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Designing an effective homepage for a hotel website (part 2)

Last week I wrote about WHY you should pay a lot more attention to optimizing your hotel homepage and HOW you could do that. More specifically I mentioned four important tips for designing an effective hotel homepage: 1) communicate your brand message, 2) give plenty of information, 3) emphasize main user tasks and 4) maintain a unique homepage structure. So, I hope that you as a hotel marketing manager (or in another branche) already improved the homepage on one of those four factors.

This week I’ll give you more tips on improving the homepage and make more sales online!

Use large, high-res images

Maintain a consideribly large area on the homepage to show visitors large and high-res images. These images can be a hotel room, the surroundings, your staff, etc. It depends on the type of hotel (or hotel group) which images fit your brand and culture. If your are a low-price player you probably shouldn’t use the most luxury perceived photos. So:

  • Only use high-res images
  • Assure that the images contribute to giving the visitor a welcoming feeling
  • Assign a large area for photography
  • If you want to use text in the image, always be aware of the readability!!
  • Use multiple images on the homepage. You could implement a carousel to do that.

Integrate social media on the homepage

Social media is getting more and more important for hotel marketing managers as a direct channel to have conversations with (potential) guests. It creates brand awareness and a guest community, can be used as a service channel and may lead to direct sales (without paying sales commission). In order to take advantage of social media it is of utmost importance to integrate social media tools on the hotel homepage. So:

  • Assign one area on the homepage as a social media area
  • Put links and logo’s of two or three social media communities such as Twitter or Facebook (depending on your situation, country, etc)
  • To make it even more dynamic: automatically show the latest tweets on your homepage!

Create a dynamic homepage

As said in Part 1 on this topic the homepage is a page where users tend to return to very often. Even if they want to navigate from one part on the website to another. As a hotel owner you don’t want to show these (potential) guests the same content everytime they visit the site, do you? 🙂 So:

  • Assign at least one area for dynamic content such as “specials”, “last-minute” or “news”
  • Integrate a “tagcloud” based on the most clicked website items
  • With dynamic I don’t mean to make the homepage flashy and noisy! Maintain a clear and clean homepage!

Next week I’ll give you even more hotel homepage tips to improve usability and conversion rates. So stay tuned!! 😉

Comments (3)

Nice articles Milan.

What you can also consider is integrating Google maps, so the visitor actually has an idea of where the hotel is located. Also, you could give visitors information about point of interests in the nearby area of the hotel. Even better, integrate those on Google maps as well.

Looking forward to the third article.

Marc

Hi Marc,

Thanks for your comment!

I totally agree with your statement that Google Maps offers a lot of interesting funtionalities to support and inform the visitor. The challenge is to integrate Google Maps in the limited space a homepage offers.

Milan

True, but luckily the Google Maps is resizable in just any way possible 🙂

Just thought of another option to put on a hotel homepage. If the hotel is also bookable on big hotel sites such as booking.com, hotels.com and easytobook.com and you have a nice review rating there you can add these ratings on your own homepage. This gives the visitor more trust, because it’s more likely they know these sites, than your hotel homepage. Keep in mind you check / update these figures regularly, so they are correct.

Marc

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