Keep up with a generation of guests who are tech-savvy and design-focused.
The new wave of millennial travelers value design more than any other generation before them. As technology natives, they bring high expectations to their interactions with businesses online.
Studies show that millennials are 23% more likely to travel abroad than older generations, and are more willing to set aside a generous budget for trips. By 2020, millennials are predicted to spend $1.4 trillion on travel each year.
To tap into the needs of the modern-day traveler, it’s important that you bring the best design practices to your website and booking system. And don’t worry, even if other generations of travelers are not as particular about their online user experience, they too will appreciate the great design.
So, how can your website live up to the expectations of a generation that has redefined the standard for online experiences?
Start with a personal approach
Upon landing on a new website, millennials and other generations expect a personalized experience.
A website experience is just like the first impression you have when you meet someone new. You draw conclusions from the way a person dresses, speaks, and interacts. Similarly, your website should be tailored to impress your guests in look, feel, and writing style.
Your website needs to connect with the kind of guests that stay at your property. Make sure the language and tone of the writing on your web pages speaks directly to the ideal guests you want to attract. Fill your website with strong visuals to give your prospective guests a real-life taste of the experience they will have when they stay at your property.
Design tip: Take the time to understand your guests. Who are they? What do they like to do when they travel? What do they want in a hotel? The data on your PMS guest profiles can help you answer these questions. You can gather information about what your guests like and don’t like, how much they typically spend on accommodation, how long they usually stay, and how far they’ve traveled. As you’re putting together the content and visuals to your website, you’ll have a better sense of who you’re catering to.
Design for simplicity and self-service
With your website and online booking engine, favor design that’s intuitive, efficient, and simple. Millennials are used to getting information and services on-demand, and they will quickly look elsewhere if their experience feels clunky or becomes time-consuming.
Ensure there’s consistency in the look and feel of your hotel’s brand online. Aim to have a seamless experience across your website and online booking system. You want the customer to feel as though the entire transition from the website to booking and confirmation takes place on the same website.
The new generation of travelers also prefer self-service. Millennials are independent, and like to have full control over their online experiences. Where possible, your design should help prospective guests answer questions for themselves, without needing to call, email, or reach out to your property.
There are simple ways to do this without loading your webpage with excess content.
Use videos and explanatory graphics that help prospective guests access the information they’re looking for about your property and the surrounding area. Or, add a chat service like the feature found in to your website so that your site visitors can quickly ask a question without having to pick up the phone or wait for an email.
Design tip: Get feedback on how easy it is to navigate around your website. Where possible, simplify the steps it takes to find new information and book your rooms. You want to minimize the work required for your guests and make their journey on your website easy and enjoyable.
Be user-friendly on mobile devices
With the sheer amount of online information that millennials now access from their phones, your website and online booking system needs to be optimized for all devices, but what makes a mobile experience user-friendly?
When displaying mobile content, be aware that mobile screens are smaller. Keep your content simple and make links bigger so that they’re easy to click. If you want to get some inspiration on what makes a great mobile website, look through some of the apps on your phone. The best mobile websites have an app-like feel to them.
Design tip: Millennials love social sharing online. Make it easy for them to interact with your property by adding in social media icons to your mobile site design. These icons encourage guests to engage with your brand on a more personal level, while driving organic promotion of your property on social media. Companies like Flip.to also offer easy integrations that drive organic social media amplification of your property.
Millennials value transparency when deciding where to book next, and are masters at sourcing out alternative options. To help them gather authentic and honest feedback, millennials are likely consult with their peers on review-based platforms.
According to Hotel Interactive, millennials check 10.2 sources before making a reservation. Why not make it easy for them to do their research and choose your property?
Help your site visitors cross-check the information on your website with the experiences of past guests by integrating reviews from third-parties, like TripAdvisor, into your site.
Design Tip: Add an integration to your booking engine like Triptease, which displays the rates listed for your room on other OTA sites. Showing these prices validates to t
he prospective guest that they’re getting a great rate for booking direct and builds the kind of trust that drives conversions and loyalty.
Want a hand bringing great design to your hotel’s website?