It’s undeniable that the pandemic has left a huge mark on our lives; it’s changed our perspectives and awareness about the world. The influence has changed how we work, how we communicate, even how we dress. And it has changed web design, too. Hotel web design trends for 2022 are all about humanizing technology by making connections with a greater awareness of our individual and collective needs.
We’ve taken a deep dive into existing and emerging trends to come up with the seven most essential elements your hotel website needs now to achieve that leading edge over the competition.
1. Compete with the OTAs: Push onsite bookings
The push for onsite bookings is on like never before. While OTAs like Booking.com and Expedia are essential for market reach and play an important role in traveler research, hotels have realized it pays to bring customers to their own website and cut out the middleman if they can, saving on commissions. A mobile-optimized booking engine is now mandatory as it’s expected by guests. Ensure your online booking engine is properly integrated, optimized, and placed strategically throughout your website ready for bookings at the exact moment your guests are ready to reserve.
2. Google-optimized | Google Page Experience Update
Any website changes must always consider what Google is up to! In 2021, Google’s algorithm update increased its need for speed. Based on the fact that 53% of users will abandon a webpage that takes more than three seconds to load, site speed is a major component in Google rankings. Therefore, it’s exceedingly important to check image and video sizes, heavy image formats (like TIFFs), excess coding, and too many plugins, to name a few site-slowing culprits. Google has handy PageSpeed tools to test your site. Then consider a web designer for making site speed refinements.
Website owners and marketers should not underestimate the importance of user experience. It means that web designers need to emphasize elements like loading speed, interactivity, safe browsing, and visual stability. Otherwise, they’ll quickly see their sites disappear from the first page of Google.
3. Voice-searchable SEO
While not strictly web design, content plays a big role in website functionality, user experience, and search engine ranking. The big trend from 2021 and into 2022 is web content that is written for colloquial voice searches. Siri, Google Home, and Alexa provide answers for users throughout the day and top responses are from reliable sources that match what is being asked. On your website, answer what you know your guests frequently ask in the way that they ask. Blog posts and FAQs are the best places for queryable headings. It’s a simple way to help your rankings and help customers at the same time.
Because voice search is so popular, start to think about integrating voice search in addition to traditional text search within your site, not only for ease and user experience but for accessibility for some people with disabilities. Looking beyond 2022, voice-activated interfaces will emerge for websites in the not-too-distant future.
4. Guest-centric Web Design
We’ve already written about guest-centric web design but it’s worth mentioning here as a trend for 2022 as well. Guest-centric web design reduces friction for guests and increases online engagement and right now focuses on personalization and creating moments of delight.
When it comes to creating moments of delight, it can be as simple as a beautiful website that’s easy to navigate, easy to read, and answers all of your visitors’ questions. While that may be easier said than done, the point is that simplicity often does more to delight guests than bells and whistles (think pop-up offers that can annoy users or videos and images that take too long to download). Responsive websites are not optional in 2022 so swiftly correct this pain point if you haven’t already. But to add to that, think “thumb-friendly” design for mobile device users, with large centered buttons that are easy for thumbs to reach for one-handed navigators.
Level up your guest-centric design with some interactive features, if you’re feeling fancy. Perhaps a quick quiz can end with results that reveal your prospective guest’s ideal hotel room plus activity or add-on package suggestions!
5. Inclusive and Accessible Content and Design
A movement, not a trend, inclusive and accessible content and design is ever-evolving and will come to the fore in 2022.
Inclusive language is about using gender-neutral language. When it comes to reservations, for example, is it necessary to collect male and female prefixes, such as Mr., Mrs., and Ms.? Decide if identifying gender is necessary for building your personalization data or providing service. If you can’t do without, provide an option to leave it blank or “prefer not to say.” When it comes to videos and images, more and more hotel websites are aware that guests want to see diversity in gender, race, and abilities.
Website accessibility in 2022 will increasingly focus on ease of access for all guests, which plays into design. Consider how font style and size look on different screens and if it’s clearly legible. Images need alt-text, not only for SEO but especially for screen reading tools as well. For forms, place field names clearly above fields as opposed to lightly appearing within them. And focus indicators, such as buttons changing colors when moused over, can help with navigation.
6. Clean and Eye-catching Design Elements
The great global pause on one hand created space and on the other increased the amount of time spent online. Both of which contribute to a trend toward web design that is spacious, clean, and eye-catching. While the use of plenty of white space isn’t anything new, what’s new to 2022 is the inventive use of gradient colors and geometric or abstract shapes that are memorable and delightful — and not busy. Content and design should “breathe” and convey calm for your guests in a world overwhelmed with information.
While chatbots aren’t new, they are increasing in popularity. For hotels, chatbots serve as your 24/7 online concierge. Machine learning has only improved over the last few years for more sophisticated chatbot experiences that add that extra personalized layer to your guests’ online experience with your hotel. It will be possible for chatbots to not only answer frequently asked questions but to recommend rooms, services, and packages.
The start of the new year is a great time to revisit your hotel’s website and make some tweaks. Look at your website’s stats to measure what’s working, and consider important trends and what they mean for your property when making changes. At the end of the day, simply do what hoteliers do best: think of the guest. With your guests in mind, you’re sure to create a website that brings in the bookings. We can help! Contact us to chat with one of our friendly designers and receive a no-obligation quote.