Appealing to the modern luxury traveler means that resorts need dynamic websites that are interactive, mobile-friendly, extremely intuitive, and seamlessly branded — all while centered around booking and converting for the business.
To find out more about how resorts can optimize their website design, we sat down with hospitality web design expert Alex Hume, Art Director for UrVenue.
UrVenue is a pioneering hospitality technology company that monetizes non-room hospitality inventory across all customer touchpoints throughout the booking and in-stay journey. Beyond the platform, UrVenue’s Web Development services have helped power e-commerce for many brands in Las Vegas (and around the world) including Wynn, Caesars Entertainment, and Tao to name a few.
Alex has over a decade of experience in designing high-end resort websites. He began his career designing for Las Vegas nightclubs and restaurants. As he grew his client base, he met UrVenue’s founder Cedric Ancellin and helped him establish the UrVenue brand. Alex’s impressive portfolio boasts over 215 web design projects with hospitality clients all across the globe.
Here are Alex’s top six must-haves for modern luxury resort websites.
1. Mobile-First Design
Across industries, web designers now know that the majority of people are on the go and viewing websites from their mobile devices. In 2020, 61% of website visits came from mobile phones, reflecting an upward trend from 57% in 2019.
Alex knows how critical this is for resort bookings.
“In July 2019, Google implemented mobile-first indexing, where search engines now rank and prioritize websites based on the performance in mobile devices,” he said. “In the hospitality and nightlife industry most people are vacationing and traveling on holiday, so they are booking on their phone the majority of the time. Through all combined analytics, we can see that 75% to 90% of users are on mobile devices. So we always center our workflow with mobile-first design in mind.”
2. Consistent Branding Experience
With branding, it’s important to understand that the home page is just one of the many jumpoff points to the rest of the website. Most resorts work with more than one third-party provider for booking, reservation, and operational services. When the flow feels disjointed, meaning the user realizes they’re going to a different website to complete a transaction, it oftentimes causes questions and concerns about safety and can result in abandonment in the booking process.
“UrVenue understands how a disjointed booking journey can lead to confusion, lack of confidence in the website, and all-around frustration,” says Alex. “We want to give website visitors confidence and peace of mind with a seamless and consistently branded path to booking from start to finish.”
3. Clear Calls to Action (CTAs)
The best website designs incorporate clear calls to action throughout the site. It should be extremely obvious to the end-user what the next desired step is — in this case, bookings.
As Alex says, there should be no question marks. “Strategically placed calls to action are one of the most important aspects for improving the flow and usability of a website — and of course giving the user a helping hand to initiate the booking process and eventually converting to a sale or qualified lead. Users will hit your website from several different angles, not always the homepage. So these CTAs need to be positioned properly and consistently throughout the navigation and body of the page. Capturing this valuable customer data is essential for our clients’ CRM, so they can effectively connect with their guests and provide a top-tier experience.”
4. Ability to Integrate (with anything!)
As previously mentioned, most resorts – and the multiple venues and departments that comprise resorts – operate with several different third-party platforms. The ability to seamlessly integrate these existing platforms in the new web design is key for brand consistency and recognition.
A modern hospitality site should aim for cohesion and integration across all outlets within a property. UrVenue has an integrations development team for this reason, and they understand the importance of integration into an existing framework. Without a seamless integration experience, resorts risk the chance of losing people when it’s time for the checkout transaction.
5. A Focus on SEO and Internal Linking
Resort websites have several points of entry. Whether it be a restaurant, show, nightclub, pool, and beyond, resort websites are like a tangled web of different microsites and pages dedicated to different pieces of the resort experience. It’s incredibly important to ensure that all of these pages are easily navigated and linked together with related content.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) principles are ever-evolving and lately focus is turning towards the big picture – optimization, on-page SEO, and usability. Most SEO ranking factors don’t matter if you don’t get the user experience right. You can’t chase the search engine algorithms if you don’t place that experience at the forefront.
Placing an importance on your internal linking strategy structure also improves user engagement, time spent on the website and ultimately drives your audience to a booking.
“Search engines love new, fresh content,” says Alex. “When you pair that with internal links to pages throughout your website with related content, it increases all the important metrics search engines look for: time on the site, page visits, and overall user engagement. You should also utilize these internal links to ultimately drive users to converting. Search engines want to know that your content is relevant and useful, so keeping these methods in mind when building your website’s content can boost your rankings in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) significantly.”
6. Data Collection and Insights
UrVenue understands that for their customers, data collection and customer insights are really the goldmine that drive hospitality revenue. Having good data makes the conversion journey considerably more intuitive and successful.
“Ultimately, we use data to help our clients gain a clear understanding of their audience so we can optimize for providing the best guest experience,” says Alex. “Data also aids in-depth reporting and analytics that help target market to their guests. It helps our clients know what specific events, talent, and promotions are the most popular so they can better forecast, maximize profits, and keep guests coming back again and again.”
Ready to optimize your hospitality brand’s website?
When asked what UrVenue does best, Alex responded with, “With all of our combined experience, we try to marry our design thinking with business strategy so that our clients end up being successful in the future.”
Design thinking combined with business strategy is how we have been the Web Development partner of choice for almost a decade for major hospitality customers including Wynn, Resorts World, Carver Road, and more. While UrVenue is the leading hospitality technology platform that powers commerce, our Web Development Services are at the core of our partnerships with many lifestyle-based hospitality companies.
The UrVenue platform also enhances the guest experience and monetizes resort real estate by leveraging non-room inventory across all customer touchpoints in the booking and in-stay journey. UrVenue maximizes revenue-per-available-customer with its advanced booking, ticketing and presale platform built for hospitality venues: nightclubs and day clubs, restaurants and lounges, resort pools and beaches, sportsbooks, spas, special events, small group meeting rooms, recreation services, bundled experiences, and more.
Request a demo to learn more about UrVenue solutions for hospitality.