5 Best Practices to Follow When Redesigning a Website for International Travelers
A website redesign is a common way to keep your hotel’s brand image fresh and attractive to guests. It’s also a good opportunity to leverage additional technologies and best practices that improve the user experience and increase conversions.
Website translation is one such best practice and it can be practically effortless to incorporate into a redesign project. The world-class experiences it offers international guests can generate previously untapped conversions and revenue.
Here are several best practices you can follow as you redesign your site to make implementing website localization even easier and more affordable.
Planning for Word Growth
When you translate text from English to other languages, the localized content can take up to 40 percent more on-screen space, depending on the language. This phenomenon is called “word growth” or “word expansion.”
This normal side effect of translation can create issues on localized websites. When text is much longer than the space allocated by in the original website design, it can create a messy, unprofessional look and a poor user experience. Narrow UX elements such as drop-down menus are often affected by word growth.
Mitigate the impact of word growth with a dynamic, flexible template that allows word wrap in text boxes. You can also minimize word growth by translating content for its expression and intent, rather than its literal translation.
Cost-Saving Tips for Image Translation
All hotel sites are rich with imagery and photography, and an immersive customer experience often depends on compelling visuals. But localizing them can be tricky.
Embedded text in flattened image files (such as .jpgs) can be difficult to detect. In these cases, the images’ text will remain untranslated, and your international guests will see a mixed-language online experience that undermines your brand’s credibility.
A smart solution: Externalizing this text from images by using a solution like Scene7/Adobe Dynamic. Detecting this externalized text is technically easy, and translating it takes less time—and costs less, too. Additionally, externalized text can be detected by search engines, and may have an SEO benefit.
Localize for Regional Preferences
Your global guests want to feel like your website was built especially for them. You can achieve this by identifying elements to localize, such as contact information for where they can get assistance in their language, or displaying currency, dates, room sizes and other details in locally preferred formats.
Guests also need to know about offers or seasonal content that’s specifically relevant to them. Localization allows you to deliver the most relevant local content, such as market-specific promotions, or highlight regionally-popular destinations.
Be Ready for Multilingual Data
Your international guests are likely more comfortable booking their stays in their preferred languages. That means they’d like to input their names, addresses and other information into forms in their native written scripts. This can be difficult, however, for languages that use non-Latin scripts, such as Arabic, Chinese or Russian.
Forms and databases that don’t recognize these special characters can turn the input into unreadable gibberish, which compromises your brand’s reputation and can discourage potential guests from booking at all.
Sidestep these risks by using input forms compatible with non-Latin scripts—especially dual-byte characters such as Chinese—and make sure your database is ready to capture multilingual content.
Leverage Localization Technologies
The best way to prepare for a combined redesign and website translation project is to find a technology-based translation solution with the tools and expertise to reduce costs and effort.
Look for translation solutions that:
- Hire only industry-leading linguists who are experts in your industry and brand, and experienced with authentic localization for your target customers
- Leverage the code and content of your website, eliminating the duplication of work
- Translate content in any programming language, including interactive, dynamic content
- Can detect and translate images, videos, PDFs and multichannel content
- Translate content on third-party platforms, like booking engines
- Operate independently of your CMS and other technologies, making your website future-proof during updates, redesigns and re-platforming projects
Website redesigns paired with translation projects present an opportunity to accelerate growth in global markets with engaging, authentic experience, and leverage the latest technology solutions. Following web design best practices and utilizing modern translation vendors streamline redesigns, allowing you to focus on pleasing guests worldwide.
Craig is an innovator of Global Go-To-Market strategies, frameworks and execution, and is an expert in helping organizations serve customers around the world. He is currently EVP of Global Sales and Marketing at MotionPoint, a company that solves the operational complexity and cost of website localization.