The researchers specifically studied hotels in
which aim to attract western business travellers, but say their findings apply
broadly across the sector. Dr Alice Good of the University said: “Hotels that
rely upon web bookings are undoubtedly going to face a drop in bookings if they
fail to keep pace with website design and the importance of it to customers. Sri Lanka
“…poor web design impacts upon both usability and accessibility in relation to e-commerce websites, with numerous examples of companies going out of business because of poor website design. A website is the interface – the shop window – between businesses and their customers and a poor user experience will reduce the chance of a customer committing to a business transaction.
“A poorly designed website will also reduce the chances of a customer returning to the website and increase the chance that they will tell others – often through social media – very quickly about a poor experience.”
According to the study, the four key elements of good hotel website design are:
- Website usability, including using ‘accessible’ typefaces, easy and intuitive navigation and key information (which) can be found within three clicks of the mouse.
- Providing a good user experience - it should be visually pleasing and encourage users to return
- Trustworthiness - the website is safe and secure and ‘feels’ safe to customers
- Ensuring that reservations can be made online and there is an email system to facilitate customer queries
“People quickly form impressions of web security and a website that engenders a feeling of trust will inspire customers to be more confident about booking and paying online.”
So sound simple stuff that applies not only to hotels but anyone operating in the tourism and leisure sector, particularly with a web site that takes bookings or sells products and services.
Destination News UK is here