How and Why You Should Create a Visual Website
The travel and hospitality industry isn’t the only one moving towards visually-driven websites. All industries are seeing a shift to websites which feature large, high resolution images, letting visuals (and accompanying text) tell the story.
Why Should Your Site Be Visually-Driven?
Visually-driven websites are definitely a cut above text heavy webpages of the past where everything was explained instead of shown. However, times have changed and the people have spoken – they want visuals and they want them now. With the advent of snackable content on social media sites, consumer attention spans have dipped over time to a surprisingly low average of eight seconds. Meaning that you can’t effectively reach travel shoppers with plain text anymore, you need photos, videos, and virtual tours to truly amplify your hotel’s story online and make an impact. In fact, 90% of all information that gets transmitted to our brains is visual.
Join the Shift
The shift towards creating a visually-driven online experience isn’t coming out of left field, it’s being implemented across the web right now, especially when you take into account that 65% of the population are visual learners. Almost all of the most popular social media sites, for instance, have moved to a stronger visual approach in the past few years because they understand the potential of photos and videos on their growth:
The shift isn’t limited to social media channels, it’s being implemented across the web in multiple industries (especially travel!):
Virgin-Atlantic uses a visually enticing and vibrant web interface.
Four Seasons structures the upper fold of their wesbite with compelling images.
Practical Tips for Hotel Marketers
Now that it’s clear that visually-driven websites are the way of the future, you might find yourself asking “What could I actually do now?” Start taking advantage of visual storytelling with these simple tips:
1. Greet users with large, high quality images. Make sure the first thing users see when they reach your website are stunning visuals that begin to tell your hotel’s story. These images are what initially hook travel shoppers into spending more time on your website, and ultimately booking. Humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. On a subconscious level, people prefer to interact with visuals over plain text. Hotel Galvez is a great example of a hotel website that really captures the beauty of their property and the amenities within it.
2. Create a gallery of photos on your website. This is a fantastic way to quickly show guests why they should be staying in your hotel over the competition. Aim to use professional photography where possible, but you can supplement professional photos with user-generated content. A master at crowdsourcing their guests’ unique images is the Freehand Miami hostel, who curate their media with Instagram.
3. Make sure your media accurately represents your story. Don’t forget that you have the power to pick and choose which photos are uploaded to your online gallery and homepage – don’t just upload every single photo of your hotel, be selective. Transforming your content into great stories can be a challenge, but the best way to start is to keep it simple. Consider the season, local attractions, or any special events when improving your website:
a. If it’s summertime, you can show off your pool, outdoor recreational activities, the local amusement park, beach or zoo—basically any local summertime hotspot.
b. If you host a lot of weddings, consider a natural flow of photos and videos: happy newlywed couples, your ballroom—empty, decorated, and then filled with guests, a romantic nearby garden at sunset, and so on.
c. Create a dedicated page with special upcoming events in your destination. Update it once a week with interesting content and photos that are sourced from the event creators.
Showcasing distinct stories, through a visually driven website, can give travel shoppers the opportunity to see themselves in your stories, giving them an authentic feel of what their vacation at your hotel will be like.
Download our free eBook Anatomy of a Visual First Website Experience: Best Practices for Hotel Marketers to learn even more on how to get your hotel website into shape through visual optimization!