Designing a new website is a critical element of your hotel’s marketing strategy. Very often though, it is a minefield of sifting through web design companies who do not understand the key requirements of a hotel’s online booking strategy.
Here is a check list for you to follow when engaging with a web development company for your hotel website to get it right. The list does not cover hosting and domain related checks.
- High visual impact
There should be the functionality to change main image/s easily. There should be a photo gallery. The rooms page should display room photos clearly.
- Easy to load
No heavy code and software to be used. Target time to download (of course impacted by images etc) should be less than 3-4 seconds
- Easy navigation
Two main navigation menus. Important sections like rooms, dining, events. Photo gallery, location etc should be in the main top menu.
Bottom or footer menu to be available for disclaimers, policy items, terms and conditions, about hotel team etc
- Easy to book
There should be a simple booking form above the fold (the format of form should be a straight line rather than a square or rectangle box ie the fields are in a straight line. Eg: http://www.grandhoteltremezzo.com/en/home/
This should allow for insertion of a booking widget code of a third party (for a booking engine) or be used as a simple form (not recommended these days as most visitors expect to be able to make instant reservations)
- Easy to find location/contact details
Available on the top menu.
Basic contact information like telephone and e-mail should be available on home page for easy access – maybe above the menu.
- Ability to add and change content
Ability to change any content on the website easily from the back end even by inexperienced users.
Include a section for promotions, announcements
Additional widget-ready areas in the Footer for new information.
- Good branding
Logo of an appropriate size and well positioned. Use a favicon.
- Excellent images and video
Website should use video and support a good image gallery
- Easy to find in Search Engines
Clean code following W3C requirements
- A good Content Management System
Designed for latest versions of WordPress, Drupal or ModX.
Ability to re-arrange widget blocks. Ability to easily extend and add new menu items and pages on to both menus.
- Google Analytics installed
Ability to turn on GA when needed
- Social Media links/embedding
Easy addition of links for relevant social media at the back end
There should be a blog section. Blog should match the look and feel of the main website
Ensure the credits and copyrights are reflected correctly and as agreed.
Descriptive and organized file structure along with a clear documentation with code.
The website should be designed for self management by the hotel for all simple updates. Each section at the back end should be easy to access and make changes to. No complicated widgets for images and video should be used.
Documentation should be made available on using each section in detail. There should be enough detail to help a non expert user make simple changes.