We all know how important online is to a business. A fast, visually-pleasing and easy-to-use website is key to any business wanting to survive and, more importantly, succeed in today’s marketplace.
But an optimized desktop site isn’t everything.
Technology has evolved and your business needs to evolve with it. With consumers relying more on their mobiles to get things done, ensure your website isn’t just at its best when viewed from a desktop but also from a mobile device.
Potential guests are ‘looking before they are booking’ and once they have decided where they want to go, they will book via the most accessible way to them at the time, which is often via a mobile device.
According to JiWire, online travel bookings via mobile now constitute 52% of all online travel bookings made. So, for any hotel currently avoiding the mobile train, it’s best you hop on sooner rather than later as avoidance won’t be an option for much longer.
Already on the train or looking to hop on at the next stop?
If this is you, remember: The last thing you want to do is drive potential guests away by offering a poor experience. Often, slow loading pages and bad formatting that makes it difficult to enter information can be just about as useful as having no mobile site at all, as these are common points of frustration for travelers on-the-go and can ultimately lose you a lot of business.
Here are 3 tips to help you stay on top of the mobile game.
1. Integrate a mobile-friendly booking engine
It might sound simple but it’s surprising how many businesses fail to implement a mobile-friendly booking engine into their mobile-friendly website. Today’s booking engines are incredibly powerful and can integrate directly with both your website and channel management solution, via two-way integration, ensuring any direct bookings received are reflected automatically. This means inventory and rates are up-to-date at all times.
By putting a smart engine in place, you will be able to decrease time spent manually updating inventory and increase time spent on the more important things. Ultimately, you will find your direct bookings and revenue go up, while your channel commissions spent on third party sites go down.
2. Focus on a user-friendly interface and responsiveness
Design, style, branding and fast and easy-to-use features are core to any successful mobile site and/or app. If the delivery of your site forces potential guests to question your credibility and gives them reason to doubt whether it is safe to book with you on mobile, you are alienating a considerably large segment of potential customers.
In this day and age where consumers research, book and purchase on-the-go, it is fundamental to offer real-time rates and inventory and ensure your mobile website is responsive. This means it will adjust its layout, graphics and content depending on the device it’s viewed on, allowing instant access for potential guests to make direct online reservations through their mobile device.
User-friendly designs and functions are of no use if speed and connectivity are causing your customers problems. This again will lead them to turn to other sites and, in the worst-case scenario, turn to other properties with a more efficient system in place. You should aim for a load time of under five seconds per page. Mobile pages should also be less than 20 KB in size to ensure your site is quick to load.
By being on top of the above areas, and thus offering your potential guests a seamless customer experience, your mobile-optimized site can help increase direct bookings and decrease online booking channel commission costs. As importantly, you will be able to add value to bookings, build customer loyalty and give customers the ability to book while they’re on-the-go.