The past year was unlike any other for the hospitality industry and many hoteliers made the difficult decision to reduce their digital marketing efforts to save money until revenue streams increased. In many cases, paid media budgets were reduced to zero, hotels physically closed their doors (some temporarily and others for good), and websites remained untouched for most of the year. As travel once again resumes, it’s time for hoteliers to shift their focus and begin planning their digital marketing strategy for 2021. A good place to start is your hotel’s website; it’s where potential guests are first introduced to your brand and often the landing page for online media campaigns. We have compiled a list of tips and ideas for freshening up your website this spring, to attract users and put your best foot forward.
Above all else, functionality should be your main priority because it ensures a positive user experience. From desktop to mobile, your website must be simple to navigate so guests can find the information they value most. Gone are the days of four paragraph essays on the homepage.
Keep things short and sweet with a few different sections to highlight your main assets such as rooms, on-property dining, and special offers. Displaying eye-catching “Book Now” buttons is crucial for conversions and there should always be at least one visible on the screen. Going a step further, your website needs to be ADA compliant. Most websites are initially built within the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, but new standards are rolled out frequently so it’s important to periodically scan your site and identify errors that need to be corrected. These guidelines are not always easy to understand and sometimes even harder to execute so it’s important to have a professional designer updating your website on your behalf.
Keep it light
Your website is often the initial touch point between your brand and potential guests, so you want that first impression to be a great one. When it comes to the visual aspect of your site, the brighter the better. Starting with a white or light-colored background looks clean and allows you to highlight eye-catching images of your hotel or resort. Your brand colors should come through in other ways such as buttons, calls-to-action backgrounds, and the footer. While darker palettes certainly had their moment, now is the time to freshen things up with something light and bright.
Make it an experience
When planning your digital strategy, you should focus on your customers and what appeals to them most. Think about where they are, the topics they are researching, and the likely path they’ll take to get to your website. Given everything that’s happened in the last year, they are probably at home daydreaming of their first post-pandemic vacation. They are ready to travel and they want that initial trip to make up for a year spent quarantining at home. Your website should take these users on a journey through your property and highlight everything you have to offer. Including a video either on your homepage or elsewhere is a great way to showcase a day in the life of a guest at your hotel. Get them excited about a kayak excursion, a day at the spa, or some great food down the street. Include information about your neighborhood and incorporate staff picks for hidden gems around town. This information can be valuable to the guest experience and will get people excited to book a stay at your hotel.
Don’t forget about mobile
Traffic continues to skew towards mobile with 54% of users browsing the web on their phones. With that in mind, it’s imperative to keep your website optimized for mobile devices of all sizes. A professional designer will be able to adjust the layout, image sizes, and general responsiveness to ensure your site is easy to read and visually appealing on mobile. Anytime you update your website you should review the changes on a few different devices to guarantee there are no display issues. We offer several solutions to make your website work better and faster on mobile, tablet, laptop and even the biggest desktop screens.
Speed Speed Speed
You may or may not have heard about the Core Web Vitals update coming from Google in May, and while it’s not as big and scary as the initial panic seemed to suggest, it’s still important to ensure your website is performing in tip-top shape. Page-load speed seems to be a key performance indicator that the search engine giant will use to determine rankings. The fact remains, guests will not wait for your site to load and 40% of users will exit if it takes longer than 3 seconds. WordPress sites in particular are notorious for longer load times due to the nature of their convoluted design framework. Vizergy’s CMS on the other hand was custom built for the hotel industry, which means there is no extra code other than what your website needs to function quickly and effectively.
As we move further into 2021 putting the trials of the last year behind us, it’s time to turn our focus back to what drives conversions — beginning with your website. Let’s start fresh and provide a memorable experience for your guests while focusing on both form and functionality.
For more information about building or updating your hotel website, contact Vizergy Digital Marketing. Our web designers and marketing specialists are ready to help you make 2021 your best year yet.
About Vizergy® Digital Marketing
For more than 20 years, Vizergy has served the hospitality industry with leading marketing technologies, knowledgeable talent and exceptional service for clients worldwide. The company deploys complete travel life-cycle marketing solutions from conversion-optimized website design to award-winning digital marketing programs, reservation solutions, media planning and execution. Vizergy’s platform is touted as the #1 digital marketing system – easy to use, turnkey and SMART, and continually enhanced with tools to help hotels compete and maximize revenue.
At Vizergy, hospitality marketing is not only our mission, it’s our sole focus. For more information, please visit Vizergy.com.
Contact: Ryan Ridge | Vizergy | +1.904.389.1130 | Ryan.R@vizergy.com