How can you make your property website as effective as possible? Read on for website content and design tips that’ll turn your site into the perfect shop window.
Your website is your way of telling the world what your property’s all about. But how can you make sure it gets your story across in the best way? We’ve put together a list of the basics that your site needs to cover if you want to increase reservations and improve your online reputation.
So you've got a property website, what next?
As you’ll be well aware by now, your website is key to your business. Not only is it the most profitable way of getting direct bookings, it’s also your shop window, your way of telling the world what you’re all about. It’s common knowledge in shopkeeping circles that the way you display your products can make all the difference. It can literally be the difference between a purchase and a customer walking away. So what does that mean for your website, your own shop window?
Tell your story through photos
If there’s one thing that gets people to engage with your property while looking at their mobile or computer, it’s photos. Whoever said a picture’s worth more than a thousand words wasn’t kidding. Research by Google suggests that users take just 0.017 seconds to judge a site’s visual appeal, which will influence the rest of their stay on the site – including the key decision to book or not. So photos are the first building block of a great property website. Big, professional photos that show off all the best bits of your property. High-resolution pictures that immediately say to the user: “you’ll feel right at home here”. Take photos of all your facilities, all rooms and all outdoor areas. The clearer an idea the guest has of your property, the more likely they’ll be to feel reassured enough to book.
And if there are amazing activities that your guests love doing nearby, make sure you’ve got plenty of great-looking photos of those too. Horse riding through the woods, kayaking in the rivers, splashing about in the pool – all these things help guests envisage their stay with you. You could go further still. To really get people imagining themselves relaxing at your property, why not include a video or two?
Professional website design
They say there’s beauty in simplicity – and that’s certainly the case when it comes to website design. Users are after a smooth experience that delights, but doesn’t overload. The best websites are intuitive and easy to navigate, with separate pages categorised into logical blocks that are easily clickable but don’t block out the more visually engaging elements, like photos. They also have their pages organised into a logical order, going from most to least important. Calls-to-action, like ‘Book now’ or ‘Click here for more room information’ should be clearly visible. It’s important that your users don’t get confused and lost on your site – always give them clear options as a way of guiding them through the site.
And when it comes to colour, try and make sure your palette matches your logo and the rest of your branding. Play around with a few colour schemes until you find one that works for you.
Telling your story
You know your property better than anyone. You know what you offer, what your guests like doing. So make sure you’re telling that story in the right way. First, think about the image you’re trying to portray of your property. What is it that people are looking for when they visit your website? Is it a scenic spot that oozes luxury, or where time stands still? If so, think about using a more stylised, poetic style for your descriptions. If, on the other hand, you want to be seen as more business-like, consider stripped-back texts that highlight the practical benefits of your property.
If you’re struggling to identify your key features, have a look through your guest reviews. What do people love about your property? The views, the warm welcome, the breakfast? Once you have a clear idea of what your guests value most about their stay, you can start to build a narrative – which needs to be backed up by great photos, of course!
The cherries on top
While photos and texts will take up most space on your website, there are several extra touches that can cement guests’ confidence that your property is right for them. One is guest reviews. It’s been proven time and again that testimonials from other consumers (in this case, guests) contribute to people’s buying decisions. When it comes to booking a stay at a property, other people’s experiences count for a lot. So if you can integrate reviews from a trusted platform like Booking.com, that’ll help to reassure and encourage potential guests to book with you.
Another extra feature you can add is awards. If your guests have given you great ratings on other sites, or if you’ve picked up an award from a local tourism authority, these are things that should definitely feature in your shop window. There are plenty of things you can do to turn your website into an irresistible highly functioning shop window. And whether it’s great photos, intuitive design or inspiring testimonials, there are a few basics that can really make a difference.
WebDirect, BookingSuite’s website builder makes these improvements easy. If you’re already a Booking.com partner but don’t yet have a WebDirect website, click here to see what your property website could look like. And if you’re already a WebDirect partner, why not start tweaking your website today? It could make the difference between a good year’s business and a great one.