The most challenging part of designing a website for a boutique hotel is to bring the essence of the hotel to a customer who has never set foot on the property. Big brands such as the Marriott and Hilton need not introduce themselves to guests when it comes to their websites, but small – upcoming, family-run boutique hotels must hook the customers as soon as they land on the website. If we look at a boutique hotel in Hobart, for example, we’ll see that their website is customised and beautiful. That’s what you’re trying to achieve!
The experience of surfing through a boutique website must be similar to that of those staying in the property.
So, how to design such a website? How can you target just the right customers? Let us find out.
- Firstly, remember that boutique hotels are definitely not the cheapest ones in most areas. As a result, the customers will be very particular about details, and even the smallest flaw in service or appearance could convince them not to come again.
- The customers visiting boutique hotels know very well what to expect from the hotel, the service and facilities. They can easily judge if the hotel is original or a simple drawn-out version of some other failed hotel chain. In some cases, they may not voice their concerns, but secretly become resentful and may never visit the hotel again.
- There is high competition amongst boutique hotels to capture the limited number of guests available at this price range. It is important to be better than the competing hotels on every level, so as to grab the attention of the people visiting the area.
Like any other website, there are some basic rules that must be followed. So let’s start with the general tips and tricks on how to ensure an effective and user-friendly website. Below are a few of them:
- Responsiveness: This is absolutely no–brainer. The website experience must be of the highest quality, no matter the device from which the user is accessing it. Be it a mobile, tablet, computer or desktop, the pages must be easy to navigate between and the overall look must be preserved.
- Superior User Experience: The navigation in the website must be seamless even for the first–time user. The content must be carefully written and all unnecessary fluff must be cut out. Further, it must provide the customers with all the information they want (and need) from a hotel; opening hours, room availability etc.
- Tell stories: The website of the boutique must tell a story, it must make the user see what it is like to stay there. So get as much attractive content you can. Include images of nearby places of interest and make sure all imagery is well-captured.
- Make the website visually compelling: Include the images of whatever you may find compelling and unique in your property. Whether it’s a jacuzzi, a swimming pool or keyless entry into the rooms. Just show off all the features you have got!
As a designer and coder, utmost importance must be given to all these points!
Once the website has been built, it is important to market it well. Put the website link as the signature for all email communications. Provide round-the-clock communication support to your customers. That way, once they are assured of the quality of stay you are providing, they are sure to come back for a second visit. The positive feedback might also get you more customers. So, the most important part of the website must be the quality of information and access to 24/7 customer support.
Some inspiring websites of boutique hotels include The Henry Jones, Babington House, Palazzo Ravizza, Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Olea Hotel and Badrutt’s Palace.