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Your hotel website gives potential travelers a chance to view the most important aspects of your property.  People are not going to visit your property before they stay to ensure it meets all of their needs.  Your property website needs to be able to attract leads and eventually help sell the deal that this is where a traveler should stay.

In order to attract potential guests to your website, you need to know what these individuals are looking for.  Noise, a New York City-based creative agency, was tasked with creating a list of the most important things all hotel websites must have.  Here is what they came up with.

Noise’s 10 Commandments for Building Hotel Websites

1) Simplicity of Navigation
Booking in the travel and hospitality industries can be a painful experience.  Making a site’s navigation feel as effortless as possible is one way to make people follow through with the booking on your own site.

2) Show Off Your Neighborhood
If you’re in a great part of the city, show it off.  Your neighborhood says a lot about your hotel, and the guests who want to stay there.  Let your images display the environment travelers will enjoy during their stay, a local dining hot spot, specialty shops, or whatever makes your neighborhood unique.

3) Show Your Guests’ ‘Grams
Hotel website photography has the tendency to feel barely a step above stock photography with soul-less white rooms and generic shots of famous landmarks.  Many of the most interesting images of hotels are on Instagram and are shot willingly by guests.  Noise makes an effort to incorporate Instagram photos into the design for new hotel websites.

4) Photos, Photos and More Photos
What’s going to captivate potential guests is those great big, high-res shots of your hotel, the neighborhood and the atmosphere.  You should always make a conscious effort to do each of the following:

  • Let the visuals drive
  • Trim down to only essential content copy
  • Let site visitors get lost in almost a picture book

All of this will help them to imagine the wild and interesting stay they are going to have with you.

5) Be Service-Oriented
Hotel guests notice the little things – how helpful the concierge was, the stories of the rappers and rock legends who passed through from the bartender, the quality of towels and sheets.  Just as those details are noticed by your guests, adding little nuances to your site will give that same feeling of quality and consideration.

6) Accessible From Any Device
If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times:  You must make sure your website is mobile optimized and responsive to a wide variety of screens.  This is mandatory for any website, but specifically in the travel industry where mobile bookings are certainly on the rise, and expected to grow in the future.  There is no excuse at this point to not have a table and mobile friendly product.

7) Have a Flexible CMS on the Back-End
The more flexible the content management system (CMS) is, the less headaches you will have in the future.  Less flexible CMS platforms will make event smallest tweaks a difficult and time-consuming process.  It is important for your head of content, or your public relations person to be able to go in and immediately change errors, new opening hours, or just copy.

8) Is a Polite Sell
You do not want to be overbearing with the idea that you are trying to sell a product to potential travelers.  Let the unique aspects of your property do the selling for you.  As Noise put it, “You want to make purchasing a room easy while not looking like one of those guys that holler at you in Times Square wearing a sign, and asking if you like comedy.”

9) It’s Ok to Scroll
While important information should be near the top of the site, not everything needs to be crammed at the top of the page.  Users are pretty used to having to scroll for information they are invested in, and allowing things to breathe can help the site feel more premium.

10) Speak to Your Guests, Not All Guests
Your guests are different from the guests staying at the property down the street, or even on the other side of town.  It’s important to stand out and not try to be everything for everyone, but know what makes the consumer who stays with you different.

To read more about Noise’s recent renovation of Thompson Hotels head to Hotel Chatter.

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