into room bookings? 
  • Are they booking directly through your site or via a third-party service? 
  • How long are they spending on your site and on which specific pages?
  • How is your site performing against other owners/operators in your space?

O’Rourke’s approach to website design relies on a strong foundation of objective analytics to answer all those questions and more. The result is a site built to boost metrics across the board and maximize your investment.  

Underperforming Hotel Websites Leave Money on the Table

Costs are escalating everywhere — and for hotel operators, distribution costs are paramount.

You already know your guests have myriad ways to book their stay. They can pick up the phone and talk to your front desk. They can use a travel search engine. They can book through an agency. Each of those options has an additional cost (labor) or fee (commissions) that cut into your profit margin. 

But bookings made through your website are the lowest-cost channel with the highest return. You’re not paying someone to answer the phone or coughing up a percentage to a third party. 

Simply put, the more bookings you attract and secure through your website, the more profit you keep for yourself. The right hotel website design increases that likelihood.

In Hotel Website Design, Buyer Beware

You’ve invested significant effort, energy and money in your hotel. Cutting corners on your website puts that investment at risk.

“You get what you pay for” is as true in hotel website design as it is with any other product or service. 

Lower-cost designers keep their prices down with off-the-shelf products and templates as well as limited customization and functionality. Others use proprietary technology that stays with them, leaving you with only the basic coding if you ever want to move your site.

Every O’Rourke client gets a fully custom site built to meet their needs, attract and engage customers and provide detailed metrics on bookings, room nights and revenue (with baseline at the outset to measure progress). And you own what we build together — it stays with you wherever you go

Done properly, your hotel’s website can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue over its lifetime. While it costs more to get it right, the added investment means better design and functionality — and a better ROI on your site over the course of its lifetime.

A Proven Hotel Website Design Process for Delivering Results 

We’ve developed a step-by-step method for developing and optimizing hotel websites that give customers what they expect and deserve. 

As we go through the process, we will: 

  • Develop a creative brief, summarizing the overall direction and goals for your project. 
  • Outline a site map capturing each section, including navigation, contact forms and booking tools.
  • Create your search engine optimization (SEO) keyword strategy
  • Establish the messaging and craft the copy 
  • Build out wireframes and design mock-ups. 

Once we have agreement on the above, we’re ready to build your site. At that point, you’ve already signed off on everything, so there are no surprises when you see the finished product. 

Give Guests a Site That Makes Them Visit in Real Life

Your hotel’s website is your digital lobby. It should invite guests to come inside and take a look around. Stay for a while. And decide they don’t want to leave until they book a room. 

We’re here to help you design and build a hotel website that delivers the kind of exceptional service your guests have come to expect when they set foot on your property. With the right website on your side, you can reduce costs, elevate your sales experience, and get more of those heads in your beds, too. Get in touch with us to get started.