It’s a big year for travel! What has been coined “revenge travel”—a pent-up desire to take a vacation after a few stressful years—is fueling a surge within the industry. A few major travel trends have emerged, including sustainable travel, unique experiences, workations, and customization. Tapping into these trends is a surefire way to attract guests to your hotel through all your marketing efforts, from email campaigns to social media.
When it comes to your website, we’re big believers in the axiom “content is king.” But have you considered how your hotel website design plays a role? Site layout, images, navigation, and popups can all be used strategically to make your hotel more appealing to guests. We’ve rounded up the most popular and current travel trends this year and demonstrated how you can employ web design to support your marketing initiatives—complete with industry examples. Let’s get started!
Travel Trend: Since 2020, inclusivity has taken a place on the world stage like never before. Fortunately, homogenous mass marketing is dwindling in favor of more diverse and inclusive strategies. Diversity comes in many forms: cognitive and physical abilities, race, social and economic.
Design: When it comes to content, use inclusive language when gendered language isn’t necessary, and avoid stereotypes. For example, using masculine pronouns when referring to your business guests is inaccurate at best and offensive at worst. Take care to write ALT tags for images that provide context within webpage content and only indicate gender or race if it’s imperative to the meaning of the image.
In addition to representing a diverse array of guests in your visual content, consider how various guests access your site and how they can be supported from a design perspective. The Breezy Palms uses an accessibility widget that allows users to adjust how the website is displayed based on individual needs. For example, users with ADHD might choose to declutter the site and make content static to reduce distractions, or those with sight impairments can select settings that enhance visuals for ease of use.
Travel Trend: While green travel has been trending for a few years, demand for sustainable accommodations is on the rise. Booking.com’s 2022 Sustainable Travel report revealed that sustainable travel is important to as many as 71% of global travelers—up 10% from their 2021 report.
Design: While not part of your web design, it’s important to adopt digital functionality that supports your sustainable hotel practices, such as paperless guest registration and online check-ins. In terms of website aesthetics, choose a simple design with calming colors while highlighting your sustainable initiatives and offerings.
The website for The Cabins at Gulf State Park exemplifies this recommendation. In addition to a whole webpage dedicated to their sustainability efforts, their use of white space along with images showing the property’s natural setting conveys a sense of tranquility and commitment to sustainability. Be sure to back up your claims of sustainability with specifics or you’ll run the risk of appearing as a greenwasher.
Travel Trend: Hotel technology contributes to a more personalized, comfortable, and convenient guest experience. Technologies like smart room controls, facial ID room access, augmented reality (think customized projected murals), and robot butlers give hotels an upscale and cutting-edge reputation—and a leg up on the competition.
Even if your hotel doesn’t have robot butlers, you can appeal to techy guests with superior wifi, self-check-in, smart TVs, in-room voice-activated digital assistants, and modern amenities for remote working.
Design: Tech-forward hotels should boast a cutting-edge, mobile-first website design, too. Today, the majority of guests conduct their travel research and hotel bookings via mobile device so it makes sense that your website is optimized for those users. A responsive design will ensure that whether a guest visits your site via mobile or desktop, site functionality and overall guest experience is not compromised. Voice search is trending along with chatbots, which mobile-dependent guests won’t just be adept at using but will expect.
Your hotel website must also serve your techcentric guests with intuitive (and mobile friendly) online bookings. We love the cool booking widget on Cusheon Lake Resort’s homepage. While cabins by the lake don’t exactly bring to mind a techcentric property, their modern, intuitive website inspires confidence in booking.
Unique Experiences and Revenge Travel
Travel trend: Pent-up desires for travel have increased the popularity of unique travel experiences and luxury travel. Staycations, which became popular during the pandemic, are still trending but people want unique ways to experience their region. The most exciting part? This travel trend is most often accompanied by big travel budgets; guests that make up this segment want to experience everything.
Design: Use high-quality, immersive images not only to highlight your unique offerings but tell your story. Level up with virtual reality (360 videos) and full-screen videos that tell your brand’s narrative visually. Done well, it evokes an experience that allows guests to feel what it might be like to visit your hotel—and then desire to be there!
Evoke the senses in written content to portray the stay experience. And consider adding a blog to your website to highlight the rich experiences, activities, and opportunities your hotel and area offers. Share positive reviews and testimonials on your website too, and incorporate user-generated content, because word of mouth is still more trusted than anything you can say about your own hotel.
We love the Matterhorn Inn’s prominent focus on their stellar views of Red Rock Canyon in Arizona, enticing even locals to visit for their special vantage point. Their homepage highlights local attractions and links to a more detailed guide, complete with a distance chart. It’s a wonderful overview of the type of experience a guest can expect—plus it makes for great SEO!
Customized Experiences and Personalized Travel
Travel Trend: From customized coffee orders at Starbucks to personalized smart home settings, guests are used to getting what they want when they want. While personalized travel is not a new trend, it is a trend that continues to evolve due to new technologies. In the hospitality industry these days, personalization may mean smart rooms that allow guests to customize their room for their personal comfort, or the ability to create an a la carte hotel booking with activities and add-ons that suit their own particular fancy.
Design: At its finest, personalization in web design involves dynamic web pages that facilitate a clear path to booking based on behavioral data (what links have they clicked on), demographic data (is their IP local or international, for example), and contextual (such as referrals or returning visitors). Based on those factors, you can create dynamic content that changes based on the characteristics of your web visitor and deliver content that is optimally suited to their interests.
A little less complicated, hotel websites can display targeted pop-ups triggered by specific criteria like traffic source, page HTML, and email lists. This works best for returning guests but new visitors can also be targeted with specific information they should know.
Help guests design their stay with a la carte offerings at the point of booking. WebRezPro’s online booking engine can display reservation options that allow guests to customize their booking with add-ons—anything from activities to in-room treats. Reservation options can also be used to obtain more information from guests, such as the purpose of their stay or any special requirements. Such data can be added to their guest profile and used for more personalized marketing offers in the future—and surprise-and-delight opportunities as well.
Workation Travel Trend
Travel Trend: Workations or bleisure travel combines work with pleasure in this very popular travel trend. Business amenities are essential, combined with regional leisure activities. Sometimes workationers bring their families, a partner, a pet, or go solo.
Design: Savvy design, online bookings, and clearly defined amenities are aspects you’ll want to incorporate into your hotel website to appeal to this travel trend. Be sure to include an FAQ page with a section specific to business travel and text optimized for voice search.
When deciding what travel trends you’d like to reflect in your hotel website design, begin by looking at which trends are best aligned with your particular guest segments. That way, website design decisions will have a lasting impact. As a hotelier, you already know how important it is to put the guest first—including your website design. Through inclusive functionality, immersive design, and relevant content, you’ll attract guests who are looking for hotels that resonate with their interests and values—and that’s the best welcome your hotel website can provide.