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Can your hotel’s website pass the “Mom Test”

Sure, the Internet and mobile devices have made communicating and shopping much easier than ever. But the fact remains: Not everyone is as comfortable with emerging technologies as they might want to be.

Suppose my company wants a state-of-the-art website to sell something trendy – handcrafted gourmet cupcakes, for example. My digital team has some great ideas based on other cupcake companies' sites, and they know what's cutting edge in digital design, so we decide to go "all in." Animated drop-down menus! Photo sliders on each page! Videos on every top-level page! And prominent social-sharing buttons so we can boost our organic social media, because we want our happy customers tweeting, Instagramming and repinning those lovely cupcakes as often as possible.

If my target demographic is Gen X'ers and Millennials who can navigate these sites effortlessly, my customers are in for a treat, and when they start ordering cupcakes by the baker's dozen, so am I.

But what if I'm a hotelier, trying to sell mature or Baby Boomer audiences on my unique vacation destinations or spa packages? In this scenario, my customers aren't all tech-savvy Millennials, and those bells and whistles may be distractions, making it harder for my would-be guests to get the information they need or book a room at my property.

And this is what we mean by making a website that passes the "Mom Test." It's easy for companies to take a "one size fits all" approach to designing a user experience. It's also tempting to throw in as many options and special features as possible when designing a website.

Think about your customers. No matter how many rooms your properties have or how many amenities you offer, is your website's user experience meeting your customers' needs?

Sabre's recent webinar, "The Holistic Hotel Website Experience," can help you understand the different personas who use your site and how to accomplish your twofold goal – maximizing conversions and minimizing abandonment.

How? First of all, ask yourself a few key questions: How personalized is your website's user experience? Does it offer ways to customize searches and views so potential customers can easily find what they're looking for? Is the interface intuitive, and is it responsive across different devices and platforms?

Last but not least, perhaps the biggest question of all: Does your website help tell your brand's story? Does it engage customers and give them reasons to choose your property over the other brands they might consider?

Asking whether your website can pass the "Mom Test" means asking these questions and really getting to know your customers, the better to understand what they expect from your digital experience.

Fortunately, a lot of the answers to these questions are already waiting for you. Sabre researchers and clients have teamed up to identify best practices for website and user experience design, based on experimentation and consumer research. Listen to the webinar today, and browse our library of resources, case studies and industry insights at sabrehospitality.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hugh_Fisher_SHS_-_thumb_180px.jpg
Hugh V. Fisher
Marketing Intern, Sabre Hospitality Solutions

A freelance journalist and digital media consultant, Hugh is pursuing an MBA at North Carolina State University’s Jenkins Graduate School of Management.

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