Did you know that mobile search has grown 400% in the past year?
38% of leisure and 57% of business travelers use their mobile devices to research, shop, book, and share their travel experiences (Google and Ipsos Media). And just in case you think that your website visitors will be satisfied with a mobile compatible website, where you merely shrink down your regular website to fit the device, you are mistaken. The first thing to understand about providing your guests with the best possible mobile experience is the difference between a mobile optimized website and a mobile compatible website.
A mobile optimized site is a website designed specifically for a Smartphone; it is built for speed and efficiency. Your images and videos load quickly, your copy is short form and quick for the researcher to read, and the site has tap-to-call, and tap-to-email features, as well as a map and booking links on every page. This assists in speedy reservations for guests as soon as they have made their decisions. Once your mobile visitor has made her decision, she wants to book now – right now! In a recent travelweekly.co.uk article, Google stated, “Customers now have a greater expectation [with] sites [that] load fast, and have less patience with those that don’t.” Therefore, unless you have all the functions listed above, and they are speedy, statistics suggest that you stand to lose 61% of your visitors. This could have a significant impact upon your room nights filled. Usually, a mobile optimized website has either tabs or icons on the home page, leading your reader to pages that contain the above essential travel shopping functions as well as access to your social media channels so that she can immediately share her experiences with her friends.
A mobile compatible website, on the other hand, simply shrinks down the regular website, so that when your guests are on a mobile device such as a Smartphone, they need to pinch and swipe to expand the font and find the navigation links. A mobile compatible site contains the necessary features, but they are minuscule and often difficult to read. When potential guests visit sites such as these, 61% will not even stay and try to read it; they are busy, and may immediately go off to your competitor with an optimized site. Speed and ease is of the essence to mobile users, so you had better provide it! The following image illustrates the difference between Mobile Optimized and Mobile Compatible:
|You can view in both landscape and portrait modes||Can only be viewed in one direction|
|Screen dimensions are correct for mobile, and has easy to click large navigation buttons||Users need to scroll and swipe to see all copy, and links are small and difficult to click|
|Video and Image ‘tours’ load quickly||Media is slow to load|
|Can easily use swipe or zoom||Designed for PC users, not mobile users, making it clumsy|
|Click to email and click to call incorporated||Links to connect with hotel not clearly defined|
|Text is large and readable and short-copy is usually bulleted for ease||Text is tiny and difficult to read with long paragraphs of copy|
|Contains links to a mobile optimizedbooking engine (on every page if possible), making the process quick and easy||No clear links to any kind of booking engine, so the booking process is not simple to find or complete|
|Links to social media sites are easy to find on the main screen||Links to social media sites are difficult to find and usually “below the fold” (i.e. off the main page)|
|Easy to navigate||Difficult to navigate|
Bottom Line with Optimized Mobile
When your hotel has an optimized website, you and your potential guests will find that it is much easier to use and navigate than a compatible site. But the main outcomes that you will discover are lower bounce rates, along with higher engagement rates. Next time we will discuss how you can implement and optimize your hotel’s mobile strategy.