With these 8 steps you can optimally adjust your hotel website to a mobile version
The hotel industry registers more and more search requests and bookings via mobile or tablet. Our internal research has confirmed this, however there are still many hotels grappling with the realization of a functioning mobile website. The result: the bad display puts off customers and bookings are done again on the PC or worst case at the well known Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) or other hotels. Our recommendation: Use the potential of your mobile website and generate more direct bookings! What you need to do this is explained in this article.
Mobile applications increase – particularly for hotel bookings
Whether smartphone or tablet – shopping and reading the newspaper as well as booking a hotel room on it become more and more popular. We wanted to know more and ran a survey within our client base. The outcome is very clear: Travelers surf the internet mostly on the smartphone or tablet instead of on the computer. Concerning bookings though the computer is still on rank one with 68,1% (3,39 % Conversion Rate), followed by the smartphone with 18,5 % (1,03 % Conversion Rate) and tablet with 13,5 % (1,68 % Conversion Rate).
Although bookings continue to be carried out on the PC mobile end devices are becoming more popular. This is mainly because an online search is increasingly done en route. Users look for information when and wherever they want and are booking more and more on the smartphone or the tablet – providing the mobile hotel website is user friendly. This is consistent with general findings e.g. with those from August Ash and BIGFIN and so we stick to: Hotel bookings via smartphone and tablet are the current trend.
Knowing customer needs, gain direct bookings
Whether on the train, during lunch break or on the way to work, whoever plans his next hotel visit prefers to browse for the right offer location-independent. And a few clicks later the room with half-board and a suitable wellness treatment is already booked. It can be so easy but not every hotel website is fit for the customer needs.
The average score of the 66 researched websites was a 3,5 of a scale from 1 to 5. The speed test results were consistently good, but we also found website with immense deficiencies. The risk of loosing guests to the competition is very high. The corollary is: as a hotelier you should consider the needs of your customers in order to be able to offer the same experience on your mobile website as on your hotel’s website on the PC.
The solution: responsive web design
Did you ever come upon a website on your smartphone that didn’t give you all the desired information in a short period of time? The minimized display and the modified entry options do offer different conditions fort he usage of mobile websites. In order for your hotel to reach the same potential on the smartphone and tablet as it does on the computer your website will need a responsive web design or rather a friendly mobile web design. This means that your future guests should be able to use your website without restrictions whether on computer, smartphone or tablet and accordingly your website’s design and content should adapt to the mobile devices’ display. In addition to the fast loading speed of the website, the following eight points are crucial:
- the booking button is clearly visible and stays fixated while scrolling
- texts are bigger and well readable
- pictures are depicted correctly
- navigation is easy to understand
- buttons are big enough and can be clicked on
- contact details are easy to find
- language settings are easily visible
- booking can be completes within a few clicks
Positive User Experience: Do the test
Are you curious as to how your mobile website is doing and whether you fulfill all criteria for a good visibility on Google? Then do the test! Google reviews and evaluates each (hotel) website according to their suitability for mobile devices and gives the go-ahead when the device readability is optimal. Slight problems are allowed, but at the worst Google punishes an inadequate mobile design with devaluation – and your website will rank lower. Find out whether you need to do something within two minutes with the Google test for the optimization of your mobile devices!
Do you have a green light?
You will have the results of the Google test immediately. If your website is not optimal for mobile devices then you get a red light. The good thing about it: Google offers detailed information which problems resulted in the negative result. If you have a green light then you don’t have to worry and can continue to count on a good visibility and respective direct bookings also via mobile devices.
Perfect examples for mobile friendly websites
Our customers Romantik Hotel Schubert and Hollywood Media Hotel Berlin are the best examples for good functionality. The websites load fast, navigation is easy to find and use, the subpages are clearly titled, texts and pictures are current and informative, rooms can be quickly booked via obvious buttons, a phone number as well as a link to directions and contact information is always visible – on each subpage. That’s how it’s supposed to be! Take a look at those hotel websites on your smartphone or tablet and then compare it to your hotel website’s version. Are there differences? Where could you optimize?
Our research has shown us though that not all of our managed hotels are perfect. We found mobile versions in which the booking button was hidden by a widget or overlay, the navigation wasn’t understandable or it took the mobile version too long to load.
Additionally basic information like room pictures as well as location and directions weren’t immediately visible, contact details and phone numbers could barely be found. If you want to optimize your mobile hotel website then you should consider these essential requirements and make sure that customers can contact you within one click and complete bookings fast.
Conclusion: Your mobile hotel website – potential for more direct bookings and higher visibility on Google
When searching for the next hotel more and more travelers use their smartphone or tablet. Take advantage of this trend and optimize your mobile hotel website for more direct bookings. You can start by checking your own website on your smartphone.
If it proves to not be user-friendly yet then ask your web designer specifically about a responsive web design or a friendly mobile web design. The loading time in particular, as well as your website’s structure and design should be optimized. Make sure that texts and pictures are depicted properly and that rooms as well as offers can be easily booked.
If everything works the way it should then the visibility on Google and Co. and the user experience will improve immensely. This will inevitably result in more direct bookings and users will stay on your mobile website. The gained advantage in the search engine optimization (SEO) and the increased conversion rate will confirm your wise decisions. We will gladly help you with the optimization and a solution that matches your ideas and your budget. More than ever: a good responsive web design is a singular investment that benefits in the long run.