Design Trends of Spa Websites
Inspired by a showcase on hotel site design over at Onextrapixel, this post will explore the design trends and features of well designed spa websites.
Hotels and spas tend to go together. As shown by some of the examples featured in this post, spas are often one of several amenities offered besides standard hotel rooms. As a result, the spa is often a micro-site within the hotel or resort page. While some of the trends to hotel design carry over (e.g. highly visual photography), the target audience is more specific than that of the average hotel.
We’ll start with a brief crash course in spas. To understand the goals of spa websites, you have to understand the background. Why do spas exist? The spa is an outlet for relaxation and escape from schedules. Business meetings and internet access take a backseat to massage tables and aroma therapy.
They come in several formats: day spas are (as the name suggests) a single day adventure, while destination spas are multiple days in a hotel-like environment. These are the two main “recreational” types, but it is also possible to have spas with medical staff for more involved procedures.
For the average person, spas are not an everyday event. A trip to a spa is a special treat. Help them feel luxurious before even setting foot in the door. This is where the website comes in.
Components of a Great Spa Design
Across the board, several main trends came up when researching spa’s websites for this post. Let’s start with the big idea:
You Want to be Here
There are massage parlors in malls and shopping outlets all over the world. Why should a person come here instead?
Environment matters, so sell the location! Would you rather read about an outdoor hot tub or see it in action? Pictures of the building and facilities help demonstrate a unique atmosphere that won’t be so easy to duplicate elsewhere. Consider the room in the picture above. How many words would you need to describe it with the same impact as the photo?
Keep Calm & Collected
These sites describe a luxury service. Page copy keeps this in mind by appealing to physical pleasures rather than business-like intelligence. Read any of the pages on sites listed below, and you’ll know in an instant that they want you to feel amazing. Take a look at a couple page excerpts:
A sanctuary from the pressures of everyday living, our dedicated aim is to purify and detoxify, promote well being, and leave you feeling totally at one with yourself. (Mayflower Inn Spa)
A world where you are unique and special. This spa in Melbourne will greet you with plush interiors with exquisite furnishings and welcoming hues of green and pink. Let soothing music fill you as you sip your aromatic herbal tea. (Calma Medispa)
Anxious to find one near you now? Thought so.
Subdued Color Palettes
Subdued and cool colors are associated with relaxation and feelings of calm. Expect to see shades of whites, blues, and other faded palettes. The comfort level from soft colors at the physical location is extended to the site too.
Successful spa websites are highly visual designs. Miles of descriptive text won’t give the same message of relation that a candlelit room does. Images that are considered “peaceful” (e.g. clouds) are commonly used to express this feeling of calm.
Shopping for Relaxation
Most of the researched spa sites have itemized lists of available services. Even though day spas are full experiences, customers are able to select a variety of activities based on their preference and budget. Since these prices are relatively fixed for each customer, it’s good practice to have common service prices available on the website.
Examples in Spa Site Design
Below are 15 spa sites that represent a wide range of current design trends. Click on an image to view the full site.
As it turns out, good spa website design is not easy to find. It’s interesting to see luxury spas with dated websites, especially because of the high class environment. Web designers with spa experience, you have your work cut out for you.
Biggest lesson learned from spa design trends? When in doubt, show someone in a towel. If you remember that, you’ll be perfectly fine.
What elements of these sites do you think make them most successful? Notice any other important trends? Do you know of any outstanding ones that weren’t mentioned here? Leave your thoughts and links in the comments below.