Does Your Website's Navigation Turn Visitors Into Guests?

Or Does It Drive Them To Your Competition?

Even the most beautifully designed websites, with all their fancy fonts, professional photos and virtual tours, can fail to convert visitors into booked guests by overlooking one crucial aspect of their website's design: navigation. Every accommodation website will have many pages with a nifty menu supporting those pages but quite often, that's it. The way in which visitors navigate through the pages is left to chance by failing to include simple navigational concepts and supporting calls to action.
Well planned navigation can turn visitors into guests

Treat Your Website's Navigation as a Tour of Your Accommodation

Just as a real estate agent selling a property would take purchasers through a property one room at a time describing features along the way, so too should you aim to do this with your website design. There are two elements which work in tandem to guide visitors through your accommodation's website: the menu and navigational prompts.

A Well Ordered Menu

Your website should have a clear top level menu ordered left to right or top to bottom in the sequence in which you want visitors to go through your pages. This sequence should answers all questions that a visitor may have about your accommodation, its features, tariffs and local attractions or activities and ultimately lead to your Booking Request or Contact Us page where they are encouraged to make a booking request. For example, the order of your menu might be "Home (page) Accommodation Things To Do Photo Gallery Prices Availability Contact Us".

Take a moment to inspect your top level menu. Does the menu include all the pages that it should or does it include too many pages some of which could be relegated to a sub menu? Are the pages in the menu ordered logically in the sequence in which you want visitors to go through your website?

Navigational Prompts and Calls to Action

Once your menu is logically ordered, the next thing to consider are your navigational prompts. A navigational prompt should appear on every page on your website and lead your visitors to the next page in your "tour". Navigational prompts can take on many forms such as hyperlinked text or buttons which, when clicked, take the visitor to the next page. These prompts normally appear at the end of the each page after the main text but depending on your website's design, they can be anywhere. Tip: be consistent with the placement of the prompts on one page to the next so that your visitors aren't left guessing as to where to go next.

Your navigational prompts should take the form of calls to action so that there is no guess work for visitors as to what you want them to look at next. Examples of calls to actions which support the example menu structure above could be "Find out more about our Accommodation...", "There are endless Things To Do...", "View our Photo Gallery...", "Check out our affordable Prices...", "Check our Availability..." or "Contact Us to make a booking...". Each call to action hyperlinks to the next page in the sequence of the tour.

When setting up your navigational prompts, it is not necessary to take visitors through every page on your website. Take them through the most important top level pages only; the pages you absolutely want to highlight in the limited time you have with each visitor. It isn't necessary to navigate through supporting or sub-pages unless those pages are a unique selling point of your accommodation. Each sub page should have a navigational prompt which leads to the next main page in the tour.

Don't leave your potential guests confused when they arrive at your website. Include a simple menu structure supported by consistent, navigational prompts and calls to action on every page and boost your bookings!

Good luck!

Christopher Van Eenoo
Australian Holiday Property Marketing Online © 2008 - 2015

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