Countless articles come up when you Google, “how to choose a hotel” like:
Travelers are becoming increasingly tech savvy and with websites being the first impression a consumer has in their search for the perfect vacation or business trip accommodation, it’s important that their needs are met immediately. On top of that, they need to be able to finalize a booking no matter what device they’re on: desktop, tablet, or mobile.
Melissa Moody, a travel industry development manager at Google, said in an article:
“…the average consumer visits 17.2 travel websites and clicks on 4.3 search results before making a hotel reservation.”
There are so many hotels out there: capsule hotels, hostels, casino hotels, hip hotels, luxury hotels, spa hotels, luxurious spa hotels, cheap luxury hotels, modern hotels, small leading hotels, beautiful hotels, cool hotels, large hotels, small hotels, dog-friendly hotels, all-inclusive hotels, fine hotels, business hotels, extended-stay hotels, budget hotels. The list goes on and on!
We defined this by keeping our research to hotels with 10-100 room “Boutique Hotels” (which are some of the best hotels in the world!) and only those within the USA. It’s safe to assume that some of these smaller, boutique hotels don’t have the large marketing budgets or expert IT departments that large brands like Hyatt or Hilton do. Yet, maintaining their brands online visibility is equally as important.
So how do you, as a hotel owner, separate yourself from the competition? It’s important to note that you can’t be everything to every visitor who visits your site. For example, if you don’t have dog-friendly accommodations and a spa and a user is looking for a place to bring 5 dogs and get a facial – you simply won’t make the cut. But, if you are dog-friendly and have a highly rated spa, you should make sure that’s loud and clear as quickly as possible for your visitors.
Travelers these days are looking for the visual and social proof. If they’re looking for jaw-dropping views for a honeymoon, they want to see the views on your website and hear about the views in reviews from recent visitors.
Some common questions travelers are asking themselves are:
- Are there luxe amenities?
- Is this place clean?
- Does it have positive reviews?
- Are the photos Instagram worthy?
- Does the food have good reviews?
- Is the nightly rate within my budget?
- Am I getting a good deal?
- Is there a spa?
- Is there a gym?
- Is there a pool?
- What does one have over the other?
The boutique hotels that we researched for this article are:
Boutique Hotel Website Analysis
- 87% of Boutique Hotels are on social media
Coming in as the most common factor amongst these boutique hotels, social media presence is found on almost all hotel websites. Whether it’s prominently displayed in the header or dainty and faded out in the footer, having a social media presence displayed on your website is the norm.
- 83% of Boutique Hotel websites are mobile friendly
Hotel websites need to be mobile friendly so that users can book on the go. It’s not enough be partially responsive anymore. Every aspect of your website from booking to photo galleries needs to be equally user friendly on every device.
- 79% of Boutique Hotel websites advertise their Activities
- 67% of Boutique Hotel websites are secure with an SSL
Hotels should make sure that their websites are SSL secure because so much customer information is transferred: names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information is all easily stolen when websites are not secure.
- 67% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Press page
- 58% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Weddings page
- 54% of Boutique Hotel websites display Awards
Perhaps it’s more difficult to receive awards as a small hotel, but only half of these hotels prominently displayed awards.
- 46% of Boutique Hotel websites offer Packages
Packages are an enticing way to engage users on your hotel website. By putting a “Packages” page on your website, you might be able to attract more budget conscious hotel guests to learn about ways to save or bundle on their stay.
- 42% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Spa page
This is one factor that you can’t do too much about if you don’t have a spa but we included it anyways to compare the amount of boutique hotels that have spa access verses those that do not.
- 29% of Boutique Hotel websites have their city name in the Navigation
This is a very easy way to stand out as a boutique hotel – not to mention, fantastic for SEO! 70% of hotels that we compared did not list their city in the header or navigation bar and we found it very convenient on the pages that did. First of all, having a page that is dedicated to the surrounding area of your hotel is great because it provides information on local dining and attractions while also linking to other relevant activities in your area. It provides reference to the search engines and also to users.
- 29% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Groups page
Boutique hotels tend to be smaller but it’s helpful for groups traveling together to know whether they are welcome or if there are special rates available for group travelers. If your hotel is interested in hosting groups then it would be an important on page SEO step to take to put “Groups” in your header.
- 25% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Blog
We get it. Blogging takes time, but more than 70% of boutique hotels do not have a blog. Stand out from your competition and write about something relevant to your area or services a few times a month. Your guests will enjoy learning about you.
- 18% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Dining page
This was surprising. As a hotel owner, you would be in the vast minority if you listed some dining options near you on your website! You don’t have to have a 5-star restaurant in your hotel to have a dining page. Your favorite local restaurants would love a link on this page.
- 16% of Boutique Hotel websites have an Offers page
Similar to a “Packages” page, only a few boutique hotel websites have an offers page. Being smaller establishments, this might be because there is less to offer financially, but it’s still a great way to attract users to stay with you.
- 12% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Lost & Found page
This might have been our favorite finding. Isn’t it the worst when you realize that you left the hotel without your watch or your favorite pair of shoes? Isn’t it also a pain to get a hold of someone who is honest and willing to ship these items to you? We loved seeing that a handful of hotels (shoutout to The Sanctuary at Camelback and The Charmant Hotel) made it easy for guests to find lost items.
- 8% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Honeymoon page
What an easy way to please couples looking to either host their wedding in a unique location or enjoy their honeymoon. Only two hotels advertised this option.
- 4% of Boutique Hotel websites have a Tour page
4% also equals ONE hotel who has a “Tour” page on their website: Camp Wandawega! Their cheeky page states that tours are by appointment only but they provide a digital tour that seems even better. Through great photos and informative information, we felt like we went to Camp Wandawega without leaving our desks.
Have questions about hotel web design? Reach out to us! We’d love to chat.