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COVID-19 has caused many to reflect upon the fundamental operations of our global society and our day-to-day lives, including the way we travel. In hospitality, many are wondering how an industry that is so reliant on personal interactions can recover from the crisis and earn back guest confidence.

Lessons from The Last Dance
Posted: 08/10/2020

I don’t know about you, but I loved watching The Last Dance, the story of Michael Jordan & The Chicago Bulls' last season together and their journey to their 6th championship, and second triple win (3 years back to back, twice).

With the news cycle laser-focused on the looming threat of a COVID-19 second wave happening in nearly every territory, it is up to each and every hotel to ensure we are all fully compliant with virus safety guidelines in order to restore group booking confidence. And the only way to ensure compliance with these safety guidelines is through contactless and compliance technologies to give guests a strong guarantee of proper sanitization as well as peace of mind.

A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

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Mistakes Most Business Owners Make With Website Design

by Nimesh Dinubhai
It is estimated that a website is born every eight seconds, which means you will have about 324,000 new websites in front of you in one month. Unfortunately, not all these websites achieve what they want to. Website designing is a tricky art not many have mastered. It's not about using some simple or sometimes not-so-simple codes to display a jumbled up mess of content.

Some designers are worth their money because they know what to do to create a compelling website, but they fail often because they don't know much about the web design mistakes to avoid. The following are the mistakes that keep small business websites from creating a good impact.

1. No Clear Calls to Action

In order to make their sites look informative, some small business websites will look no different from a bland business brochure with nothing but extended descriptive paragraphs. Driving traffic to your website is always important but you will lose them all if you're not leading your users to contact you, buy a product, subscribe, or commit to another action. A call-to-action button buried in text is not a good thing either. Imagine how a hotel's website can get more guests if it shares nothing about what a potential guest should do after getting on the website. Pay attention to the color, shape, text and position of your call-to-action to make it more effective.

Did you know online users don't read more than quarter (28 percent) of the content they see on your site?

2. Weak Visual Content Hierarchy

The ultimate goal of your visual design should be to communicate, and how you prioritize and organize different elements will determine how effectively you manage to convey valuable information. Visual hierarchy reinforces your message, supports comprehension and takes your visitor through your story. A large majority of online users scan websites in an "F" shape. Therefore, paying attention to visual content hierarchy lets you share important info first to make it easy for your user to sift through relevant info quickly. A logical content hierarchy should work as a guide through different pages and create a more satisfying and enjoyable user experience.

Did you know 70 percent of online users look at lists with bulleted points?

3. Design Too Flashy

The success of your website and business will depend on how you market your website – not on how flashy the design is. Flashy sites are distracting, and they don't look great on mobile phone devices. If it's too flashy, it's probably slower as well. The New York Times reports suggest that most people will abandon your site if it doesn't load completely in three seconds. Flash-based graphics and animations aren't going to help you achieve this target.

Did you know the website bounce rate goes to 100 percent when a page takes four seconds or more to load and spikes to 150 percent with a page taking eight seconds or more to load?

4. Trying to Target Everyone

This design mistake stems from the idea of accommodating every kind of visitor that might end up hitting the website. The inability to determine target audience or target market leads to this issue. Websites work better when they focus on its most frequent users and plan everything to provide those visitors the best possible experience. If your website's target audience is older, you may benefit from selecting a larger font size. Similarly, if your target audience revolves around young people, you may want to pay more attention to making your site smartphone compatible, especially considering that local mobile searches will reach 85.9 billion by 2015. Many websites fail when they try to please masses and end up pleasing no one.

5. Being Overly Creative and Leaving Visitors Confused

Don't challenge a well-established design principle just for the sake of gimmick. Using great graphics is a great way of catching the visual attention, but some small business websites try to be overly creative and use too much of graphics that leave their websites slow and confusing. Similarly, a call-to-action is important, but overdoing with multiple, competing calls to actions on each page will confuse your reader. Define a clear objective per page and then guide people into making a move.

Did you know colors of your website can increase web recognition by 80 percent, with dark color schemes increasing growth by 2 percent and sites with lighter color schemes experiencing 1.3 percent growth?

Do you find any of these mistakes on your website? It is important to mention that for about 48 percent of online users, a website's design is the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business. Be sure to revisit your page because even the simple goof ups will make your visitors irritated and an irritated visitor is generally a lost customer.

About The Author
Nimesh Dinubhai

Nimesh Dinubhai completed his studies in 2003 and launched Websrefresh to help businesses grow their ROI. He also owns two Arizona hotels, one of which earned the Historical Hotel Award in 2014.

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