May 17, 2013

Hotel websites shifting to a visual-first experience


One of the most significant trends in web design this year has been a shift toward more visually-oriented layouts. Some of the edgier boutique hotel groups have jumped in front of this trend, adopting a visual-first mindset across all of their consumer-facing media, including standalone lifestyle blogs.

Boutique hotel groups like Ace Hotels, The Standard and Morgan’s are establishing the next generation of hotel trends with their product design and programming. Equally important, they’re proving it through visual storytelling on their websites and social media platforms. Their unique selling points (USPs) are not anymore described with catchy phrases but with constantly updated photos and videos across their digital channels.

Many hotel marketers are not comfortable with splitting their customer audience across two websites. Although, if done well, they can complement each other. In effect, a dedicated URL blog is just another social media space.

The best example of a single hotel website embracing a visual-first web experience is Four Seasons Hotels’ new $18 million portal, rebuilt from the ground up last year. The immediacy and impact of the hotel/destination photography site-wide sells you on the brand starting from hello.

Get the full story at the VFM Leonardo Blog