The mobile-friendly message has well and truly been trumpeted to hoteliers by now, with undeniable evidence suggesting it’s key to capturing traveller bookings.
Just in case you need more convincing or haven’t kept up with your reading, here’s a statistical reminder that mobile browsing and shopping is here to stay:
- 80% of web users own a smartphone
- Mobile traffic data consumption grew by 74% in 2015 alone
- More than one billion mobile devices were sold in 2015
- In hospitality, mobile bookings have increased by 1,700% in just four years
- In 2017 people are five times more likely to leave a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly
So it’s clear that travellers are embracing the mobile age. And millennials are an especially active group, who love to not only shop on their mobile, but share their discoveries and experiences.
It’s one thing to be aware of the increasing mobile trends, it’s quite another to provide an optimal online experience for travellers searching for accommodation.
There are many elements you need to get right to make sure your website will function perfectly on mobile devices. If you don’t, people will abandon their booking.
What annoys consumers on your hotel’s mobile site?
If your current website isn’t optimised for mobile, there is a lot of potential bugs that will irk consumers. Here are just a few examples:
- Small, hard-to-read text that forces users to zoom in and out
- Large images that load slowly
- Small links that are difficult to click
- Lack of ability to quickly connect to your property directly
- Pages that don’t fit the screen and cause people to scroll unnecessarily
Mobile users are very goal oriented. They want a responsive website so they can get things done quickly and without confusion.
If they can’t clearly see your call to actions or access the areas of your site they deem relevant, you’ll lose their business before you ever had it.
What should you do to make your hotel website mobile-friendly?
Ultimately the goal is to create a website that has a fluid, responsive design which is easy to navigate. You need to build a site that can adapt to any device. For mobile users it will mean:
- They don’t have to pinch, scroll, or zoom to see information
- Font is legible and content is concise
- The use of Adobe Flash and pop-ups are limited
- Click-to-call functionality is enabled
- Google Maps is integrated so people can find their way to and from your hotel
- Your logo is linked so it’s simple to return to the homepage
- There’s an easily accessible search bar and date calendar
- Forms are auto-filled for returning visitors
- There is contrast between images and colours that make the site beautiful
In the end, what this adds up to is convenience and speed. In the modern day, people seem to have less time on their hands so being able to perform actions, like hotel booking on the fly, is vital. And technological advancements have taught them to expect nothing less from hoteliers.
How do you create a mobile-friendly website?
The first thing you need to do is take a moment and understand all the things travellers want from a mobile browsing experience, then you need to take a mobile-first approach to your website design. If you design for mobile first, you can always add additional content later to suit your desktop version.
A handy hint to remember is that you shouldn’t create a separate mobile site designed just for smartphones. This will be frowned upon by search engines.
It’s better to have one agile website that adapts to all devices. You should also test your website on a variety of mobile devices to ensure every traveller will receive a satisfactory experience. Both Google and Bing offer these services.
If becoming mobile-friendly seems complex you’ll likely want to hire a web designer to do it for you but there is another, cheaper, more efficient option.
Consider investing in smart, intuitive, website building software. These tools will do all the hard work for you, giving you a mobile-friendly site in a matter of hours. The best thing is that a product like SiteMinder’s Canvas will always stay current with automatic updates.
You’ll still be able to control how your website looks and feels to a user, but the process is much simpler and quicker for you, meaning you can place more attention on the physical traffic it drives rather than ironing out any kinks in your site’s functionality.