As 2022 draws closer, hospitality marketers need to think about how they can improve the experience and conversion rate of their existing hotel website. A hotel website is not only the place where hoteliers can take maximum control of their hotel marketing efforts, but also where they can set themselves apart from what travelers see on Online Travel Agencies.
A hotel website design that is easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing and has clear call-to-action buttons is a good start for what hoteliers need to prioritize when updating their current hotel website. It’s also important to ensure that visitors will find what they’re looking for quickly and easily when landing on the home page. It’s well known that a top reason for not booking is arriving on a hotel website that doesn’t meet a traveler’s needs.
But while following hotel website best practices and keeping up with the latest website design trends is great, the point of a hotel website is to set a property apart from the competition. So there is a fine line for hospitality marketers to straddle when attempting to keep up with the times of changing hotel website design and standing out.
To help hoteliers in this quest, we’ve outlined four key trends for hotel websites in 2022.
1. Moving toward a minimalistic, modern look
Throughout the pandemic, from 2020 to where the world stands now, many people moved toward a simpler, low-key way of life. Website design has begun to follow a similar trend, and it’s expected that 2022 will be a big year for minimal design.
The idea of ‘minimalism’ can be taken to mean different things, but it isn’t meant to point toward a boring or simple website. Another way to think about minimalism when it comes to your hotel’s website design is to think about a ‘flat design’ or ‘mindful design.’ This trend has resulted in websites that utilize white space to allow content and imagery space to breathe. This results in a clean design with minimalistic, but attention-grabbing elements.
And white space doesn’t always have to be white. Another design term commonly used is ‘negative space,’ which is that breathing room that allows your website’s elements to stand out. A bold, colorful background can still take on a minimalist feeling. The use of white space will become more prominent as hoteliers begin consolidating the various sections of their hotel websites into a singular, sleekly designed aesthetic. This hotel website trend is especially useful for those who run small boutique hotels and has long been a staple for more luxurious hotels.
2. Prioritizing website page speed
Fittingly, the shift to minimalist design comes at a time when Google is prioritizing the speed of websites across the Internet. As hoteliers plan for a website redesign or even more modest enhancements, Google’s page experience update is becoming a major factor.
This doesn’t mean your hotel website can’t have grand pictures or smart animation, but developers are trending toward having less stuff. Additionally, most new websites now and moving forward are utilizing development features such as offscreen loading to ensure the website loads quickly for travelers. According to Google, 53% of website visitors will leave if the page takes more than three seconds to load. That’s a lot of hotel bookings left on the table!
It is incredibly important that hoteliers prioritize making their websites as speedy and efficient as possible. That means several things: using fast hosting services, optimizing hotel images for the web, and ensuring hotel websites are mobile responsive. What’s important for your hotel website’s home page, and what can be placed a click away.
3. Increased importance on responsive design
Responsive design has become a requirement. In fact, hotels looking at building a new website should now be thinking about desktop and mobile design as their own entities. It’s no longer enough to just expect your hotel’s desktop version to shrink down and work.
As each year passes, more people are using smartphones to accomplish nearly everything online. For hotels, that means everything from research to booking. When thinking about responsive design, hoteliers shouldn’t only focus on their primary website pages, but also the ones where user experience is especially critical — including the booking process, making a reservation for the hotel restaurant, and the online payment process.
Illustration via Thee Digital
The trend that is gaining steam into 2022 is one pegged ‘thumb-friendly’ design. This idea, combined with the importance of responsive design, places emphasis on designing a mobile website experience that is user-friendly across many screen sizes. According to one study, 49% of respondents use their smartphone with one hand. That’s why so many app developers have put key functions and prime information within the reach of a thumb.
With more than half of the traffic on the Internet (and growing) now coming from mobile devices, and with hotel bookings increasingly being done there too, this trend should be a top focus.
4. Telling a story and showcasing value in new ways
Standing out and showcasing a hotel’s unique personality has always been a focal point for hospitality marketers. But a combination of several website design trends has pushed hotel websites in the direction of telling a story rather than content overload.
One way to think about this is ‘creating a strong sense of place.’ People are increasingly looking for experiences, and that’s especially true when someone is on a hotel’s website. Hoteliers have the ability to create that sense of experience through immersive features such as virtual tours, but website design is now playing a bigger role too.
A few top trends contributing to telling a story include:
- Large photo headers or even video headers that have movement
- Bold typography, bigger standout text, and unique fonts
- Micro animations that capture attention and guide the experience
As hoteliers and hotel website designers think about the future of hotel websites in 2022, they need to consider these major trends. Hospitality marketers can’t do everything with their hotel’s website design at once, so prioritizing which areas to focus on will help guide decisions for a successful hotel website redesign or optimization project. These changes are happening now, so hoteliers need to prepare for them or risk falling behind.
Does your hotel need a new website in 2022? We explored the five ways to tell.