Simplify, Engage, Convert: How Gestalt Design Principles Can Help Improve Your Hotel Website


In the extremely competitive world of hospitality, your hotel’s website is more than just a digital brochure. It’s a crucial touchpoint, a first impression that can make or break a booking decision.

Here’s where the power of Gestalt psychology comes into play.

The Gestalt principles emerged in the early 20th century as a rebellion against structuralist psychology. Pioneered by Wertheimer, Koffka, and Köhler, they emphasised how our brains perceive whole patterns, rather than just individual elements.

So, at their core, Gestalt principles provide a framework for understanding how humans perceive visual elements, and applying them to your hotel website design can create a more intuitive, engaging, and ultimately conversion-driven experience.

And who wouldn’t like a few more bookings from their website?

Understanding & Applying Gestalt Principles

Gestalt principles describe how the human brain organises visual information into a cohesive whole. Within this article, we’ll be looking at some of the key principles and their application to hotel website design.

1. Proximity

Elements placed close together are perceived as belonging together.

How can you apply this to hotel website design? It may seem rather obvious, but you can create a clear visual hierarchy by following a few simple strategies:

Room categorisation – dedicate a section with clear headings for different room types (Deluxe, Suite, etc.). List amenities associated with each room under the respective category.
Booking widgets – keep your booking form as streamlined as possible. Place arrival and departure dates, guest selection, and room options close together to avoid confusion.
Clear CTA (Calls to Action) – position CTAs like ‘Book Now’ near to relevant information like room details or special offers. This reduces visual search time and actively encourages action.

2. Similarity

Elements with similar visual characteristics (colour, size, font) are perceived as related.

Maintain a sense of visual unity and consistent branding by applying a similar style across your hotel website. For example:

Colour palette: Choose a limited colour palette that reflects your brand identity and consistently use it across all pages. Highlight key elements with a contrasting colour (Call To Action buttons, hero banner text etc.).
Font style: Select a professional and easy-to-read font family. Use it consistently for headings, body text, and buttons. Maintain consistent font sizes for different elements.
Iconography and buttons: Design icons and buttons with a consistent style and theme. Maintain similar levels of detail and visual weight.

3. Figure-Ground

The brain distinguishes between a figure (foreground element) and the background.

Apply this principle by using high-contrast visuals to ensure key elements of your website stand out and capture a user’s attention. For example:

Hero imagery: Select high-resolution imagery or videography for the hero banner that showcases your hotel’s most captivating aspect(s). Importantly, ensure you use a strong contrast between the imagery and video and any text overlay for optimal readability.
Calls to Action (CTAs): Design CTAs in contrasting colours or utilise clear borders to make them visually distinctive from surrounding elements. It’s critical that these attract the eye.
Special Offers: Highlight limited-time promotions or special packages with contrasting colours or background elements to grab a user’s attention.

4. Closure

The brain has a natural tendency to fill in missing information to create a complete picture.

Here, you can have a little fun. Utilise visuals that pique curiosity and encourage a user to explore further. For example, crop an image in strategic, creative, way to create a sense of mystery and entice the user to click through and discover more.

5. Continuity

This principle centres around guiding website users with subtle visual cues, encouraging them to scroll or follow a specific user journey. This can be achieved through:

Your navigation – by creating a clear hierarchical menu with consistent spacing and visual cues (e.g. underlines, arrows, bullets) to indicate a submenu.
More visual cues – subtle lines, colour gradients and the consistent placement of elements can help to subtly guide a user towards a specific section of your website. For example, a downward pointing arrow beneath a hero image can encourage scrolling to further explore your room details.

6. Simplicity (Prägnanz)

Simplicity and clarity lead to a more easily understood design.

A straightforward principle – avoid visual clutter. Organise information clearly with concise headlines, bullet points (where appropriate) and easy-to-scan blocks of text (rather than ‘War and Peace’ style essays). Your homepage is one of the key pages to apply this principle. Focus on showcasing the most crucial information and avoid overwhelming visitors with excessive text, animation and gimmickry.

To conclude…

By implementing Gestalt design principles effectively, you can create a hotel website that is not only visually appealing but also intuitive, user-friendly, and ultimately drives conversions.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to guide users through the booking process seamlessly while creating a positive and memorable online experience.

The post Simplify, Engage, Convert: How Gestalt Design Principles Can Help Improve Your Hotel Website appeared first on Hotel Speak.

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