That’s the challenge regularly presented to boutique hotels when planning their website design and layout. Marriott and Hilton don’t need to introduce themselves to people who stumble upon their site, but, as a small, independent, or family-run boutique hotel, your company doesn’t have that luxury.
Boutique hotel website design needs to provide an online experience similar to that of staying at the property.
So, how do you make an exceptional guest experience shine on your website? First, think about who you’re targeting.
WHAT BOUTIQUE HOTEL GUESTS EXPECT FROM THEIR EXPERIENCE
Boutique hotel guests expect a certain experience when they stay. A few consistent trends from this niche demographic include:
1) HIGH EXPECTATIONS
Boutique hotels are typically not the least expensive option in any area. As such, guests of these properties expect higher quality to match the higher price. They will make the decision to not return if their experience does not meet their expectations. Even the slightest flaw could be unforgivable!
2) KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT IS PREMIUM SERVICE AND WHAT IS NOT
Boutique hotel guests know what to expect from staying at both hotel chains and independent hotels. This helps them discern whether a particular property is original, high-quality, or simply a cheaper alternative. These visitors may not comment when they find issues, but you can be assured that they will not come back for a second visit.
3) HIGH COMPETITION FOR A LIMITED NUMBER OF POTENTIAL GUESTS
Though demanding, boutique hotel guests are not price conscious. Plus, their expectations encourage continuous improvement in hotel operations. This means that there is a lot of competition for these guests.
How do you capture them?
Many boutique hotel guests make lodging decisions based on the recommendations of people they trust, so developing personal connections with your guests is huge. It’s also something that independent boutique hotels can do more effectively than chain hotels.
Consider what you strive to offer guests in person. Then, make sure your website design matches those expectations:
- No frustration on the part of the guest
- Visually appealing
- An enjoyable experience!
5 BOUTIQUE HOTEL WEBSITE DESIGN ELEMENT MUST-HAVES
When it comes to boutique hotel website design, there are a few rules to follow. Make design decisions based on these tips and you’ll show off the uniqueness of your property while meeting expectations.
This is a no-brainer! Regardless of what platform a website visitor uses (mobile, tablet, or desktop), your site needs to work well.
2. SUPERIOR UX
You should understand how your guests use your website and remove all points of frustration. Knowing how people use your site and what they want to do while they’re on it is the best way to provide a superior user experience (UX).
Your hotel’s website needs to tell the story of what it’s like to stay there. It should also paint a picture of nearby points of interest. This can be approached using different forms of content, such as:
- Fantastic images
- Static page copy
4. EASE OF BOOKING
A guest who wants to book a room at your hotel should experience zero frustration while doing so. (Including people who are using your reservation software from a mobile phone!) Be sure to experiment with booking a room yourself, and make it easy to view prices, availability, special packages, and booking options.
5. VISUALLY COMPELLING
Take advantage of whatever makes your location and property unique. Anything and everything counts as something to highlight! Examples include:
- An onsite restaurant
- Bicycle rentals
- Luxury bathroom amenities
- Keyless entry into rooms
Be sure to show these features off consistently in your website’s content marketing strategy.
BOUTIQUE HOTEL WEBSITE DESIGN INSPIRATION
It’s no secret that web development is expensive. If you’re still unsure of how to move forward, check out a few of our favorite examples for boutique hotel website design inspiration. Remember that good design is good design, regardless of location!
The Babington House does a fantastic job of using visuals to display the luxurious and historic feel of their establishment. The simple layout and imagery helps guide the eye down the homepage and follows the story they’ve created.
Tip: When looking at each of these websites, keep in mind how important it is to use exceptional professional photography. Hotel website design risks failure if it displays a less than impressive image; similar to an expensive frame showcasing a generic stock photo.
Palazzo Ravizza offers an excellent example of simple hotel website design. After all, just because you can spend money on all sorts of fancy, complicated features doesn’t mean you should. This site simply and clearly paints the picture of a stay in a beautiful, elegant, and historic property in a central location.
GRAND HOTEL TREMEZZO
The design of this site exudes grand luxury at a historic hotel. It also makes the location on Lake Como the centerpiece of its story. There’s a clever call to action with a view of the lake and a prompt to “Book This View”. Hey, we’d book!
This example won a best hotel website design award after launch. Badrutt’s Palace exudes the premium experience of a visit by offering superior attention to detail in its design and layout.
The Olea Hotel’s new website design clearly guides a visitor to a preview of the quality experience they’ll expect onsite. The easy flow through the site continues to the booking engine, which is easy to navigate on either a mobile phone or desktop computer.
THE RESIDENCES GRAND CAYMAN
This is an example of a resort website that uses visuals to compel visitors to explore the Grand Cayman Islands. The photos are intended to help a guest imagine themselves there, and we think they do it quite well!
The Residences targets a much higher-end clientele. Therefore, their website needs to demonstrate that high attention to detail and the high expectations they’re confident they’ll meet when guests are visiting. And based on performance of the site since launch, it’s been doing its job quite well!
NEWAGEN SEASIDE INN
The website for this boutique hotel in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, showcases what it’s like to stay at a classic Maine inn. The site uses colors and a maritime theme to capture parts of the area (and the hotel) that are most compelling to the visitor.
Q4LAUNCH IS AN EXCELLENT HOTEL WEBSITE DESIGN COMPANY
Why value our opinion?
Q4Launch designs unique hospitality websites for boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, and vacation rentals. We know a thing or two! Contact us to schedule an expert review of your current website and see if it will hold up to ever-changing guest expectations. We look forward to hearing from you!
Colin Pearson | Director of Marketing Services
Learn More About Me and Q4Launch on LinkedIn today!