Every day new records are broken in terms of mobile usage in travel. But there is no definitive guide yet on how to turn a hotel mobile website into a successful engagement platform for mobile users.
Mobile users have a different mindset when approaching websites, therefore your hotel’s website experience must be quite different to engage them.
Mobile users are much more task-oriented than desktop users. And mobile users are either searching for local content or for a specific brand.
Mobile means smartphones, not tablets. Tablets provide an experience similar to desktops. While certain mechanisms may need to be adapted to a multi-touch experience, most websites that are optimized for 1024×768 should work well on tablets.
Considering these two factors, below are five simple tips to turn your hotel mobile website into a successful engagement platform for mobile users.
Five tips for a strong hotel mobile website
Mobile SEO matters. One little known fact: Google is dominant in mobile search (see Google mobile market share is over 97%). Hence, a mobile SEO strategy can rely on Google only. Start by ensuring that your sitemap marks your mobile pages with the “mobile” tag. Also, use Google’s mobile keywords tool to verify whether you need different content for your mobile website.
Optimize the website for low bandwidth and high latency. With the emergence of iPhone and Android, many web developers assume that mobile has become a web-friendly environment. However, mobile is still an aggressive environment where bandwidth is restricted and latency is 10x worst than using DSL. Hence, a hotel mobile website has to follow a few simple rules, the most important one being that pages should be smaller than 20KBytes. The W3 mobile validator tool identifies what is needed to optimize your mobile website.
Display the address boldly. Looking for the property’s address and directions is the top task users perform on a hotel mobile website. A whopping 1.5% of users actually check out the hotel’s location and get directions via Google Maps. Hence, the address of the properly should be highlighted and easy to click through to Google Maps on every page.
Have a click-to-call button. The second most important task users want to complete when accessing the hotel website from their mobile phone is to call the hotel. To service these users representing over 1% of mobile traffic, your hotel mobile website should display the phone number prominently and enable direct click-to-call. Note that it is critical to display phone numbers in the international format with “+” and the country code so that international users can call your hotel.
Provide a simple booking experience. Click-through-rates (CTRs) for pages that are formatted for mobile are 75% higher than pages that are not mobile-optimized. Hence, providing a multi-touch booking experience is critical to ensure that you can capitalize on your hotel’s mobile website. While mobile booking is still fairly new, an average of 1% of all mobile visitors actually book a hotel reservation using a multi-touch booking engine.