July 16, 2021 · Alyssa Fate

The Who, What, When, Why & How of Hotel Website Redesign

Have you recently asked yourself “Do I need to revamp my hotel website?” With so many components to website design and development, the thought of starting over can be exhausting. We’ve broken down the who, what, when, why and how of hotel website redesign.
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Who
What
When
Why
How

Who

YOUR BRAND, duh. Your hotel website is the face of your business on the world wide web. It’s the first thing prospective guests will see when they discover your brand online. It’s essential that you make a good impression.

What

Hotel Website Redesign. Again, duh.

When should I redesign my hotel website?

We recommend a new hotel website every two to three years. This ensures that you’re aligned with industry standards, on par with your competitors and taking advantage of new features and functionality. Waiting longer than three years could impact your bottom line.

Why should I redesign my hotel website?

1. Age

How old is your hotel website? Have you ever heard the phrase, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? That doesn’t apply here. The thought that if something is reasonably successful there is no need to change it is outdated. News flash – you’re probably leaving money on the table if you abide by this philosophy.

2. New Industry Standards

Are you following current hotel website best practices? Digital marketing is constantly evolving and so is the way consumers behave.
Google is committed to providing users the best result for any given query. This means that, if you want to rank well, you’ll need to play by their rules. Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm to ensure a good user experience. Sometimes these updates are minor, while other times your rankings may take a blow.
Most recently, Google rolled out their Page Experience Update, (along with two additional core summer updates). This major update comprises a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value.  The signals include Core Web Vitals (focused on the aspects of loading, interactivity, and visual stability), mobile friendliness, security and intrusive interstitials. Does your hotel website adhere to Google’s latest guidelines?
As if satisfying the behemoth that is Google isn’t enough, there is still competition to consider. What do your competitors’ websites look like? You can easily utilize the same tools to evaluate your comp set that you would on your own hotel website.
To name a few:

  • Google offers their own free mobile friendly testing tool to assess how visitors can use your site on mobile devices.
  • PageSpeed Insights, a free online tool, analyzes the content of a page and offers suggestions on how to render it more quickly.
  • Try SEMRush for free, or sign up for a paid account, to take advantage of their suite of hotel SEO tools.

3. Performance

Do you know what your hotel KPIs look like? Are you meeting or exceeding your goals?

Rankings

Site Speed

Do you remember when we mentioned those critical search engine algorithm updates? Site speed is more important than ever with the rollout of Google’s 2021 Page Experience update. Your hotel website ought to be lightning fast. (No, faster than lightning!) Not really. But, you should evaluate your scores and determine how you can improve. Sites that do not align with Google’s Core Web Vitals can experience negative impacts on rankings. Contact us today for a free technical website evaluation or learn more here.
lightening lighting up a dark sky on a cloudy night
Site speed can also adversely affect user experience.

Did you know? Pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in five seconds see their bounce rates skyrocket to 38%.
– WebsiteBuilderExpert

Content

We know that content is important, but just how important is it when considering your hotel website performance? High-quality, highly-optimized content is becoming crucial in order to gain, maintain and improve SERP rankings. Google rolled out not one, but TWO core updates this summer that focus on quality website content. Does your hotel website focus on providing substantial and valuable information to your visitors? Learn more about comprehensive results-driven content creation.

4. Lead Generation

You’ve done it. A visitor has reached your website and landed on a highly coveted request form. Do you think your hotel’s website has forged enough demand to secure a form completion? If yes, skip ahead. If no, ask yourself:

  • Can the form be improved?
  • Is the form usable on a mobile device?
  • Are you asking for too much information?
  • Is your CTA compelling?
  • Do you have a clear thank you message letting the user know when you plan to follow up?
  • Are you actually following up?

Go through this process and test it for yourself. If you’re frustrated, your potential guests probably are, too.

5. Conversion Rate

There are many variables that can affect a website’s conversion rate, such as seasonality, demand, availability, rate parity and more. Once you’ve established that something is suffering, can you rule out the variables mentioned above? If so, it’s probably time to break down your hotel conversion funnel and assess. The job of your website is to funnel visitors down a path that leads straight into your hotel lobby. If users aren’t even making it to your booking software, there’s likely a problem with your website. Consider these questions:

  • Does the site load quickly?
  • Is it mobile-friendly?
  • Is the navigation easy to understand and use?
  • Is there a search widget with a clear call to action on all pages?
  • Does the site have great photos and videos?
  • Does the site showcase nearby places of interest?
  • Does the site have clear descriptions of room types?
  • Does the site highlight on-site amenities?
  • Does the site contain useful and creative content?

Here are OUR secrets to optimizing your hotel website conversion rate.
Conversion funnel graphic - Breaking down the conversion funnel

6. Data Collection

Is your website doing a good job of collecting data?

Email

An email address is like gold to a digital marketer. Email marketing is cheap, can be personalized and typically yields a high return (when executed properly). Is your hotel website doing a good job of soliciting email addresses from visitors?

Demographic / Geographic Information

Are your hotel website analytics implemented properly? If so, you should be mining this data for gems. Check out our three most important Google Analytics goals for hotel websites.

Retargeting

Whether you’re running digital paid advertising or not, adding retargeting pixels to your hotel website will ensure you collect valuable data from visitors.

User Behavior

Are you taking advantage of user behavior analysis software to collect visitor information? Think heat maps, rage clicks, dead clicks, user recordings, and other important data that you should know about your largest money maker. Free tools like Microsoft Clarity can help expose areas that need improvement.

7. Are you rebranding?

Though this doesn’t happen often, a rebrand certainly warrants a hotel website redesign. Learn more about your brand with our Brand Insight Assessment.

8. Improve User Experience

When was the last time you used your own website, from the eyes of a guest? We already know that Google’s Page Experience update is forcing hotel web developers to hone in on delivering a good page experience. But, what else establishes favorable UX?

  • Does the site load quickly?
  • Is it mobile-friendly?
  • Is the navigation easy to understand and use?
  • Is there a search widget with a clear call-to-action on all pages?
  • Does the site have great photos and videos?
  • Does the site showcase nearby places of interest?
  • Does the site have clear descriptions of room types?
  • Does the site highlight on-site amenities?
  • Does the site contain useful and creative content?

UX designer creative prototype graphic

9. New Features & Functionality

Technology is constantly changing, which means there are already new features and functionality that you probably aren’t taking advantage of. Consider the following list of items proven to increase conversion rate:

  • Virtual tours
  • Urgency messaging
  • Real-time rates or other information
  • Review system or other social proof
  • Live chat (As in, alive – use a real human!)

10. Flexibility

How easy is it for you to manage your hotel website? Can you edit content easily? Consider that your content management system may be primitive, limited, or worse, owned by someone else. There’s an assortment of content management systems available, with the most popular being WordPress. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each before selecting the foundation for the face of your business.

How

The first step in redesigning a hotel website is not selecting a design. Gasp! Take a large step back and assess your current website, first.

Analyze Your Data:

  • Where are people bailing? Why?
  • Is your conversion rate suffering?
  • What pages have the lowest CTR?
  • Are your site speed scores below average?
  • Are your rankings tanking?

Click here if you need help analyzing your hotel website data.

Evaluate Your Assets

Are you showcasing a variety of high quality media that places a prospective guest at your hotel or resort? If not, consider new photography, videography or other elements, such as virtual tours.

Determine a Budget

There is a vast range for hotel website design and development costs. Establish a realistic budget for your brand, but remember that your hotel website is your largest revenue generator for direct bookings. Less isn’t always more. Don’t forget about ongoing hard costs associated with your hotel’s website, such as:

  • Domain renewals
  • Reliable hosting
  • An e-commerce solution
  • Third party caching and security
  • Ongoing maintenance and optimizations

Design

Alright, now you can think about the design. BUT, remember mobile first. More than 50% of hotel website traffic (and revenue!) comes from a mobile device. Try to get a feel for what you do and don’t like; Browse competitor websites on your mobile phone; Note unique features or friction points.
Hand-drawn website design wireframes

Shop Around

When you’re ready to revamp your hotel website, be sure to shop around. Don’t just consider cost – remember that less isn’t always more. Be sure to factor in:

  • The platform
  • The level of optimization
  • The level of flexibility and control
  • Ownership if you choose to leave
  • Hosting costs
  • The ability to integrate with booking or third party software

Learn More

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – Knowledge is power. Here are a few things you can request:

  • What CMS will my hotel website be built on?
  • Will I own the website and have full control to edit content?
  • Where will my website be hosted and what is the additional cost?
  • What does the timeline look like for launch?
  • What will I need to provide and when do I need to provide it?
  • What does your QA process look like?
  • What level of optimization will be completed pre-launch?
  • What services are provided post-launch?

Redesigning a website should be an exciting time for your hotel. It’s an opportunity to set goals, increase direct books and put heads in beds. Are you ready to get your business booming? Contact us today to get started.
Looking for even more ways to improve your hotel website? Check our list of the top 10 WordPress Plugins for hotel websites.

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