Information architecture is a rich field for study and one you should definitely understand in order to improve your hotel’s visibility on the WWW.
IA, in a nutshell, is a combination of science and art. The science of organizing information and the art of making that organization as pleasing as possible for the information consumer.
It’d be really pretentious to attempt a full explanation of Information Architecture in a short post. Thus, we’ll present a short checklist of common IA bloopers.
The site should have a clearly defined section for global navigation, the same on every page.
Local navigation must be exactly what the name implies: local. Don’t mix local and global. Don’t place the breakfast menu on the menu bar of the “About Us” page.
Important things should stand out more. Gradually reduce font size and weight as you walk down the importance hierarchy. The manager’s name should not stand out more than the hotel logo and slogan.
Don’t present the entire hotel on the first page. Flat sites are confusing.
Make sure things are categorized correctly. The hotel breakfast menu should be under the restaurant, which should be under services or description of your premises. This is a flexible rule, and you may adapt to your preference. You could link directly to the breakfast menu from several places, but visitors surely expect that menu to be under the restaurant section.
Don’t negatively surprise visitors. Information architecture is meant to lead the visitor to logically connected subjects. If the user is unable to reach the photo gallery from the room description page, that is a negative surprise. You don’t often get 3 negative strikes before you’re out. The next hotel is just a click away.
It is important that information architecture become a full part of your online hotel marketing strategy. Users should find it intuitive to navigate your site. Their visit is a privilege, don’t take your online customers for granted.