November 27, 2012

Trends in hotel website design

Hotel marketers and room distributors are overhauling their online presence to steal market share by better understanding today's travelers and presenting them with the best choices online.

Many online travel experts consider the marketplace mature, meaning the growth rate by which travel consumers have shifted from offline to online already has peaked. At this stage, many argue, online travel companies have experienced phenomenal growth. But moving forward, growth is going to be much more difficult.

“There aren’t going to be many more users coming on board,” said Carroll Rheem, senior director of research for PhoCusWright, during a webinar titled “Personalizing the Online Travel Experience” held last month. “Early success factors of having great inventory and pulling all the pieces together not are just enough.”

What determines the winners from the losers moving forward, Rheem said, is whether they are successful at building relationships and personalizing the online travel-buying experience.

Personalizing a user’s online experience primarily means learning the demographics of the website’s audience and tailoring content and options to connect guests with exactly what they’re looking for. One high-level example is determining when a user is accessing the site via a mobile device and delivering content and design that takes advantage of that space. Building location-based maps into apps is another example.

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