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How can hotel groups increase mobile revenue with a scalable responsive website?

By Lisa Shields

07 : 59h

Having a scalable, responsive website design has never been so important for hotels. According to AdWords, Google searches made through mobile devices outnumber those done on desktops or laptops in 10 countries. Responsiveness of a website has become not just a “nice-to-have” but a must-have, so it’s crucial for hotels to create a mobile friendly website.

In order to understand whether your hotel’s website is responsive,  make sure to ask yourself questions like what do you see when you enter your hotel’s website through a mobile phone?, is it easy to make reservations, find directions or make a call? Do you force your potential customers with mobile devices to navigate through your standard website, which is designed only for large computer screens?

If your customers are still zooming and scrolling through your standard website on their mobile phones, then you are definitely losing revenue because of your website’s awful mobile experience. If it is too difficult for someone to navigate through your website on mobile, then, the probability that he/she will go to your competitors’ websites greatly increases.

Here is the difference you will notice on your mobile phone between a standard website and mobile-optimized website. As you can clearly see, the mobile optimized website is much easier for reading and navigating.

As an hotelier, having the opportunity to effectively interact with your potential customers on their mobile devices can have a huge impact on your revenue. The reason is that unlike computers and laptops, people are connected with their smartphones all the time. According to Time, an average person looks at his/her phone 46 times a day.  Just think about it for a moment. If you are a smartphone owner, when was the last time you checked it? The chances that it was no more than 10 minutes ago are really high. Our smartphones are with us at all times: while eating, sleeping, working and so on. This brings a lot of opportunities for hotel marketers to advertise their hotels to their target customers.

There are a couple of ways to satisfy the needs of your mobile customers. For example, hotels can provide a separate mobile version of their website, but it can be really expensive and inefficient to design and manage two websites at the same time. The more efficient way is to create a responsive website. Responsiveness refers to building a website that creates the right viewing experience based on the type of device that is used. This means that different users will get different customized versions of your website based on their devices’ screen size, orientation, and type (Android, OS, etc.)

To prove the effectiveness of a hotel’s mobile responsive website, here are some important facts to take into account:

  • According to Google, those companies that have difficult to navigate websites experience 61 % decline in traffic. Hotels are 68 % more likely to increase their revenue if they provide enjoyable experiences on their websites.
  • According to Tnooz, 1 in 8 bookings at smaller hotels is done through mobile devices.
  • In general, about 72 % of people use their phones to search online for products and 27 % use them to make purchases.
  • According to HebsDigital, about 62 % of mobile users will quickly move on to another website if they visit a non-responsive website. In this case, not only your potential customers are being turned away from you, but also they are going directly to your competitors.
  • According to HebsDigital,  mobile reservations  grew  by 85 % and revenue increased  by 121% during the past year.


How can hotel groups increase mobile revenue with a scalable responsive website?

If we look at these mobile statistics, we can conclude that the more enjoyable the mobile experience is, the more likely that your conversion rate will increase. People look at the website’s visual appeal, usability and the overall experience when they make judgments on the trustworthiness of the website. Responsive website design will allow for much faster loading times, which will increase the overall quality of user experience.

Here are some useful tips to take into account when creating a mobile-optimized hotel website:

  1. Show only the most important content: Mobile users tend to navigate differently than non-mobile ones. Things like directions, contact information, room availability and prices are some of the most important things mobile users might want to see on your site. According to the USA today, the Vice President of Marriott eMarketing Andrew Kauffman stated that about half of Marriott’s mobile reservations are same-day bookings. This means that mobile guests are most likely to use their smartphones to look at the photos of the rooms, review accommodation options, call the hotel, book rooms and find directions. This means that on your mobile website you need to have only those elements that can quickly and clearly address the needs of your customers.
  2. Avoid Adobe Flash: Many smartphones including iPhone don't display Adobe Flash content. Instead, the Flash content shows up as a big grey box in the middle of the screen. So, when adding Flash slideshow on your homepage, keep in mind that mobile users will never see it. Alternatives like HTML5 and jQuery can be used to replace the beauty of Adobe Flash.
  3. Make links larger and “fat-finger-friendly”: Small links on mobile devices can create problems for your mobile users. For instance, there are many navigation bars that have links listed closed to each other. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, then you can easily click on the wrong link. Shoppers tend to get frustrated with having to constantly go back and try again the same thing. So, make sure that you make your links larger in the website design.
  4. Avoid long forms: Though there are some people that text faster than they can type on the standard keyboard, for most people,  it can be a real challenge to fill in the long forms on mobile devices.  Long forms can be OK when they are viewed on a laptop, but certainly no one wants to fill a 5-page form on a mobile device.
  5. Track and analyze: The most important thing you should do is continuously track the actions of your users both on the standard and mobile-optimized websites. It’s important in order to understand how mobile users interact with your content, so it gets easier for you to improve their path to your desired goal: reserving a room. Which web pages are the most popular ones? Are there CTAs on these pages? If you see that most of your users click on the “view full site” button, then it’s time to redesign your mobile website.

Creating a scalable, responsive website for mobile users can have a huge impact on your hotel’s revenue. That is why excellent user experience should always be among your top priorities. Your hotel’s website might include awesome content, amazing pictures and perfect CTAs, but if it’s difficult for your customers to navigate through it, then you won’t have a high return on investment.

The Growth of online bookings and the challenge of integration with your reservations system
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