The world has gone mobile and your guests expect your property to have a seamless Internet experience. From desktop to phone to tablet, your website should work well on any device. Consumers do not simply want a mobile experience, they demand it. It may be overwhelming to figure out what type of mobile experience your guests actually want or expect. From mobile enhanced websites to fully optimized mobile applications, there are a myriad of mobile solutions.
Mobile online activity increased 125% in 2014 and is expected to grow beyond that this year. (source) Consumers are spending more time online and have become accustomed to tailored mobile experiences. Endless mobile applications, mobile websites, and social media are to blame for the influx of mobile activity. However, mobile browsing offers many touch points for hotels to reach their guests.
Leonardo, a hospitality marketing solution company, reported on the travel digital landscape earlier this year. They reported that 57% of leisure travelers started their search on mobile, while 64% of business travelers started their search on mobile. That is a lot of people. When a guest begins their search on mobile, it does not mean they will book the property via online tools. But, the discovery, research and decision steps will likely happen online.
Leonardo also reported that 61% of users abandon non-optimized websites. If a guest reaches your website only to find a miniature, hard-to-read version it is more likely than not that they will leave. This abandonment can result in a huge loss of sales for you and your property over time. Harnessing mobile means that you can capture more mobile browsing customers and increase your bookings.
On top of satisfying guests, you also need to satisfy Google and their search algorithms. According to Search Engine Land, on April 21, 2015 Google released a mobile-friendly algorithm cheekily named Mobilegeddon. Google designed the update to give precedence to mobile-friendly websites when you search on Google with a mobile device. That means if your website is not mobile optimized, it will no longer appear in Google mobile search results. Very important if you are targeting guests in 2015. If you do not know if your site is mobile friendly, use Google’s mobile tester here.
Google also bases their rankings on factors such as mobile site design, website load times, and long website downtimes. (source)
If you know your site is not mobile optimized or want to learn more about the different types of mobile solutions, check out the list below:
The differences between responsive websites and adaptive websites are small but meaningful. Check out this article from Fast Company for a graphic demonstration of each.
In addition, your regular site will still require a mobile site because guests will not know about your app initially. Mobile applications also do not rank in google searches, so simply from a SEO standpoint, a mobile app needs to accompany a mobile-optimized website.
Our recommendation goes in order of the list. A responsive site offers the best utility and design options. Second, adaptive design offers many design options, but may be a bit clunky in utility. Third, a static mobile site is a better option than none. And lastly, a mobile app is a good add-on if you have the resources.
Contact your current web developer to help you implement one of these mobile website options. Costs will vary by the complexities of your existing site and your preferences.
Deciding which mobile solution to enable is only part of the process. We included some tips from CIO on how to implement a great mobile website:
Mobile marketing is much more than forging a mobile-optimized web presence using industry best practices. There are many more things you can do to supercharge your mobile marketing efforts. Additional marketing tactics include social media (see our previous blog post), content marketing, testing Facebook’s new beacons, and much more. We look forward to exploring these topics in the near future.