If you are a luxury hotel and have a badly designed website then it reflects badly on your business, you need to make
that first impression a good one.
When you think of a hotel website there are two important things you expect to see when you hit the home page: good quality photographs of the hotel and a form to book your stay.
In this showcase we’re going to feature some of the nicest hotel web designs and look at the best practices for designing such websites.
So let’s jump in and look at some of the best examples of well designed hotel websites and try and work out what those best practises are.
The Oxford Inns website sits in the centre of the window with plenty of space around the content area, this is a great approach to use when you have very little textual content. Navigating through the menu will slide between the different sections of the site.
The Talbot Hotel have opted for more of a standard website format: logo and menu at the top with the phone number clearly displayed. A large image slider with good quality photos and introductory text is followed by a simple booking form and highlighted sections of the site.
The Schweizerhof website uses large, good quality photos on their site. The menu down the left allows you to find where you need to go quickly and clicking on the photo removes the foreground content and replaces it with arrows so you can navigate through the photos that formed the background of the site.
Photo available on PhotoDune
The Wythe Hotel have gone for a clean design with a lot of spacing. The focal point of the home page is the large photo of the Brooklyn waterfront where the hotel is located, unlike most hotels that feature an image of one of their rooms, this hotel has decided to showcase the hotels surroundings. The photo is followed by an introductory paragraph and a simple footer area.
Their three field reservation form is at the top of the site instead of in a sidebar like on most hotel sites. The form is clean and simple with a well designed date picker to, it’s the little details that make great design. On submitting the form the user gets sent to another site to complete their booking.
Castello del Sole have gone with a slideshow of large photos of the hotel surroundings on the left and on the right they have the site navigation and a small space for some text. Having limited space for text has it’s benefits, for the visitor it means that they aren’t overwhelmed with information and for the company, it means that they are much more concise with their sales pitch.
The Swiss Diamond Hotel have decided to fill the majority of the home page with a slideshow, this is overlaid with a welcome message which when clicked on will slide a couple of paragraphs of introduction text into view.
The menus on this site aren’t just simple drop downs listing internal pages like most sites, instead they are interactive, hovering over the Rooms menu for example will allow you to scroll through all the available room types complete with a thumbnail for each.
The Four Seasons Hotel
When it comes to large world famous hotels there are a different set of requirements. The Four Seasons have hotels all around the world, so rather than showing off images of the hotels on their homepage, they opt for showing the actual locations (Tokyo, Hong Kong etc.), along with the local time and temperature.
Underneath this image slider you can choose a hotel location by choosing a continent and then selecting a city. To the right of this continents selection there is a simple reservation form in case you just want to make a reservation there and then.
Once you’ve chosen a hotel you get directed to the relevant hotel’s section on the site. Each hotel has a similar slider to the homepage with photos of the city it’s located in and the actual hotel and it’s rooms. The reservation form stays in the same place throughout the site and information about the hotel continues down the page including reviews, photos and maps.
Looking at some of the best hotel web designs have bought to light what I believe to be the top four best approaches when designing hotel sites.
1 Use large, good quality photos
Whether it’s the hotel building itself, the rooms or views of the area where the hotel is located, good quality photos will help sell your hotel to the potential customer as well as take care of any empty space on your site.
2 Make your reservation form easily accessible and easy to use
The reservation is the last step of the process for any potential customer, that said, it should always be in a prominent place. The form must be easy to use and the less fields the better.
3 Don’t forget the little touches
Whether it’s a date picker that’s designed instead of the default jQuery UI date picker or having local weather information on the site, it all gives the impression that you don’t forget about the little details.
4 Clear, simple and easy to follow navigation
This is a must for any site, not just hotel sites. Visitors do not want to be looking around for information about the types of rooms a hotel offers or contact information, so make sure the site structure is easy to follow.