Last time we talked about the huge growth in the use of mobile devices by travel shoppers. We discussed the benefits of using a mobile optimized website versus a mobile compatible site, where the pages are the same as a full size website and simply minimized. It is no surprise that shoppers will skip over mobile websites that are not optimized, when they have to scroll and swipe through long paragraphs of copy, wait for the visuals that load slowly, and experience difficulty clicking the tiny links to booking engines and social media sites.
It is time to ramp up your mobile marketing strategies
To maintain your market share of the nearly 47% of people who begin their travel planning on a smartphone, your job is to make sure that they easily find all the information they need on your mobile website so that they do not leave.
As you are designing your optimized website, you should base the tabs on the research that shoppers are completing before they make their travel decisions. Each of the following areas will have its own tab (or page), and the tabs are placed vertically on the smartphone mobile optimized website – see below.
Enable your shoppers to imagine themselves in your hotel. Provide clear, compelling, and accurate visuals such as videos, virtual 360° tours, and images that load quickly and are visible in portrait and landscape modes.
Services and amenities descriptions
Remember to keep your copy short and succinct, saying clearly what you need to say in as few words as possible. Use a font that will be easy to read on the various mobile devices.
Special offer promotions
Encourage your visitor to book immediately by providing mobile-only specials.
Easy actions for your traveler
Provide a link on your site to a mobile optimized booking engine by including Book Now buttons on each page of your mobile site, and make sure that the buttons are linked to your current special offer.
Supply click-to-call and email tabs to allow guests easy connection with you. You should also provide your address, and consider access to an interactive map.
Your mobile visitors want to connect with their friends to share and discuss your site. Make sure you give them this capability.
Screen size and other important considerations
Travel shoppers use different sized devices from smartphones, to small tablets and larger tablets. Consider all screen sizes, and make the most of the larger screens with a column or even two, by providing the appropriate navigation for each. The illustration below is from a small tablet.
As you design your mobile optimized website, remember to take into account the different operating systems of the myriad devices your shoppers use.
Make it easy to update your mobile website as you have new information or special offers to promote.
A caution about navigation
As we were reviewing some mobile optimized websites, we discovered sites where it was impossible to navigate back to home from some of the tabs (pages). To provide your shopper with the best possible experience, ensure your navigation goes in both directions.
It is just as important to select appropriate keywords on your mobile site, as it is on your full size website, so make sure to perform keyword searches to discover what your mobile user is looking for. As you analyze your trends over several devices, you will be able to revise and tweak your site so that it performs well over all mobile devices.