NB: This is an article from Sojern
Mobile is the primary device of online activity, representing 65% of digital media time. Hotels are right in the thick of this: according to Google, mobile hotel queries are up 49% this year. If your hotel booking experience isn’t mobile-friendly, potential guests will leave your site as soon as they arrive, driving away potential guests and direct bookings. Fortunately, with a bit of guidance, optimizing your hotel website for mobile can be easy.
To App or Not to App?
At the height of of the app-ocalypse, it seemed that everyone was creating an app just for the sake of it. While a lot of the major hotel chains have a dedicated app, it doesn’t always make sense for smaller properties because:
- In-app bookings for hotels aren’t necessarily preferred, in fact most travelers prefer to book via the mobile website.
- It’s tough to get people to use your app—Digiday says that people use a handful of apps and nearly two-thirds of users don’t download new apps frequently.
- There is a definite cost to developing and maintaining an app, often more money than it’s worth.
While apps are a valuable tool, they aren’t right for every hotel given their high cost to implement and maintain.
Build Trust by Being Mobile-Friendly
If you don’t have an “app”-etite for building your own mobile app, you can still get in the mobile game by making your own website mobile-friendly. According to Google, over two-thirds (67%) of mobile users say they’re more likely to buy a product or service when they visit a mobile-friendly site, so it’s important that your hotel website is ready for this traffic, including:
- Ensuring your hotel website site configures to the appropriate device—when someone’s on their smartphone, the mobile version should have a design that’s responsive to that device and not the desktop, for example.
- Putting yourself in your guests’ shoes. Having to pinch and zoom is annoying and tapping what you want is easier than typing. These little touches ensures the mobile user has a seamless experience on your hotel’s mobile site.
- Avoiding flash or images that create long load times for your hotel site.
Napa Valley Resort Solage Calistoga is an excellent example of a mobile-friendly experience. The desktop version of the homepage is on the left, describing their spa, and to the right, their mobile version of the same page. The information in both is presented in a easy-to-read fashion, while staying on-brand. Also, it’s clear their mobile platform is optimized because you can easily contact the hotel with the ‘call’ button or ‘book now.’
Beginning to Go Mobile
If you’re just getting started, Google has a Mobile Friendly Test for your website. Simply put in the URL, and you can see what every page of your site looks like on a phone or tablet. From there, you can begin planning your hotel website changes to make it as mobile-friendly as possible.
With the growth in mobile bookings and its increasing importance in the path to purchase, hoteliers need to make a mobile-friendly site their top priority. Giving your customers an excellent user experience means making the searching and booking process as seamless as possible across all devices.
Want to learn more about what you can do to optimize your hotel’s website? Get Sojern’s eBook Creating a Website that Converts: The Hotelier’s Guide to Driving Direct Bookings.