The mantra of user friendly, interactive technology is one we hear constantly in today’s digital world. But what does that actually mean in the world of website design and digital marketing? Whether you are in hospitality and hotels or run a small business, it means focussing on the most important person of all: the customer, guest or “end user”.
To provide some handy user experience tips, we thought we would put the question to a handful of the Clockwork team. Here they provide some key ways to engage online customers and boost sales, along with examples from current websites that showcase the best user experiences:
"Great visuals tell a story"
“Responsive websites are an absolute must for all businesses and hotels these days. In plain English, this means your website must be viewable across various devices and adjust accordingly. The online experience must be just as enjoyable on mobile or tablet as it is on a laptop!
On the creative side of design, it is all about being visually compelling and easy to use. Great visuals tell a story, let the guest daydream and build expectations. Can they imagine themselves visiting your venue and having an amazing time?
Friendly, logical functionality is the key to guiding your users to commit. Your website must reflect how a visitor naturally wants to navigate through the information on your website, before ultimately booking. The easier it is to book, and the fewer steps required, the better!”
Clarity, visual appeal and ease of use are critical for all effective hotel websites (above: The Woolacombe Bay Hotel Website, launched this year)
"Keep your website trouble free and up to date."
“It’s really important to keep your website trouble free and up to date. Often this is where amateur sites can fall down, as they become cluttered or dated. Things like dead links, redirects and pages that take forever to load are all common website mistakes that frustrate the user.
Having someone with the right knowledge to periodically check and update your website is a big advantage here. We’re well aware that not every business has this expertise in house, which is why one of the services we offer is a website MOT. Think of a website as you think of your other technology; things are rarely static so it makes sense to keep up to date."
The dreaded 404 warning! At best this message is irritating, but it could also equate to missed sales.
"The quality of writing on your site speaks volumes about the business."
"It is often said we live in a world where images are king, but the quality of writing on your site speaks volumes about the business. This starts with engaging text that appeals to the end user. Rather than blatant selling tactics, today’s effective copy is more about telling a story, or painting an appealing picture of a product or destination from the user’s point of view. So often in the hospitality sector, this is about capturing what makes a destination different, unique and enjoyable.
How often do customers simply rock up and want a bed for the night? Smart hotels capitalise on the wider reasons guests choose to visit, whether they want to be wowed by local food, take part in their favourite activity or make a complete escape from day to day life. Blogging is one of our most valuable tools here, providing lively content to draw the reader in. Whether it is your venue’s foodie credentials, beautiful views and walks, or pastimes such as surfing, cycling or fishing, your guests will want to know about it. In a nutshell, entertaining, lively copy will earn you more site visitors and ultimately more business."
A well-written, regularly updated blog is a great way to engage with the user (above: One of Dom's recent blogs for Washingborough Hall Hotel)
"We want customers singing from the rooftops and sharing their experiences, not lost in the background."
“So often your most valuable advocates are not sales executives but your own customers these days. Using digital media can give them a voice that is personal and really powerful. At Clockwork, we are always looking for ways to keep one step ahead and project the user experience in a way that is visual and direct. Whether it is utilising social channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram we want the end user to be the voice that speaks loudest.
Social Brilliance is a new tool which collates user generated content and displays these experiences in an interactive storyboard. Some of our wedding venue websites are a prime example of this (click here for a typical user gallery with plenty of lively feedback). We want customers singing from the rooftops and sharing their experiences, not lost in the background. “
Friendly, expert marketing and web design services for hotels and businesses
From technical support to complete digital marketing solutions, Clockwork have helped a huge variety of UK hotels and businesses to thrive. With expertise from branding and market research to building top quality responsive websites, our team of specialists have the passion and knowhow to help you succeed. See the Clockwork Portfolio to view our work, or contact us directly to learn more.