You’ve no doubt heard by now that having a mobile-friendly website is essential to your hotel business.
The statistics quite clearly back that up. TripAdvisor says that 8% of guests used a mobile device to book a hotel or other such accommodation in the past year. That might not sound like much, but it represents a doubling of the 2014 report, where just 4% made a hotel booking via mobile. A further 6% of travellers have used a mobile website, so in total 14% of travellers are now booking their hotel stays via mobile devices.
Add in the fact that sharing economy apps, such as Airbnb and Uber, are very popular (and mobile-friendly), and the trend is clear; those hotels that don’t have a quality mobile website will be missing out on a lot of potential guests, as those customers that are booking via a mobile device will simply look for a hotel that can offer this kind of experience.
Google is making this a major factor in the way it delivers search results. For SEO purposes, those websites that want to be easily found when a user searches for them through Google must have a customised mobile website. This is a new rule that Google brought in recently, and caught a lot of businesses initially by surprise. They suddenly found that Google traffic was instead going to their rival’s websites, which were optimised and fully mobile-ready.
But given that web design itself can be an expensive proposition, the idea of having to develop a mobile website as well can be intimidating, because the requirements of a good mobile website are different to the requirements of a website built to be viewed on a desktop computer screen.
Here are three key things you should get right with your mobile website:
Information presented cleanly and efficiently
Unlike with a standard website design, your visitors are not likely to have much time for reading large amounts of text. A good mobile website should cut to the chase quickly, providing the customer with the key information they need to know immediately – giving them easy, instant access to important functions on the website (such as your internet booking engine) immediately after loading the page. Create a website that brings together only the things your guests need to make a booking decision online, and remove all the noise that turns them away.
Simple and responsive navigation
A mobile website also needs to have a strong focus on a user interface (or UI) specifically designed for mobile. How many times have you tried to click on a link on your mobile phone, only to accidentally press the wrong one, and be taken to a completely different page? A good mobile website spaces out links, text, buttons and images efficiently, despite the small screen real estate, to make it easy for the customer to navigate around the website.
Easy access to your hotel’s contact details
A good mobile website should also make it easy for the customer to contact the business from within the website. A phone button is essential, as it allows a customer to contact the hotel for further information if they can’t find what they are looking for (instantly) through the website. Maps integration is also a good idea, as it helps the customer research the hotel’s location and how much time it takes to get there.
For most hoteliers, the need for a responsive website, which takes the content of the ‘main’ website and repurposes it to display in a clean layout on mobile devices, helps boost bookings from travellers looking for somewhere to stay at the last moment.
Take a look at these three examples of responsive websites created by SiteMinder’s Canvas – you can visit The Tropical Paradise, The Classic Beauty, and The Metropolis. If you’re viewing on a desktop computer, adjust the size of your web browser to see how the website contents move into place. Or simply try it out on a mobile device.
Knowing where to get started with creating a mobile website can be hard work if you don’t have the time, skills, or resources to do so. Without needing to know any coding (or hire an expensive web designer), each website created through Canvas is fully-responsive, meaning that every hotel immediately gains the benefits of the additional traffic and revenue from mobile users, without any additional work on their part.
It’s just one of the ways your hotel can get on-board with the mobile revolution.