Everyone wants a beautiful website that not only looks great but also functions properly and performs excellently. Over the years, there have been many articles and web development trends which have conveyed some pretty strong opinions about what is right and wrong when it comes to page layout, including for hotel web design. There are currently two very popular ideas floating out there that come from an outdated way of navigating the web, especially with the growing trend of viewing sites on mobile, and not the traditional desktop. We’re going to bust them in this article and explain why these rules may be outdated for hotels.
The “First Fold” Fairytale
The old thought that everything important has to fall within the first fold of a website is just that…old. The “fold” of a website is everything that’s visible before scrolling, which can definitely limit the user when browsing on a phone or a tablet. With the increase in mobile devices and websites like Facebook and Pinterest, most users not only don’t mind scrolling to get information they are looking for, they want to scroll! Long scrolling is a web design trend that has become popular across many industries, including the hospitality industry. The idea is that more information can be placed on a page when it is broken up visually, rather than having more subpages and intricate navigation. Scrolling is actually faster and more habitual than clicking into multiple subpages. As an additional benefit, more information is displayed in fewer clicks.
As with anything good, there is always a risk of going too far. The amount of scroll-worthy information can be overdone and confuse the user with too much information. Too much varied content on a single page can also hinder SEO efforts! The key is moderation. Like always, you should put a BOOK NOW feature and your prime offer in the first fold. Just keep in mind there is no need to fear if your design does not have everything you want to showcase at first glance, keep it visually appealing and the user will be drawn to find out more.
Now, don’t get me wrong, content is still the primary mode of Search Engine Optimization and users want to be enticed with effective storytelling and information.
But do you want to know what really sells the user?
Imagery! That’s right – you can have a beautifully designed and well-written website, but if your images are lacking, all of that effort has gone to waste! Images of your property should be one of the first thoughts and line items in your marketing plan and budget. Stock imagery can add a lot to the site but it can’t replace property imagery. You should spend the time and money to have high quality images that are lit well and truly show what your hotel has to offer.
Not only do you want to select a highly skilled photographer to represent your hotel, you’ll want to set up your rooms and photo shots accordingly. Take the time to iron the sheets and bed skirts. Turn off the TV and make sure everything is clean and in its place. For meeting and banquet shots you can set them up several different ways from formal to casual to give user a true sense of how the space can be used. Make sure pools and fitness rooms are sparkling clean. We all know that gyms get sweaty but we don’t want to see it when we are selecting a hotel! Showing your hotel’s best side will do wonders for your hotel’s impression!
We hope this information helps debunk some older web design trends and gives you a fresh perspective on web design for the upcoming year. Now you know that there is no reason to overcrowd the top fold! Let some key points and features entice the user to stay on the page. Don’t forget to put some real thought and effort into the imagery. Web design and SEO is no longer a one trick pony or simple keyword, they’ve become an intricate partnership with many players. Pay attention to each piece to have a wonderfully performing site!
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