Plus, 6 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Website Now!
Do you ever feel like your website is out of date or in need of a facelift, but you don’t quite know where to start?
Or, do you find yourself hunting online for hotel or bed and breakfast website design inspiration only to realize you don’t have the resources to get the job done?
If so, rest assured; You are not alone, and we can help!
We’ll help you understand the crucial components of a successful bed and breakfast website design and then reveal a few of our favorite examples. While an effective, well-designed website may seem like just a small piece of your integrated marketing strategy, it’s an extremely important one!
For some quick tips, get a free checklist of Six Things You Need to Have for an Effective B&B Website to kickstart your new design.
6 Key Aspects of Successful Bed and Breakfast Web Design
Before we provide you with bed and breakfast website design inspiration, we have a few simple recommendations to improve your current site. Consider these bed and breakfast website design improvements for quick and easy optimization! It’s no question that every bed and breakfast and hotel website design needs to include these important features. For all our customers, we make sure that these key factors are covered before we do any additional work in hospitality search engine optimization (SEO).
Put your website to the test: does it meet these basic necessities?
1. Responsive Web Design
Does your bed and breakfast website look great on a phone, tablet, and desktop computer? If the answer is no, your first step to a better website is responsive web design. It’s imperative that your site adapts to screens of any resolution and is user-friendly. This is because it allows potential guests who found your inn on their mobile device to easily navigate your website and hence stay on your site longer. They’ll learn more about your accommodations and will be more likely to make a reservation.
This improved user experience also has its technical advantages. If your website is responsive, Google will reward you. The search engine giant has made it clear that responsive websites perform better and rank higher on Google searches than websites that are not mobile-friendly.
2. Excellent Photos
For a quick and easy way to improve your website, review your photography. Often, photographs are the first introduction potential guests have to your bed and breakfast. If the photos on your website are poor quality, outdated, and uninviting, website viewers will associate your inn with these same notions.
But, having photographs that appeal to viewers is only half the battle. Excellent bed and breakfast photography should not only be high-quality but high-resolution. Using high-resolution photographs ensures that images are always sharp, defined, and detailed.
Another important thing to track is the file size of your photographs and the time it takes for them to load on a page. Photographs that take too long to load are frustrating for users. But, more importantly, load time hurts Google rankings and general website performance.
3. High-Quality Content
We cannot overstress the value of high-quality content. Whether you’re writing a blog, updating your home page, or sending a newsletter, quality content is crucial across the board. Not only does solid, descriptive content help persuade potential guests to make a reservation, it also has technical advantages. Gone are the days where you’re able to stuff your website with keywords and frequently searched terms to get better rankings. Now, your content must feature these keywords in a way that’s actually enjoyable to read.
In essence, Google now boosts the rankings of websites that have compelling content.
Doing so makes the search engine look good. If Google provides website recommendations that readers enjoy, they bolster their credibility with users. You can now boost your credibility with Google by creating high-quality content that Google will recognize as helpful, enjoyable information worth sharing.
4. Lead Generation Tools
What is lead generation? First, a lead is a person whose contact information you’ve acquired. Lead generation, then, is the process of using your website to turn potential guests browsing your site into qualified leads that will be more likely to book when you contact them.
Your website is an easy, inexpensive way to generate leads. After you capture the attention of potential guests with a responsive website, excellent photographs, and compelling content, invite them to learn more about your inn. In exchange for their contact information (which you can use for later marketing purposes), offer potential guests exclusive access to newsletters, blog subscriptions, or valuable materials they can use to plan their trip.
Using these types of lead generation tools on your website is like having a salesperson who works for your business 24/7/365. These tools can capture important contact information while you devote your time to delighting your guests and catering to their needs at your inn. Additionally, it’s one of the most important tools to help you reduce your dependency on 3rd party distribution, booking sites, and online travel agents.
5. Easy to Find Check Availability Buttons
The ultimate goal for your bed and breakfast website is to book more rooms. To do that, you need to give people a direct and user-friendly way to get to your booking engine, and you need to do it often! The easier it is to book a stay at your bed and breakfast, the more likely a potential guest will complete a booking.
The easiest way to ensure that visitors on your website never have to spend time looking for “Check Availability” or “Book Now” buttons is by prominently displaying them on your website. Hard to find buttons put you at risk of losing potential customers who get frustrated with your site, leave, and book with a competitor who offers an easier online experience.
6. SSL Certification
We know talking about website security isn’t nearly as much fun as talking about hotel web design, but hear us out. One of the best things you can do to improve your website is upgrade its security features. Take a peek at the URL on our website. See that green lock and https? That green lock is simply a browser’s way of informing website users that the transfer of information from their computer to the website (and back) is encrypted. This means no one in between that connection can add/edit/read or “see” what is sent. To get this green lock for your website, you must apply for an SSL certificate. This certificate is important because it verifies to the world that the information sent to and from your website is trusted by an SSL Certificate Authority (CA) and confirms you’re using a secure, encrypted connection.
SSL certification and https security has become increasingly important over the past few years. With the release of version 56 of Google Chrome, non-https secure sites are even easier for website users to recognize. You can see this in three ways:
- First, non-https pages that ask for passwords or credit card information show a “Not Secure” message in the location bar.
- Second, non-https pages in incognito mode shows the “Not Secure” message.
- Finally, as the last step in the rollout, Chrome will label all non-https pages with a “Not Secure” message that might look like this:
Why is this important for your website? For one, having an https website helps protect you and your website users from cyber security problems. It also helps you build a positive relationship with those users. Seeing a “secure” message builds trust with website visitors while seeing “Not Secure” is a quick way to lose it. Having an SSL Certified website is also beneficial because Google rewards secure websites. By upgrading the security measures on your website and getting an SSL certificate, you won’t just protect yourself and your potential guests from online threats, you’ll also improve your SEO rankings. Thanks to this incentive from Google, amping up your online security means boosting the visibility of your website and your inn online.
Bed and Breakfast Website Design Inspiration
You will be hard pressed to find a magical one-size-fits-all bed and breakfast website example. That said, the six key bed and breakfast web design tips we just discussed are important details that every B&B, luxury inn, guest house, boutique hotel or resort website should include. And, now that we’ve talked about these key components of successful B&B web design, let’s get to the fun part! Take a look at some of our favorite bed and breakfast website design inspiration. Then, start to imagine what your bed and breakfast website could look like today!
The Old Wailuku Inn
If you look closely at The Old Wailuku Inn website, you should notice one thing right away. Color. In the photographs, across the navigation menu, and on important buttons, the website uses the same sage green that appears in the inn’s logo throughout the site. Why? Because the intentional placement of color is a simple way to control where the eye of your viewer leads. You can make the most important parts of your website, like the check availability button, stand out and easy to find with the proper use of color. Appropriately placed color, especially on an open, white website design layout like The Old Wailuku Inn’s, will command where your viewers look. Use this to your advantage.
Click to view larger image.
The French Manor Inn & Spa
All great bed and breakfast website design inspiration has one thing in common: a well-defined “feeling.” Your website design should also capture the “soul” of your area and your property. The French Manor, located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, needed a website that evoked the rustic, natural, woodsy vibe of their area. To do this, our web designers chose details like wooden textured backgrounds, prominent images of the landscape, and illustrations of the mountains and wildlife guests can expect at the inn. When evaluating your bed and breakfast website, one question you should ask yourself is, “What should viewers feel when they look at my website?” Obviously, you want viewers to feel like booking a stay at your inn. But, to do that, you have to tempt them by conveying what they will experience at your inn before they ever set foot on the property.
Click to view larger image.
Wine Country Inn
For some bed and breakfasts, the dominant feature of the property is something “extra.” This might be an award-winning spa, iconic restaurant, or national landmark. For the Wine Country Inn, this “extra” is its proximity to Napa Valley wineries. The bed and breakfast promotes an unmatched wine country experience that continues to keep guests coming back. In turn, the Wine Country Inn website evokes this same experience. In the creation of this site, our web designers turned to the vineyards for inspiration. Like a fine, red wine, the website evokes an old-world feel. It has hand-drawn images of vineyards and wine barrels, dark photographs, and deep burgundy buttons and accents. When you look website design inspiration, consider what makes your property unique, and play up this feature on your website.
Wyndswept Bed & Breakfast
The Wyndswept Bed and Breakfast website, designed by Red Cherry, makes our website inspiration list for two reasons. One is the central “check room availability” section of the homepage. The other is the website’s ability to effectively sell the visitor experience. One look at the website and viewers know exactly what they can experience at The Wyndswept Bed and Breakfast.
High-quality photography and a slider touting real attractions command the homepage. But, photo-centric web design like this one isn’t often mobile-friendly. Remember, your bed and breakfast website should look and function just as well on mobile devices and tablets as it does on a desktop computer. Your users will thank you, and Google will reward you with higher rankings.
Brass Lantern Inn
Take a look at the Brass Lantern Inn. We applaud our friends at Whitestone Marketing for this great example of responsive bed and breakfast website design. While the desktop view of this website is effective, the mobile device view is where the website shines. On a mobile device or tablet, the Brass Lantern Inn website maintains a clear, organized menu and has many of the same features as the desktop version. Most notably, the menu options on the mobile view, including booking, are well defined.
This is important because it makes navigating the website on a phone or tablet user-friendly. And, if a website is user-friendly, potential guests are more likely to stay on your website and complete a booking. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times. Your bed and breakfast website must be responsive to maintain your audience!
Create a Better Bed and Breakfast Website Today!
Now you know what your website needs to be successful, and you’ve seen some of our favorite bed and breakfast website design inspiration. But, there is one last bit of information you should know. We’re the only company in the bed and breakfast marketing industry to offer a New Every Three™ Guarantee! Use our marketing services or “website as a service” model and we’ll redesign your website every 3 years, at no charge!
As long as you ensure you have flexible options from a trustworthy provider, you’ll find that getting a website as a service, rather than buying it outright, is often the better option. It isn’t just more affordable. It also ensures that your website will remain fresh and up-to-date without any work on your part. Your website will serve as a business asset rather than an expense. Start building yours today!
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Photo credit: Getty Images: Rostislav_Sedlacek, gustavofrazao, beatpavel | Wordfence | Q4Launch: The Old Wailuku Inn, The French Manor Inn and Spa, Wine Country Inn | Red Cherry: The Wyndswept Bed and Breakfast | Whitestone Marketing: Brass Lantern Inn
Emily Mason| Content Creator
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