Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of the hospitality digital marketing company, buuteeq, prior to its acquisition by Booking.com in June 2014. The opinions expressed here are specific to buuteeq, though many of the technology insights remain relevant to customers and admirers of our new business, BookingSuite, a unit of Booking.com. Visit suite.booking.com for our latest thought leadership in the hospitality digital marketing space.
From the point of view of an eager, excited, new buuteeq customer who is combing their new site for imperfections, there is often an objection when it becomes clear that there is no room for a “Home” button. How are my guests going to navigate to the homepage easily? I had to ask you how to get back to the homepage, how are my guests going to know how to get there? Many of the features on a buuteeq site, sometimes seemingly simple, have actually been meticulously designed to help our customers stay at the forefront of proper web design standards. The lack of a “Home” button is one of those.
Finding your way “Home”
Next time you are surfing the internet, keep an eye out for a home button. It will take some searching to find one and when you do, the site will most likely be outdated. The out-of-date feel doesn’t come from the actual presence of the “Home” button, but it is often present along with it. This begs the question: What is the actual purpose of having a home button?
For older sites (I’m talking pre-2008ish), the purpose was clear: The home page was the only page on the site that could lead you to any of the others. If you, as a visitor, navigated to another page, you couldn’t then reach another section of the site without returning to the homepage. You were stuck, unless there was a “Home” button.
If you observe most modern sites you visit these days, you’ll notice that the only way to get back to the homepage, is to click on the site’s logo. Notice the simple genius in Apple’s front page below and keep an eye out yourself the next time you are browsing.
Advancing the sales process
The average internet user knows to click on the logo to get back to the homepage, but there is another reason why buuteeq omits the “Home” button: Advancing the sales process.
In general, the “sales process” for a potential guest (a visitor to the site) looks like this:
- Search for lodging
- Visit hotel’s website
- Decide to bounce (leave immediately) or not
- If not: Look for relevant information required in order to be sold (Rooms, Photos, Location, Promotion information)
- Decide to book or not based on the primary booking information
This process is a fragile one because of the extremely low attention span of the average internet user (between 1 and 5 seconds). In an effort to streamline the process and to make it as simple as possible for your potential guests, it is smart to not include the complication of a home button.