Three Ways To Make Hospitality Websites Better
Plenty of people have spoken eloquently and hilariously about what is wrong with hospitality websites, but getting it right isn’t rocket surgery, and it shouldn’t cost you a fortune. Over the years we’ve learned a few things both through our work and because we’re a studio full of people who enjoy good food and local watering holes. Here are our three commandments of good hospitality websites:
- Mobile First: While most stats put mobile restaurant searches at around 30% of total hits, we’ve found that this can be much higher. One of our clients has reported a whopping 68% of traffic coming from mobile devices, with two thirds coming from iPhones. So while bars and restaurants should be adopting responsiveness in their websites, the story doesn’t end there.It’s not enough to ensure that a site is viewable at all screen sizes; you have to ensure that your content is organised in a way that highlights the information that mobile users need to see. Location is king, so contact details and a map should always be on the front page of your mobile site.
- Menus in the body of the site: For a long time, some designers and developers have sold the idea of downloadable PDF menus as an easy option for hospitality, but ultimately this approach isn’t great for venue owners or users.Aside from adding an extra step (Home Page → Menu Page → Menu Download) to the process, PDFs can load slowly if they’re too large and don’t re-size to fit the user’s screen. It takes a bit more effort, but any good web developer will be able to set you up with a good, easy to use CMS and teach you how to update your menus yourself as needed.
- Avoid Flash, elaborate intro pages, animations and music: While most other industries have moved on to cleaner designs that are less imposing and more user-focused, the hospitality industry still relies on tools and technologies that aren’t appropriate for a mobile first approach. Instead of providing good customer service, these technologies impose an experience that impedes the users’ ability to find the information they need on your site.
Restaurants should always try to work with designers and developers whose core concern is what people need out of a website and how to give it to them in a way that will help bring in business. Your website should create a great first impression, not frustration and missed opportunities.